Ted Nugent And Alex Jones: A Perfect Pair.

Let me say this about Ted Nugent.  He is a remarkably-talented musician.  And the few moments when he played some licks for Alex Jones demonstrated why this guy has sold more than 30 million albums in a musical career that is in its sixth decade. Unfortunately, in order to enjoy Ted’s music, you also have to listen to him and Jones repeating the same clichés over and over again although the media reports that he wanted liberals shot down like ‘rabid coyotes’ wasn’t exactly true.

nugent1              Ted’s beginning to remind me of what I experienced every time I went to Florida to visit my grandparents who lived in South Miami Beach before it became known as South Beach. My grandfather and several of his cronies would sit on a bench in Flamingo Park debating this subject and that, and whatever came out of their mouths was true because it came out of their mouths.  God knows what the filtering mechanism was that put the ideas into their brains in the first place. But what always struck me about their conversations was the degree to which they knew that what they said was completely and totally true.

I’m not sure how many times in the hour-long conversation Ted said that he was always guided in everything he did by “truth, logic and common sense.” I stopped counting when he repeated this brief homily for the ninth or tenth time. But every time he repeated this profound phrase his interviewer, whose entire career has been built on never saying anything which remotely connect to the truth, nodded his head up and down.

I never realized until I watched this video that Nugent considers himself to be a true, civil rights pioneer.  He pridefully mentioned how much he loved various Black musicians like Little Richard and James Brown, noting that it was America’s ‘freedom’ that allowed these artists and other Black performers to achieve fame and renown. That civil rights laws were the handiwork of all those liberals and Democrats who are trying to destroy what patriots like Nugent try to protect went unmentioned. But why let a few facts get in the way of opinions, right?

The best part of the show was when Nugent and Jones were out on the shooting range and Ted was trying to explain to Alex why the AR-15 was just like any other sporting gun. What makes the AR just another sporter, according to Ted, is the fact that it only shoots in semi-auto mode, and “no society would be so irresponsible to send the military into war with a semi-automatic weapon.” The fact that the current battle rifle carried by U.S. forces can be set to semi-automatic firing status probably means that the guns will only be shot that way when a trooper is wandering around Ted’s ranch.

Ted also made a point, multiple times, about how he’s ‘studied’ all the mass shootings, and every such event, including the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, could have been prevented if patrons inside the club had been allowed to carry guns. You may recall that D.D. Trump said the same thing during the 2016 campaign, and it was left to Chris Cox to remind him that the NRA didn’t support the idea of people mixing booze with guns.

The one thing I never did while listening to my grandfather and his friends concoct one harebrained explanation after another was to speak up and interject my own ideas. Because if I had said anything that didn’t support their nonsensical views, I would have been immediately told to shut up and learn something from what the older generation knew to be true.

When Ted Nugent stops playing his guitar and starts shooting off his mouth, what you have is a quintessential case of arrested mental development; here’s a guy who has not been told to his face that he’s full of sh*t for at least fifty years. But he sure knows how to play that guitar.

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Will Condolences And Prayers Stop Mass Shootings? Of Course.

The day after a 29-year old security guard named Omar Mateen walked into The Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016 and began blasting away with his trusty Sig assault rifle, killing 49 people and wounding another 58, then-candidate Donald Trump immediately started yapping about how the shooting wouldn’t have happened if someone in the nightclub had been carrying a gun. Of course his real campaign manager, a.k.a. Chris Cox of the NRA, had to  remind him that the boys in Fairfax didn’t actually endorse mixing alcohol with guns. But that didn’t stop Trump from continuing to promote the necessity of arming civilians for the remainder of his campaign.

prayer            Now that candidate Trump has transmogrified into President Trump, the narrative has all of a sudden changed. When word reached the White House that a shooting rampage in a Florida high school was going to end up costing an untold number of lives, Trumpo’s first tweet was: “My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.” An hour later, when the death toll had reached 17, and it may go higher, America’s guardian of the 2nd Amendment couldn’t resist another burp, this one saying, “Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting.”

In case you’re wondering, Trump the Shlump was demonstrating his leadership by talking to the same Rick Scott who signed 5 gun laws in one day on June 23, 2014, one of which which made it easier for residents of the Gunshine State to get concealed-carry licenses, another making it easier for defendants to justify violent behavior under the state’s Stand Your Ground law, all of which made him, according to the NRA, the Governor who “has now signed more pro-gun bills into law — in one term — than any other Governor in Florida history.”

