Skip to main content

I'm going to say for once that Ted "Chop Their Heads Off" Nugent might actually deserve a serious audience on this subject in Post-Sandy Hook America since he is now the far more sane sounding NRA spokesperson as compared to the other one. Via an Open Letter Posted to the Washington Times.

As a National Rifle Association board member, husband, father, grandfather, law enforcement officer and genuinely concerned American, I too want nothing more than to see evil, senseless massacres stopped. I concur with the president and caring people everywhere: It’s time to end these slaughters.

As you gather your team to study massacres and how to stop them, I offer to you my services and a lifetime of expertise on guns in all their implementations. While I strongly differ with President Obama on many issues, I agree with him that we must work with all we can possibly muster to end these tragedies.

Now, if the horror of Sandy Hook has brought Terrible Ted to the table to actually bring forth some concrete and practical solutions on preventing gun violence - I think we all owe him a fair and honest hearing, despite some of the crazy and potentially murderous, traitorous things he may have said in the past.

By-gones. Hatchet, buried.

Let's at least listen to what he has to say.

In the spirit of goodwill and a deep desire to end gut-wrenching, incredibly sad and senseless rampages, I offer you the following recommendations:

I encourage you to persuade the president to lead this effort by providing a number of public service announcements. The announcements should include watching out for each other, encouraging parents to be more involved in their children’s lives regarding entertainment choices, and knowing various indicators we should watch for in people who are unstable. Clearly, the focus on solving these mass murders must be on the mentally ill. In almost every instance of mass killing, there were ample red flags and warning alarms that either were avoided or were not acted upon by mental health professionals, family members, friends and acquaintances. While I deeply respect an individual’s privacy and civil liberties, the American people need basic awareness of what indicators to look for regarding potentially violent, psychotic people. Our collective safety begins with being collectively vigilant.

So Ted basically wants the President to go on a campaign of public service announcements to warn the public of the evils and imminent danger of the mentally ill?

Ok, no snark, let's consider that for a moment.  He is essentially correct that there are many cases where there are "Warning Signs", but not always:

In Saturday night’s 10 p.m. News Special, CBS presented a FBI special profiler who talked about what might have caused Adam Lanza’s killing spree and how to spot the next mass killer before he strikes. The FBI profiler spoke about how mass killers blend in, how they are unusual, a loner, a little quirky, reserved, and that most warning signs go unnoticed or ignored.

Similarly, ABC’s 11 p.m. News broadcast presented a published clinical psychologist who spoke about the missed warning signs of Adam Lanza’s killing spree. The clinical psychologist mentioned that mass killers see injustices that were done against them, that they have a tunnel vision, that they try to resolve a problem through homicide, that they do not speak to anyone, that they are strange, that they are loners, that they are disconnected, that they are reserved, that they have difficulty getting along with others, that they have a methodical plan, that the mass killings are not spontaneous, that they fantasize about mass killings, that they want to kill as many people as possible, that an empathy switch gets turned off, and that there is an “unknown factor in there, in the corner in a person’s mind that we’ll never know.”

Well, that doesn't track too well with Ted's theory of "vigilance".  Sometimes you simply can't see someone whose going to kill 20 kids and 7 adults "Coming from a Mile away..."  

And sometimes you can, but then what?

Another example, Jared Loughner:

In retrospect, it's easy to see the evidence that Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner was mentally unstable. In his community-college classes, he would laugh randomly and loudly at nonevents. He would clench his fists and regularly pose strange, nonsensical questions to teachers and fellow students. "A lot of people didn't feel safe around him," a former classmate told Fox News.
Ok, so what deficiencies were there - who saw the "signs" and didn't - or wouldn't - act on them?
Regardless of resources available, however, the problem with someone like Jared Loughner is that, without a court order, he would not have received treatment without a self-referral. It appears that his community college, which kicked him out, rightly protected its own population — at least one student and one teacher told the New York Times they feared Loughner would bring a gun to class — but left the rest of the community vulnerable. It would have been up to Loughner to seek treatment, a move many psychiatrically ill people would never make. "Most young people who develop a psychiatric illness — particularly a psychotic illness in which they've lost the ability to discern fantasy from reality — don't have a lot of insight into the fact that they are ill," says Duckworth. He points to a recent online NAMI survey that found that schizophrenics suffered an average of nine years between their onset of symptoms, which often first appear in the late teens and early 20s, and diagnosis.
So his fellow students, teachers and mental health professionals were vigilant.  They did take note of his behavior and they did act on it.  They kicked him out of school and protected the students and faculty.

