An investigation on shooting rampages by Mother Jones could not identify a single mass public shooting that was ended by an armed civilian, a violence prevention strategy that remains popular in right-wing media. In two instances, however, armed individuals who attempted to stop a shooting were wounded or killed. Mother Jones also deduced that successful attempts by armed civilians to stop public shootings in general, not just those incidents involving mass casualties, were rare.
The analysis conducted by Mother Jones, which examined 60 public shootings that have occurred in the United States over the last 30 years, stands in sharp contrast to baseless conjecture by members of the right-wing media that the solution to prevent mass shootings is a greater number of people armed in public.
More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to stop shooting rampages are rare -- and successful ones even rarer. There were two school shootings in the late 1990s, in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, in which bystanders with guns ultimately subdued the teen perpetrators, but in both cases it was after the shooting had subsided. Other cases led to tragic results. In 2005, as a rampage unfolded inside a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, a civilian named Brendan McKown confronted the assailant with a licensed handgun he was carrying. The assailant pumped several bullets into McKown and wounded six people before eventually surrendering to police after a hostage standoff. (A comatose McKown eventually recovered after weeks in the hospital.) In Tyler, Texas, that same year, a civilian named Mark Wilson fired his licensed handgun at a man on a rampage at the county courthouse. Wilson--who was a firearms instructor--was shot dead by the body-armored assailant, who wielded an AK-47. (None of these cases were included in our mass shootings data set because fewer than four victims died in each.)
Appeals to heroism on this subject abound. So does misleading information. Gun rights die-hards frequently credit the end of a rampage in 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia to armed "students" who intervened--while failing to disclose that those students were also current and former law enforcement officers, and that the killer, according to police investigators, was out of ammo by the time they got to him. [emphasis added]
Mother Jones noted that 2012 is already a record year for mass public shootings in terms of the number of killed and injured. The right-wing media's response to each of this year's mass shootings has been the same: "If only more people would have been armed, it would have been prevented."
But even setting aside the fact that the United States already has the most heavily armed private citizenry in the world, and that laws allowing the concealed carrying of firearms in public are increasingly permissive and widespread, the bottom line is that there is no data to support the right-wing media's armed citizen theory.
Washington Times columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent is continuing to offer false or misleading commentary on last week's tragic mass shooting in Colorado in order to undermine a push for stronger gun violence prevention laws.
During an appearance yesterday on Glenn Beck's radio show, Nugent again denied that the alleged shooter had been armed with an assault weapon, while theorizing that the Aurora theater shooter could have done "more damage with a single shot or bolt action [rifle] because he had 20 minutes." In fact, police were reportedly on the scene between 60 and 90 seconds after the first 911 calls were made.
NUGENT: And remember, Glenn, this monster in Aurora took 20 minutes to do his evil. In 20 minutes you don't need an assault weapon, you don't need a machine gun, which he didn't have either of, but you could do more damage with a single shot or a bolt action because he had 20 minutes.
Single shot rifles and bolt action rifles must be reloaded after each shot is fired. Reload time has been a critical factor in other mass shootings. During the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona that left six dead and gravely wounded then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the shooter was only stopped when he was tackled as he paused to reload.
The three semi-automatic weapons reportedly used by the shooter fired a bullet each time the trigger was pulled. One of the weapons used, a Smith & Wesson assault weapon equipped with a drum magazine possessed the capability to fire 50 to 60 shots a minute with no need to reload until after the 100 round drum was expended.
Nugent also doubled down on a previous statement that there were "no assault weapons used in the CO shooting only universally proven sporting & self defense firearms."
NUGENT: And let me state as if fact that I know for a fact that most of the damage done by this devil in Aurora was done with the number one pheasant shotgun in the world, a Remington 870. His AR-15 Smith & Wesson rifle is now the most popular sporting rifle in America. It is the number one competition, number one in self-defense; it's the number one sporting rifle for big game and small game. And if they keep calling it an assault weapon, I may have that aneurysm.
Nugent's attempt to mainstream assault weapons as common hunting implements is misleading. Paul A. Smith, outdoors editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, has stated that while assault rifles "have gained favor among some hunters and sport shooters in recent decades, they constitute a small fraction of deer hunting rifles in use today."
Indeed, the assault weapon allegedly used in the theater shooting may have been illegal to purchase under the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. The hundred-round magazine would have been banned under that law.
Washington Times columnist, National Rifle Association board member, and prominent Mitt Romney supporter Ted Nugent is speaking out on last week's horrific mass shooting in Aurora, CO, declaring that there were "no assault weapons used in the CO shooting only universally proven sporting & self defense firearms."
Nugent also praised the "brave warriors who saved lives" during the massacre adding, "IF only they would hav had a good gun."
