CNN is running a couple of “opposing voices” on the subject of 2nd Amendement rights as exclusives on their web site. One is by Tom Plate, “former editor of the editorial pages at the Los Angeles Times and currently a professor of communication and policy studies at UCLA.”
The other is by Ted Nugent. “Rock guitarist Ted Nugent has sold more than 30 million albums. He’s also a gun rights activist and serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.”
If you knew nothing about Ted, you could guess which side he’s on by reading through a short list of his album titles: Dog Eat Dog, Weekend Warriors, Free-for-All, Penetrator, and one would be remiss if one failed to mention If You Can’t Lick’Em…Lick ‘Em.
Tom Plate makes a reasonable argument that suggests that reducing the number of firearms in America would reduce the number of gun crimes in America:
When the great pop composer and legendary member of the Beatles John Lennon was shot in 1980 in New York, many in the foreign press tabbed it a war on celebrities. Now, some in the media will declare a war on students or some-such. This is all misplaced. The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible.
He then relates a personal anecdote about being robbed (only a month ago) and the feeling of dread he felt as his attacker aimed a weapon with a laser sight at his head. That’s the “red dot” I reference in the title.
How did he react?
Because I’m anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?
This occurred in Beverly Hills, a low-crime area dotted with upscale boutiques, restaurants and businesses — a city best known perhaps for its glamour and celebrity sightings.
Basically the only thing I saw or can remember was the gun, with the red dot, pointed right at my head.
A near-death experience does focus the mind. We need to get rid of our guns.
Ted Nugent first offers us anecdote after anecdote (five in all) of “good citizens” who either a)went and got or b) pulled their legally owned weapons and took down someone engaged in a gun crime.
Ted thinks that any attempt to limit of his constitutional, nay, “God-given” right to carry heat is an offense that borders on the ludicrous:
Thirty-two people dead on a U.S. college campus pursuing their American Dream, mowed-down over an extended period of time by a lone, non-American gunman in possession of a firearm on campus in defiance of a zero-tolerance gun ban. Feel better yet? Didn’t think so.
Who doesn’t get this? Who has the audacity to demand unarmed helplessness? Who likes dead good guys?
I’ll tell you who. People who tramp on the Second Amendment, that’s who. People who refuse to accept the self-evident truth that free people have the God-given right to keep and bear arms, to defend themselves and their loved ones. People who are so desperate in their drive to control others, so mindless in their denial that they pretend access to gas causes arson, Ryder trucks and fertilizer cause terrorism, water causes drowning, forks and spoons cause obesity, dialing 911 will somehow save your life, and that their greedy clamoring to “feel good” is more important than admitting that armed citizens are much better equipped to stop evil than unarmed, helpless ones.
Most of what Ted says, of course, is either arguing the point, ad hominem attacks on his opponents, or appeals to emotion. In a rhetorical match, Plate would win because his argument is sounder.
But I’d be willing to bet that for most Americans, Nugent’s rant appeals more. We’re a nation addicted to what Aldous Huxley called “the feelies.” And right now, in the wake of Monday’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, what Jean Shepherd would call an “oiled, cold steel beauty” would feel really comforting to most folks. Our “Cat Scratch Fever” might make us all want to give the bad guys red dots….
Categories: American Culture