I suspect that act of self-preservation by the university at the expense of everyone else is cold comfort for the families of the six people he ultimately killed or the 14 he injured including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

What about the Aurora Shooter, James Holmes?  Did someone ignore the Warning signs?
Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.

Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect James Holmes came to the attention of the threat assessment committee at the University of Colorado but no further action was taken because he left the school more than a month before the attack that killed 12 and injured 58, sources told ABC News.

ABC News has learned that Dr. Lynne Fenton, the psychiatrist who was treating Holmes, 24, at the school, was also a key member of the university's threat assessment team. The group of experts were responsible for protecting the school from potentially violent students.

KMGH-TV, ABC News' affiliate in Denver, reported exclusively that, according to sources, by early June, Fenton had informed other members of the team about her concerns regarding Holmes.

But on June 10 -- three days after Holmes bought an assault weapon and added it to his already growing arsenal -- he suddenly told the university that he was dropping out of the neurosciences doctoral program with no explanation.

So Holmes was under psychiatric care, and that psychiatrist had determined that he was a potential Threat - but there was nothing she could do about it once he left the school and left her care.  "He's gone. Not our problem anymore." It's wasn't because someone wasn't paying attention that twelve people  were killed and 58 wounded in that Colorado theater.  It was a lack of authority to proceed further - which Sounds a bit like Loughner's situation to me, it's not that "Warning Signs" were ignored, but that those mental health professionals at these schools had no further authority to detain or remand these people into some kind of supervised situation.

Not without a court order, or their own voluntary self-referral.  And there's good reason for that.

Let's look at another case - the Virginia Tech Shooter?

In a new book, a former Virginia Tech professor writes that she saw warning signs before the attack on campus. She tried to sound the alarm, reports CBS News anchor Katie Couric. But no one listened.

Roy writes that Cho's classmates were afraid of him, and that he was taking cell phone pictures of them under his desk.

Concerned, Roy decided to tutor him privately, and found a student wearing dark reflective sunglasses who was almost always unresponsive.

"It's actually a bit terrifying in some ways to be with someone when you realize that all you are getting are things that bounce off them," Roy said.


Roy contacted four different departments on campus, including the counseling center and university police. She was desperate for Cho to get help.

But, "I was told that - that would never happen," Roy said. "Because I was essentially requiring a student to seek counseling."

Cho, who never did voluntarily seek counseling, killed 27 Students and Five Teachers before committing suicide.

Ok, One More - just to see if I'm crazy or there's a pattern forming that doesn't really match Ted's scenario.  What about Major Hasan at Fort Hood?

Despite all the changes in the way the nation handles security in the post-September 11th era, the report paints a picture of a military that has largely neglected to adapt to the potential for threats from troops who become radicalized.

Among the findings were that background checks remain insufficient, and there are inadequate systems in place to look for signs of violent behavior immediately before or after a deployment. The report does not identify those that missed the signs of violence at Fort Hood. But it suggests the Pentagon does not intend to spare those responsible from discipline.

"Some medical officers failed to apply appropriate judgment and standards of officership with respect to the alleged perpetrator," the report says bluntly.

"Some signs were clearly missed," it says, "others ignored."