As for the boyfriend of Stormy Daniels ‘working closely with law enforcement,’ I wonder if he was referring to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who would have been the chief law-enforcement officer on the scene. You may recall that just two weeks before we had to start putting up with this schmuck of a President, the exact date was January 6 2017, a guy named Esteban Santiago-Ruiz got off a flight from Alaska, collected his luggage, then pulled out a 9mm pistol and quickly shot 5 people dead. When a few Florida lawmakers then talked up a law allowing guns to be carried in certain areas within airports, Sheriff Israel spoke out against the measure, claiming that letting civilians walk around with guns would just make it more difficult for police officers to tell the good guys from the bad.

Incidentally, the day of the airport shooting, although not yet President, the New York landlord was obviously practicing for how he would respond to mass shootings from inside the Oval Office, because he tweeted that he had ‘spoken’ with Governor Scott and was ‘monitoring’ the situation. Oh yea, don’t forget the thoughts and prayers.

What I find interesting about this charade of concern is that Obama also responded to rampage shootings by first always mentioning how the victims were in his thoughts and prayers. But he would then call for some kind of ‘action’ in response to the shooting, which of course meant a new law regulating guns. The moment he switched from ‘thoughts and prayers’ to ‘regulations and laws,’ the various Gun-nut Nation mouthpieces accused him of ‘politicizing’ the event.

Remember when Wayne-o reminded us after Sandy Hook that it’s the bad guys we need to worry about, not the guns? Sooner or later I figured they would have to come up with a new slogan to keep the discussion away from whether we should be doing something about the guns. Who can argue with condolences and prayers? Perfect, just perfect.

Did A Good Guy With A Gun Stop A Bad Guy With A Gun? Not In Dallas.

The last time that a sniper climbed up into an office building and tried to kill someone in downtown Dallas was November 22, 1963.  The sniper was Lee Harvey Oswald and the victim was the President of the United States.  This time around, the shooter appears to have been an ex-Army reservist who served in Afghanistan, and victims were five members of the Dallas PD.  These two sniper attacks were separated by nearly fifty-three years in time, but less than five hundred feet in space.  The unfortunate Dallas police officers were apparently shot near the intersection of Main Street and South Lamar; walk a block east down Main Street, turn left and you’re standing in front of what was the Texas Book Depository Building where Oswald perched himself when he allegedly shot JFK.

 

Bystanders stand near pollice baracades following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016.  A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted.  / AFP / Laura Buckman        (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bystanders stand near pollice baracades following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016.
A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted.
/ AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Oswald, a former Marine Corps member, used a surplus military rifle called a Mannlicher-Carcano 91/38, which he bought from a mail-order sporting goods wholesaler in Chicago for twenty bucks. There’s been no confirmation yet out of Dallas, but I’ll bet you that the murder weapon used in yesterday attacks was an AR-15 assault rifle, or some variation on the theme, like the Sig-Sauer rifle that mowed down over 100 people inside The Pulse.

Wait a minute!  Nobody’s going to quarrel with the idea that President Kennedy was shot with a military gun; Oswald, after all, was a trained Marine Corps marksman, which meant he probably learned to shoot with a Springfield, bolt-action 1903 rifle, a gun that was similar in design and function to the gun he took into the Book Depository in order to carry out his assault.

But the AR-15 is a ‘sporting’ rifle, according to the NRA and the NSSF.  It doesn’t have any military application at all.  Those unfortunate Dallas cops weren’t shot with a military weapon, they were shot with a gun that is no more dangerous than any other rifle that you can find for sale in in any gun shop and can be purchased by anyone whose ownership of a gun is approved by a call to FBI-NICS.  Let’s not rush to judgement here, even if President Obama is already ‘politicizing’ this terrible tragedy by renewing his call for more regulations over these kinds of guns.  And what did Obama get in return for mentioning that these cop killings were the result of people being armed with ‘powerful weapons?’ He got an immediate response from Ben Carson (remember him?) who was plopped out in front of a Fox television camera to remind the audience that “we still have the 2nd Amendment” which gives us the right to use a gun to protect ourselves “against an overly aggressive government or external invasion.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how Gun-nut Nation gets past this one, if only because it’s one thing if a ‘street thug’ shoots another ‘street thug,’ it’s another thing if five police officers were killed and seven others, cops and civilians, were wounded by a guy walking around with a ‘sporting’ gun.  And remember that Texas is an open-carry state; in fact, there was one guy walking in the parade who had an AR-15 slung over his back; fat lot of good he did when the shooting broke out.

Adam Gopnick had a piece in The New Yorker in which he pointed out that the Dallas assault represented “the grotesque reductio ad absurdum of the claim that it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.” The parade route was lined with good guys who had guns, and the result was that five of them ended up dead.

But not to worry, Adam.  Like the veritable phoenix arising from the ashes, the NRA will wait the customary few days and then trot out again the myths of the ‘modern sporting rifle’ being used by the ‘good guy with the gun.’  After all, they now have a Presidential candidate who will probably be saying the same thing.