Last night, Nugent tweeted:
This afternoon, he added:
One of the guns the alleged shooter carried was an AR-15-style semi-automatic assault weapon, which reportedly may have been illegal to purchase under the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. The alleged shooter used a high-capacity 100-round drum magazine that would have been illegal under that statute.
The gun industry trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation frowns on the use of terminology like "assault weapon" and "assault rifle," preferring the term "modern sporting rifle." Even some gun bloggers find such language ineffective and "O[r]wellian."
In today's column for the Washington Times, National Rifle Association board member and prominent Mitt Romney endorser Ted Nugent wrote, "I'm beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War."
Nugent's remark came in response to what he called "turncoat" Chief Justice John Roberts' "traitor vote" to uphold President Obama's health reform law, including the individual mandate. According to Nugent, Roberts "squandered the opportunity to restore judicial, financial and legislative sanity to a government that by any sane person's standards is insane and addicted to centralized federal control of our lives."
Nugent then stated:
Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I'm beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers' concept of limited government is dead.
Nugent is infamous for wearing shirts emblazoned with the Confederate battle standard during his concerts.
Last week Washington Times columnist and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent used opinion pieces to unleash racial tirades against both the African-American and Latino communities.
The unemployment rate among Latinos stands at 11 percent, which is much higher than the national average. Mr. Romney must continue to remind Latinos that improving the economy is key to improving their livelihood. He should tell them that Mr. Obama's economic policies are a complete disaster and that the president has failed them miserably.
Mr. Romney should continue to press for education reform, and remind Latino voters that education is vital to success. He should illustrate the importance that Americans of Asia-Pacific descent place on education and how fast their children move into the middle class. It doesn't have to be an Asian thing.
He should praise Latinos for their strong work ethic and remind them that this work ethic coupled with an education is an unstoppable combination that will catapult them into the middle class and beyond.
Then in a June 15 column for Newsmax Nugent claimed that "overwhelming majority of blacks are slaughtered by other black hoodlums":
I do agree with Mr. [Bill] Cosby that the Trayvon Martin shooting has nothing to do with race. Only empty-headed racists such as our black-panther loving Department of Justice believe otherwise.
Race does, however, play a significant role in the percentage of black Americans who are killed and wounded every single day in America.
The overwhelming majority of blacks are slaughtered by other black hoodlums, the overwhelming majority of whom are involved in gangs and drugs -- you know, that "victimless crime" thing.
Mr. Cosby is right about this tragedy. These black punks do use guns to solve their gang-related differences. None of them carry or use their guns legally.
Media Matters has previously noted that Nugent has made inflammatory comments on a number of topics, particularly race.
National Rifle Association board member and Washington Times columnist Ted Nugent lost his cool during his first televised interview following the firestorm that surrounded his infamous claim that he would "be dead or in jail" if the president is reelected. During a May 4 appearance on CBS This Morning, Nugent took umbrage with interviewer Jeff Glor's suggestion that Nugent will have a hard time attracting moderate voters for Mitt Romney:
TED NUGENT: I'm an extremely loving, passionate man, and people who investigate me honestly, without the baggage of political correctness, ascertain the conclusion that I'm a damned nice guy, and if you can find a screening process more powerful than that, I'll suck your d--k.
Nugent then turned to a female CBS producer and said, "Or I'll f--k you, how's that sound?" CBS' video bleeped out some of Nugent's words at the end of his tirade, but they were transcribed by TMZ.com.
CBS reported that "Nugent's wife told him after the interview ended that Nugent owed an apology to the producer. And Nugent did. He also called Glor Thursday and said that, after the interview, he was rushed to the emergency room and had a kidney stone removed." Just earlier this week, Nugent appeared on NRA News to suggest that he could play a role in convincing moderates to not vote for President Obama this fall:
CAM EDWARDS, HOST: I think between now and November, I think you would agree, that the most important thing that anybody listening could possibly seek to do is to make sure that on election day we elect somebody other than Barack Obama.
TED NUGENT: Correct. And so -- I know it's that middle ground, it's the moderates. We've already got the Second Amendment community. I hope we have the hunting community and conservation community. I hope we have the most productive community in America. But I will learn from, maybe the greatest articulator and believable and revered man in the history of individual freedoms, and that's Charlton Heston. And I know that's quite a leap going from the "Motor City Madman" to the supreme eloquence of Charlton Heston, but officially on Cam & Company right now today May 2, 2012, I vow to my fellow patriots that I will work hard to be as efficient and effective for that middle ground to understand the right to keep and bear arms and to gut the abuses in our federal agencies, including Fish and Wildlife and EPA and FDA and USDA etcetera etcetera ad nauseam. I will try to be more -- I hate the word moderate -- but effective to the moderates because they're the voting block we need to access.