Now, the Hasan case is a little different because we actually have a clear and direct motive for this shooting.  Many have argued this isn't a mental health situation as it may be an act of domestic terrorism. So this may be an outlier and not an proper example - but I do bring it up for two reasons 1) the medical officers who "didn't notice the signs were professional psychiatrists just like Hasan himself and they still "missed it" when it was right in their face and b) because of one point which Ted alleges.
You will find in your assessment that all of the massacres have occurred in gun-free zones. What gun-free zones create is an environment where good people are unarmed and virtually defenseless against an unstable person intent on committing mass murder. Gun-free zones are modern killing fields. I implore you to recommend that Congress pass a law to ban gun-free zones immediately.
Ft. Hood is not what I would call a "Gun Free" Zone. There were a lot of Guns at Food Hood besides the one held by Major Hasan.  Lots of guns. (ed: Ad Blacksheeep notes, these guns were locked away for safety reasons - so if an Army Base is a Near "Gun Free" zone, why shouldn't a school be the same exactly?)   Virginia Tech has it's own Police Force.  The theater in Colorado and the parking lot in Florida were not gun free zones.  There was a person with a Gun who ran to help at the Gifford's Shooting but he was a) Too Late and b) Nearly shot the wrong person, because Loughner had already been disarmed.  Columbine High School had it's own armed security team who exchanged fire with Harris and Kleibold.

None of these factors changed the eventual outcome.

So what actual Control of Guns does Ted Suggest?

I don’t encourage you to recommend a ban on any weapon, magazine capacity or type of ammunition. That won’t accomplish anything other than prevent the 99.9 percent of responsible, law-abiding Americans from enjoying these modern weapons as we do now. We should never recommend or develop public policy that restricts the rights of the good guys based upon what evil people do or might do. If that were the case, alcohol still would be banned. As you may know, drunk drivers kill an estimated 12,000 Americans each year and hurt tens of thousands more.
Ok, so Ted's big Gun Control advice is - No Gun Control What so Ever.

What he apparently wants - is People Control.  That despite their own free will and lack of a violent criminal record, a judge - or some other authority - should have been able to intervene and do something, anything (except remove or commandeer their guns) prior to any of them doing anything actually violent to anyone, something to keep all of these people from turning around and killing scores and scores of innocent Americans.

Don't control the guns, control the people.

What exactly should that process be?  Who makes that decision? What if it's a mistaken conclusion? How does it get reversed?  What kind of supervision are we talking about house arrest?  Temporary Commitment? Observational Detention? 24/7 Surveillance and Wiretaps?

What concerns me is that this kind of hyper-sensitivity to mental instability - is exactly the "reason/excuse" used by the detention center at Quantico to hold Pvt Bradley Manning in solitary confinement for months, in a cell lighted 24/hours a day and frequently in the nude.  This was done - allegedly - because he had threatened to kill himself, had said that he could do it - "using his underwear" - if he wanted. Yet even though his psych assessment indicates that he was "no longer suicidal" that continued to be the state he was held in for month after month after month.

It concerns me that zero-tolerance policies have a tendency to be over and erroneously deployed, creating a stigma of "disturbed" for people who may simply be acting out with an odd haircut, funky clothing, unusual behavior or a biting comment.

People like the so-called "Trench Coat Mafia", Michigan Militia, members of the Occupy movement, or for that matter people like You Ted.

Are you suggesting that their fellow students, teachers, employers, doctors or other persons should become informants on people they "think" might become unstable and dangerous and that perhaps these people should become the subject of coordinated and sustain surveillance by the Federal Government despite their 5th Amendment Rights?  Y'know like how the FBI, Local Law Enforcement and Private Security firms coordinated their intelligence gathering against Occupy?

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

Even though there were NO SIGNS of potential violence from Occupy, the FBI treated them as a terrorist threat.  Maj Hasan wasn't a "terrorist" according to the FBI, but a bunch of kids sleeping outdoors in a public park were?

If we can deploy "Big Brother" against a non-violent protest movement, can we expend any iota less in the wake of the indiscriminate murder of dozens of innocent children?