 

Comment On The Upcoming Senate Gun Vote.

pulse           In preparation for the Senate vote on Monday which may or may not involve extending background checks to private transactions, I thought I would take a look at Armslist, a national website that allows, indeed encourages private sales of guns. And when you go to the website, the first thing that greets you is a ‘disclaimer’ which says that anyone using the site should follow all laws regarding the sale and transfer of firearms.  But what if there are no laws? What if you happen to live in one of the 40 states that does not require a background check except at the initial point of sale?

Here are some examples of what you can do.

  • A resident of Birmingham, AL, wants to buy a Glock 27, which holds 10 rounds of S&W 40 ammo and is less than 6 ½ inches long. So it’s a very concealable gun, the ammunition is extremely lethal, and if you want to ‘load up’ as we say in the gun business, you can get magazines that hold 13, 15 or 22 rounds!  Imagine that – a handgun that hold 22 rounds.  Slip into a club some night with this gun and 4 extended mags and you can equal the body count that was registered at the Pulse. The guy who wants to buy such a gun is named Josh and he says that he’s “not a paranoid gun owner” and will give someone $450 for the gun but doesn’t require a ‘bill of sale’ or a ‘photo ID.’ But we know he’s a law-abiding citizen because at the end of the notice he makes sure to add: “God Bless America!” and that takes care of that.
  • There’s a fellow who lives in Broward. FL, who wants to sell or trade his Bushmaster ACR. This gun happens to be a look-alike for the Sig MCX, except it has more design options and can be ‘adapted’ to more shooting environments, hence the acronym ‘ACR’ which means ‘Adaptive Combat Rifle.’ So if you’re ready to go into combat in a nightclub, or a schoolyard, or anywhere else where terrorists are running amok, just shoulder your Bushmaster ACR and you’re ready to go.  The seller of this gun says it “has never been fired” and he has “no practical use for it.”  Well at least he’s admitting that there’s no real reason for anyone to shell out $1,400 for this gun.
  • Maybe rather than an AR-15 or the ACR I’d rather like to go with a Yugo SKS.  I was always partial to the SKS because most AR-15 rifles shoot the .223 shell but the SKS takes a 30-caliber round which basically means more tissue damage for each pop.  And if I happened to live in Nebraska, there’s a guy in Central Nebraska who’s got a Yugo with a folding stock for $600 bucks.  And what makes this gun really neat is it also comes with a real bayonet, so if I run out of ammo I can still defend myself with this sharp, metal stick. The seller, incidentally, says that the buyer has to pay ‘shipping,’ and while the Feds say he can’t ship the gun directly to me if I live in another state, ho-hum, ho-hum, ho-hum.

Now don’t get wrong.  I’m not saying that anyone who buys or sells a gun on Armslist is trying to evade the law. Because the truth is that I have purchased 4 or 5 guns that were listed on Armslist and in every, single case the transaction not only occurred in a completely legal way, but the sellers all insisted that we fill out an online gun transfer form that is required for private sales in my state.

What I am saying is that requiring background checks for transfers of such lethal weapons as 22-round Glocks or AR and AK-style guns is in no way, shape or form a violation of 2nd-Amendment rights. Tell that to Senator Grassley. Yea, right.pulse

When Is An Assault Rifle Not An Assault Rifle? When Rush Limbaugh Says It Isn’t.

So now we have it on authority from none other than Rush Limbaugh that the post-Orlando calls to ban AR-15 rifles are nothing more than another attempt to use a shooting incident to disarm law-abiding Americans because – get this – the shooter in Orlando didn’t use an AR-15.  And since he didn’t use an AR-15, according to Rush, there’s no earthly reason why the AR-15 should be banned from public sale.

mcx           In all the writing on guns that I have done (nearly 600 columns on my own website and nearly 200 columns on Huffington Post), nothing enrages the Gun Nut Gang more than when I use the term ‘assault rifle’ in talking about AR-15s or, for that matter, anything else.  Because the ‘assault rifle’ has become something of a sacred totem in Gun Nut-land since it’s a way of quickly figuring out whether someone is in favor or opposed to guns.

According to legend, i.e., the totally fictitious story created by the NSSF and circulated by the NRA, the term ‘assault rifle’ was invented by one of America’s chief gun grabbers, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was the chief author of the 1994 law that temporarily banned certain types of rifles which should have been and are now once again allowed to be owned by so-called ‘law-abiding’ gun owners.  Sooner or later I’ll get deeper into the issue of what ‘law-abiding’ means or should mean, but for the moment let’s just say that if you are against ‘assault rifles,’ this makes you a bone-fide member of the gun-grabbing contingent, because everyone knows that it’s against the law to own an assault rifle, and gun owners are all law-abiding folks.