Nugent's appearance on CBS was not, of course, the first time that the "Motor City Madman" had a rather immoderate meltdown.
On the morning of Saturday, April 14, 2012, things were going well for the National Rifle Association. The gun rights organization's annual meeting was in full swing. Bloggers crowed about record attendance at the St. Louis, Missouri event. Friday's "Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum" went off without a hitch--all 13 featured speakers were Republican men. Barack Obama was called a "post-American President," "incompetent," and the most "radically liberal" president since Jimmy Carter. But the most incendiary comments about the president had yet to come.
On Saturday afternoon, Ted Nugent, a member of the NRA's Board of Directors, addressed the NRA faithful. Nugent implored NRA members to support the Republican ticket in the fall, declaring, "Your goal should be to be able to get a couple of thousand people, per person who's here, to vote for Mitt Romney in November." After that rather innocuous endorsement, Nugent turned his sights on President Obama, and things quickly spiraled out of control.
"If that dead Marine isn't worth it to you to demand that the enemies in the White House are ousted, then you probably ought to just move to France," ranted Nugent. He continued, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. Why are you laughing? Do you think that's funny? That's not funny at all. I'm serious as a heart attack." Nugent then characterized the Obama administration as "vile," "evil," and "America-hating," before concluding his diatribe with a call for the audience to "ride into that battlefield and chop [Democrats] heads off in November."
From the April 21 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom:
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Don't take our word for it. He literally wrote a song about it. Here's video of the National Rifle Association board member rocking out to his song, titled "I am the NRA," at the 2008 NRA annual meeting, where it debuted:
Keep that in mind as the gun lobby attempts to distance itself from the aging rocker over his incendiary comments at this year's convention. Nugent is a longtime spokesman for the organization and a linchpin of their Trigger the Vote voter registration campaign.
Nugent's statement over the weekend that the Obama administration is a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution" was startling but not surprising. His claim that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year" represented the sort of rhetoric that may be news to the Secret Service, but certainly isn't to the NRA.
Indeed, Nugent has a long, long record of inflammatory, offensive, and extreme comments, on stage, in his Washington Times columns, and on NRA Radio. His remarks over the weekend simply echo that record - and indeed, echo vicious comments made by many members of the NRA's board.
At a concert in August 2007, Nugent brandished two assault rifles while yelling, "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun," adding, "Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch."
Nine months later he was singing "I am the NRA" at their convention, with no indication that the group's leadership disagreed.
In recent days Nugent, an NRA board member, has come under intense criticism for comments at this year's NRA convention.
Nugent described the Obama administration as a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution" while telling the crowd that "[w]e need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November." Nugent also claimed that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
The Secret Service reportedly has a meeting planned with Nugent to discuss his comments.
In a radio interview Nugent said that he would stand by his comments.
But the NRA is currently dealing with problems of its own:
There are signs, though, that the NRA is growing out of touch with modern Americans and even with its own members--who, according to surveys, now tend to support restrictions such as mandatory background checks on buyers of weapons at gun shows. The future does not look bright, either. Despite attempts to attract women, most convention-goers in St Louis were white men over the age of 40--a segment of the population on the decline. The classified sections in NRA magazines such as American Rifleman feature, besides all the weaponry, advertisements for gardening equipment and Viagra.
This may not be the best time to stand behind Nugent.
Today, CNN highlighted comments National Rifle Association board member and Washington Times columnist Ted Nugent made on Dana Loesch's radio show but repeatedly avoided telling viewers that Loesch is a paid CNN contributor. Nugent appeared on Loesch's show yesterday to defend his inflammatory comments about the Obama administration, saying he stood by his remarks at the NRA and that his message had been "100 percent positive."
Speaking at the NRA national convention on April 14, Nugent accused President Obama of having a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution." He went on to tell the crowd that "[w]e need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November" and said: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." Politico reported that the Secret Service heard Nugent's comments and is "conducting an appropriate follow-up."
During the Loesch interview, Nugent added more derogatory comments about Democrats, describing Democratic chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as a "brain-dead, soulless, heartless idiot," and saying that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was a "sub-human scoundrel."
Loesch also accused Democrats of "using" Nugent "to distract from the president's low poll numbers, the disaster with Fast & Furious, which I know was a topic as well at NRA, at the convention, Solyndra, high gas prices." She added: "You're a scapegoat. They're trying to suggest that you said something that you emphatically did not say."
She later told Nugent:
LOESCH: You made this statement that well, "if Barack Obama becomes president in November again, I'll either be dead or in jail by this time next year." I think, quite honestly, most -- every conservative would be in jail because we wouldn't be going along with the Obamacare mandates.
In reporting on the comments, CNN's early morning show, Early Start, did note that Loesch is a "CNN contributor and tea party activist" during the 5:00 and 6:00 am ET hour. But after that, CNN repeatedly neglected to mention Loesch's affiliation with CNN.