Ted says we "should never recommend or develop public policy that restricts the rights of the good guys based upon what evil people do or might do." yet that is exactly what he's suggesting.  He thinks apparently, that since the mental health professionals who were involved in all these cases - including Maj. Hasan since his Army Colleagues were all psychiatrists as I stated above - didn't see or act appropriately on the "Warning Signs", that instead average, everyday, untrained, uninformed citizens should do it for them.

Yeah, sure - alright.

He thinks the President can make us armed and prepared to effectively Profile the Homicidally Deranged - like a pack of Mental-Health George Zimmermans packing commitment papers at a moments notice, with just a few PSA's?


And of course there's this parting shot.

I encourage you also to keep this misnamed “gun violence” in perspective. While all deaths are tragic, the vast majority of gun-related murders and violence are committed by gang members who do not use guns that look like — but do not perform like — military assault weapons.
Oh, so we should again profile the people and not the guns?  Well, that's a lovely suggestion Theodore and you do make a good point as @GunDeaths documents that there have been Over 400 Gun related deaths in the U.S. Since Sandy Hook.

That's FIFTEEN little teeny tiny Sandy Hooks that have gone on without really a peep of comment from anyone.

I think it's fair to point to out that Ted is correct that we have 12,000 die as a result of drunk driving, but then it's also fair to point out that we very clearly regulate alcohol.  Some States very severely regulate it, only allowing it to be sold on certain days or certain parts of the month at certain hours of the day and only by licensed vendors to prevent their being sold to minors.  Bars will cut you off and throw you out if you've clearly had too much to drink.

When exactly does someone become Drunk with Guns, Ted? When do they get Eighty-Sixed?

But, you see, Ted doesn't think we should regulate guns at all.  Not even in the case of the mentally disturbed or those dread "gang members" and their awful non-assault handguns.  He probably supports giving minors guns because that would cut down "school violence" if everyone thinks everyone else is "packing". Yeah, ok Teddy - I grew up in South Central, that trick doesn't work, trust me.

People 'drive by' shoot because they know the people they're shooting at are probably armed also!  If everyone is armed, the bad guys don't pack up and go home - they change tactics and use surprise or mobility to maintain an advantage.  Put an alarm on your car or house, to make you safe?  The bad guys take your car while your in it and they know the alarm and lo-jack is turned off - hence we go from burglaries to home invasions, from smash and grab car theft to Car-Jackings.  Only in the latter cases there are witnesses to be disposed of.  Can't afford to get that third strike for burglary? Simple : don't leave anyone alive to "squeal".

Please Note: Jared Loughner, Major Hasan and Cho all used hand guns, not "Assault Weapons" - so what's to be done about that again?

Here's another thing, we may lose 12,000 people a year to drunk drivers - by comparison we lose 31,000 people a year to guns, out of an average 90,000 shootings.  I appreciate your attempt at keeping us statistically honest, Ted, but the fact is "vast majority of gun related violence and murders" are not necessarily committed by "gang members with hand guns" - of that 31,000 people 12,000 are homicides but 18,000 are SUICIDES.

There are many challenges facing us as we try and come up with a comprehensive, and hopefully effective, method to curb, yes, Gun Violence in this nation.  We should question whether the ease of conversion of some weapons - assault-weapons if you will - to full automatic mode should be addressed, whether extended clips need to be addressed, whether we close the background check and straw purchaser loopholes, whether we do need to reform and revise our handling of at risk youth and highly disturbed individuals in a way that protects ALL OF THE PUBLIC, not just their school, employer or institution, while fairly respecting their rights and freedom with compassion rather than knee-jerk paranoia, whether we need to re-think discriminatory and in-effective policies such as "Stop and Frisk" or profiling which destroys trust and respect for law enforcement.  We have a LOT to think about.

If we're going to do this, we should do it right - in a way that works - while respecting freedom and respects rights. All rights, not just gun rights.  The 2nd Amendment as well as the 4th and the 5th.

I'm sure you Ted, in your new found spirit of non-partisanism would like the Vice President to move forward in a method that carefully considers and analyses all reasonable options on the table?

Yeah, I thought so.


Originally posted to Vyan on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site