‘The Motor City Madman:’ Mad or Marginalized?
by American sociobiologist Rebecca Costa
According to rock legend Ted Nugent, if a good samaritan with a gun had been present in “gun-free zones” where rogue assailants have struck â such as Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, Northwestern University and Sandy Hook Elementary School â the tragedies would instantly have been quashed, or averted altogether. “The reason those gunmen were able to get away with their slaughter is because there were no Ted Nugents in the area,” Nugent recently said on The Costa Report. Â “I don’t want to get facetious or put a spotlight on me â I’m just a guitar player â but if I’m there, it’s no longer a gun-free zone. I have a duty to defend myself, and as a free American there is not a man alive who can force me into unarmed helplessness.”
Nugent may have a point. Â Recent FBI data regarding who is responsible for gun violence in America appears to support “The Motor City Madman’s” claim that a lack of preparation by victims opens the door to mass assaults.
But first, the FBI numbers: Of the approximately 30,000 gun related assaults reported in the United States, 17,000 were self-inclicted suicide. Even experts admit that gun control will do little, or nothing, to stop suicides. Take away those 17,000 and statistics reveal the remaining 13,000 assaults are overwhelmingly connected to individuals who have a criminal record. Â And often an extensive one.
Arming their potential victims is only part of the solution, Nugent said. If bad guys were kept in prison, where they belong, the world would be a safer place, he declared. Nugent worries that society is “making excuses” for criminals.
“At some point, America has to go back to real accountability and quit worrying about why a person is violent,” he said. Â Nugent urges the criminal justice system to keep “violent, recidivist, repeat offenders” â those whom society currently has no means to rehabilitate â off the streets. If the FBI statistics are correct, this will do more to curb gun violence than legislation.
When asked whether putting limitations on Â firepower, or size of ammunition clips, would be a good step toward curtailing mass violence, Nugent, an active board member of Â the National Rifle Association (NRA), insists that incidents such as those at Columbine and Virginia Tech have nothing to do with the firepower of the shooter’s weapon. “In every instance, anyone could have done the same damage with a single-shot firearm . . it had nothing to do with magazine capacity,” he said.
The root of the problem? According to Nugent, the more society focuses on the 300 million guns (100 million handguns) Americans currently own, the farther we get from the denominator the perpetrators share: an epidemic of fatherless homes and the breakdown of the nuclear family. “No feel-good gun law is going to change that,” Nugent has said.
Nugent said this factor produces the disengagement and disillusionment, which ultimately spawns violence. “I am a father and a grandfather. I am a wild man. Â (But) not a day goes by when I don’t call my children across the country, not a day goes by when I don’t send an email telling them I love them and I’m proud of them.”