CNN either described Loesch as a "conservative talk show host" or did not identify her at all.
Ted Nugent may have been compensated by the National Rifle Association for incendiary comments he made at the 2012 NRA annual meeting, according to documents obtained by Media Matters.
At this year's convention Nugent accused President Obama of having a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution" while telling the crowd that "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November." Nugent also claimed that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." Nugent's comments are reportedly being reviewed by the Secret Service.
|NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at the |
NRA's 2012 annual meeting.
ST. LOUIS -- The hotel minibus had barely left the airport when the guy to my left dropped the Obama assassination joke.
There were eight of us on our way to the National Rifle Association's annual convention downtown, rolling past a domino-row of highway billboards advertising the event's "Acres of Guns and Gear." The banter suggested the minibus crew was microcosmic of the NRA's claimed four million members, more than 70,000 of whom made the election-year pilgrimage. There was a soft-spoken father from Long Island and his teenage daughter headed to the University of Akron on a Division-I marksmanship scholarship. There were retired New Hampshire hunters from NRA families going back generations. There was a Russian immigrant whose only hobby is fully automatic machine guns.
And there was a professional Second Amendment extremist named Stephen Burke. An Endowment Life Member of the NRA and an attorney from Springfield, Massachusetts, Burke specializes in getting guns into the hands of ex-cons whose licenses have been revoked or downgraded for criminal activity.
Burke is a loud and boastful retired lance corporal who displays a photo of himself with NRA Executive Vice President & CEO Wayne LaPierre on his professional website. The only thing he abhors more than gun control is silence. When a conversation about former New York Governor George Pataki's pro-gun record entered a lull, he asked the group what sounded like an American history riddle or piece of trivia: "What do Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama have in common?"
The collective intelligence of the minibus was stumped. After a few beats, he delivered the answer: "Nothing. Yet."
Most of the bus erupted in laughter, but the father from Long Island looked out the window, embarrassed.
Parents who want to shield their children from presidential assassination jokes should consider vacation destinations other than NRA conventions. The group's leadership has in recent years expertly cultivated a very profitable hatred and paranoia among its membership. This fact was on majestic display in St. Louis, where NRA officials painted the president as a dedicated "enemy of freedom" quietly implementing the early stages of a master gun confiscation plan. The convention marked the opening salvo in the group's campaign to defeat Obama and his gun control allies in November. The official battle cry for this effort, unveiled on Friday, is "All In."
The NRA's election-year slogan is meant to evoke a bit of the Wild West tough guy imagery that remains central to American gun culture. The phrase comes from poker, the card game of the frontier, and the desired picture is that of a noble, steely-eyed gun lobby pushing its mountain of chips across the table of America's destiny, betting everything on one last high-stakes hand. In NRA land, where impending Second Amendment Apocalypse is a state of mind and a business strategy, the next election is always the final hand. As he did in 2008, chief NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre describes 2012 as "the most important election of our lifetime."
National Rifle Association board member and Washington Times columnist Ted Nugent refused to back down from his recent inflammatory comments about the Obama administration in a radio interview with CNN contributor Dana Loesch on The Dana Show. Nugent told Loesch that "I will stand by my speech" and said that he was being attacked with the "Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals playbook."
Speaking at the NRA's annual meeting Nugent accused President Obama of having a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution." He went on to tell a crowd that "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November" and said that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year." The Secret Service is reportedly reviewing Nugent's comments.
National Rifle Association board member and Washington Times columnist Ted Nugent is well known for his inflammatory rhetoric. In a recent interview with NRA News Nugent -- known by the moniker 'Motor City Madman" -- aimed his typical style of vile insults at none other the Motor City itself, Detroit, Michigan.
During a discussion about Nugent's fondness for his current home of Texas, Nugent offered up a diatribe blaming "liberal policies", "pimps" "whores" and "welfare brats" for the decline of Detroit, which he labeled a "canker sore."
NUGENT: My birth state is Michigan. I was raised where neighbors helped neighbors and people got up early and put their heart and soul into being the best that they can be. And I think we can all look to my beloved birth city of Detroit as example of what liberal policies will do to greatness. Detroit is a canker sore compared to this glowing city on the Detroit River that I was raised in and it's direct result of the Mayor Coleman Young and the Jennifer Granholms of the world and the tragedy of pimps and whores and welfare brats being blood suckers and destroying the greatest city in the world.
Nugent went on to say that there are still "wonderful people" living in Detroit.
Last year, Nugent wrote that "[b]eing poor is largely a choice, a daily, if not hourly decision," and concluded, "we need to punish poor decisions instead of rewarding them. We cannot continue to offer a safety blanket to those Americans who make poor choices. The fewer social welfare programs, the better."