Why is it against the law to own an assault rifle?  Because according to legend, an assault rifle is a full-auto weapon, it keeps on firing with only one pull of the trigger, whereas all those look-a-like assault rifles are plain, old semi-automatic guns, one shot each time you pull the trigger, which have been around since God knows when.  Which is what makes an AR-15 a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ which means that it’s no different from any other ‘sporting’ rifle except that it’s more ‘modern’ because it looks like a modern military gun.

This is all total nonsense, by the way.  The fact is (note the use of the word ‘fact’) that the military uses what is referred to as a ‘selective fire’ gun, which means that it can be shot full-auto, semi-auto or three-shot bursts.  But the fact (there’s that word again) that fighting men and women have the option of using their battle weapon in semi-auto mode should tell you that one trigger pull, one shot, is an acceptable and often necessary way for how the military gun will be used.

If it were the case that today’s standard military rifle, now known as the M4, could only be fired as a full-auto weapon, then perhaps Gun Nut Nation’s anger over the alleged misrepresentation of the AR-15 as being an ‘assault weapon’ would have some basis in truth.  But when the NSSF says, for example, that an assault rifle can only be fired in full-auto mode, they are talking about a military weapon that is no longer being used by the military at all.  To follow their logic and their distortion of the facts (there’s that word again,) the NSSF would have to say that when a soldier selects semi-auto, he’s now carrying a modern sporting rifle into the field.  Carrying what?

The truth (another dangerous word) is that the folks who create talking-points for Rush Limbaugh and all the other apologists for gun violence don’t really care whether a gun shoots one shot or one hundred shots every time the trigger is pulled; what they care about is that Gun Nation doesn’t stop buying guns. And the one way that would make it most difficult for people to buy guns is the simplest way of all: get rid of the guns.

 

Trump, Orlando And Gun Violence: It’s Not About Hatred, It’s About Fear.

I never thought that polls would tell us very much this early in a Presidential campaign, but what we see over the next week or so may prove to be a serious litmus-test for the remainder of the year.  Because if Street Thug’s numbers go up, we’re are in for a rough five months; if his numbers stay the same or continue to drift downward, he may have finally shot his wad. And what I’m referring to, of course, are his comments about Muslims and immigration following the Pulse attack.  Because if nothing else, he appears to be building his entire campaign on one issue and one issue only, and that’s the issue of fear.

trump2           First, what he is saying about immigration simply isn’t true.  We haven’t even taken in the 10,000 Syrian refugees we agreed to receive, other countries (e.g., Canada) have taken in many more.  We aren’t being ‘overrun’ by Muslim immigrants any more than we are being overrun by anyone else.  And the idea of ‘building a wall’ is this year’s substitute for the 2008 riff, ‘drill baby, drill.’

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that if this desperate attempt by Street Thug to capitalize on fears engendered by Orlando falls flat, then we can all just relax and put November 8th out of our minds.  This guy is a threat, he’s a menace, and he needs not just to be beaten, he needs to be beaten bad.  But I’d rather try to figure out how to whup him when I have to look back over my shoulder to see his ugly mug, rather than letting him look back over his shoulder at me. Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself.

Want to know why Trump so dearly loves the 2nd Amendment and never tires of reminding his audiences about the enduring value of walking around with a gun?  Because public opinion polls show that all those guns that were bought by the public since Obama took office were bought because of fear; fear of crime, fear of terrorism, fear of having the guns taken away, fear of God knows what.  And fear is a very powerful, very compelling emotion. And when it comes to a politics, fear can trump facts and insight every time.

The first witness who testified in 1963 against Eichmann in Jerusalem was an old friend and academic colleague, Professor Salo Baron.  And when he was asked to explain the extraordinary degree of violence represented by the Holocaust, he answered that the murder of 5 million Jews was based on fear, or what he called the ‘dislike of the unlike.’  Most of the comments coming out of Orlando are linking the ‘hatred’ of the LGBT lifestyle to this incredible act of gun violence, with the former seen as the causal emotion behind the latter event. And this may be true, but let’s step back for a second and see how this will play out in the Presidential campaign.

In his appearance at St. Anselm’s College, Street Thug specifically disavowed prejudice against gays.  He said, “Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT community,” and I guess that includes him as well.  But he then went on to make one false statement after another about Muslims and immigration, with the intent of making sure that everyone knows that only a ‘tough’ guy like him understands and can respond to our fears.

Mass shootings make us afraid.  We become afraid to go to public places, we get afraid of letting the kids hang out at the mall.  And calling for a ban on assault rifles doesn’t necessarily respond to those fears.

Gun violence is a terrible kind of violence, but people fear violence more than they fear guns.  So to keep Street Thug out of the Oval Office, we have to come up with ways to help people deal with their fears.  Otherwise, they’ll just go out and buy another gun.