ONE on ONE with Ted Nugent
By Chris Cox
The American Hunter
COX: I'd like to ask you what you 're up to these days, Ted, but we can't afford to pay for the extra pages in the magazines that would take. So let me begin by congratulating you on your recent re-election to the NRA Board of Directors and also thank you for being a contributor to American Hunter. You're constantly recruiting new members to the Association. Can you give us a sample of your sales pitch?
NUGENT: I'm a big fan of self-evident truths, Chris, and I find them celebrated no matter where in America my travels take me. Momand-Pop America still cling to logic and common sense for their daily quality of life, and as I conduct major media interviews everywhere I go, it encourages them to know that what they believe in is indeed relevant and purposeful.
I am simply a more visible reminder in the media, that's all. It's when I emphasize the most important selfevident truth of all, that God gave us the right to defend ourselves, that we really strike a resonant chord of unity. When I pose example after example of how documented cases of second Amendment infringements run amok across America, they see how they're losing this most basic of rights. That citizens ancl professional law enforcement heroes are virtually not trusted in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York City, and elsewhere; it sends chills up their spines. With outrageous, unreasonable infringement taking place, they are inspired to join the most powerful voice for the second Amendment: The mighty NRA.
COX: I understand you were recently voted "Michigan Conservationist of the Year. " I guess that makes you a real mainstream guy. How did you earn that award?
NUGENT: T have promoted hands-on conservation values and ethics all my life. On radio, TV, and in print throughout Michigan forever, I've vociferously encouraged people to plant trees and clean up the environment, one family at a time. That same year my Ted Nugent Kamp For Kids (TNKFK) had worked with Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Arbor Day Foundation, and sporting groups across the land to plant millions and millions of trees.
Michigan State Representative Mike Rogers, Senator Phil Hoffman, and some other observant politicos saw the opportunity to emphasize this celebration. With a youthful, rock 'n' roll energy approach, the image of young people and fami lies that I orchestrated gave it a little added PR boost from the state capitol. I had worked closely with thenGov. John Engler as a member of his Hunting &Fishing Heritage Task Force on such environmentally friendly programs, and I was honored with the award at the same time I received the Arbor Day Conservation award, too.
I think as an absolute-stand-up hunter and gun owner, this was a perfect image identification of who is really doing good for our air, soil, and water quality. It certainly made my detractors in the anti-gun and animal "rights" movement look really, really lame. Here you got the Motor City Madman winning conservation awards for improving the environment while my critics do zero. Now that's perfect PR for the good guys.
COX: When most of us hear the term "rock star" certain images are conjured up, and they aren't all positive. How are you different from the rocker stereotype, and how much of that difference comes from being a lifelong hunter and card-carrying member of the "gun culture"?
NUGENT: You'd be hardpressed to find someone more atypical of a rock star than me, Chris. I have been militantly against law breakers, drug and alcohol abusers, and hippies my entire adult life. I do attribute this standing for what is right to my disciplined hunting and shooting sports upbringing and lifestyle. My father, Warren Henry Nugent, and mother, Marion, were hardcore clisciplinarians and guided us kids to be accountable and conscientious in everyday life. It has served me well in an entertainment industry of disconnected people and "politically correct" whining. I have always promoted the NRA, never wasting my time defending anything.
COX: What lessons of life have your wife, Sbemane, and your kids learned from owning guns and hunting?
NUGENT: That same sense of discipline that proper firearm fun provides continues to be a driving force in the Nugent family quality of life. We instinctively know that marksmanship comes from control, discipline, and a higher level of awareness. Those same qualities inspire excellence in academics, athletics, and overall family relationships.
My wonderful wife, Shemane, as well as Starr, Sasha, Toby, and Rocco also know that there is no better health food to be had anywhere that compares with the pure protein harvested by hunting. Attentive marksmanship literally brings our meat to the barbecue.
That being said, because we are all so dedicated to promoting the shooting sports and hunting in particular, we have accumulated quite a law enforcement file of sickos who have threatened to kill me and my family because we cat venison. It is unfortunate how depraved these people are, but the lif'e-or-cleath lessons of our handgun training could someday save our lives.
COX: Let's talk about kids and your Kamp For Kids. In your youth work, what lessons do you teach based on the ethics of hunting?
NUGENT: Here's where the big "D" word comes screaming back into the spotlight. Kids crave discipline, and whether volunteering at our amazing 501(c)(3) Ted Nugent Kamp For Kids charity events each summer or making a live speaking presentation at a school somewhere, the discipline of demanding excellence from one's self, as I outline it and bully-pulpit it, strikes a powerful chord of independence and attitude with young people. Coming from the most intense, maniacal, over-the-top, guitar bombardier ever, these kids immediately grasp that my rock 'n' roll energy comes from being clean and sober and the stimuli of firearm and archery discipline in the great outdoors. I always tell the kids, Ozzy got high and Ozzy's brain is dead. I went hunting, and I'm still Ted. They get it.
COX: You've been on the roads of America playing your guitar since the late 1960s. Over the years what changes, if any, have you seen among youth regarding the shooting spans and gun ownership?
NUGENT: With the abject failure of nearly the entire sporting industry to even acknowledge young people whatsoever throughout my youth in the 1950s, or the '60s, the 70s, and well into the 1980s without any meaningful visibility, I'm afraid to say the gun industry and the gun cause blew it about as bad as it could have been blown.
I've been begging and pleading for some energy and exciting youth-oriented outreach for many years. I've still got the answers if anyone is interested. Cocky, 1 know. But true.
COX: Ted, in your hook, God, Guns and Rock 'N' Roll, you suggest that gun ownership is more than a right, that it is also a responsibility, a civic duty. Can you explain that?
NUGENT: God gave us the gift of life. It is the most precious gift ever. To be unarmed is to be helpless to protect that gift. That is outright irresponsible. Certainly it is a right and a moral obligation to stop evil from ending or compromising our life or the life of any innocent. That there is an argument to this truism is an indictment to the soullessness of those like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry who would legislate forced helplessness of good people. I am appalled that these blind anti-gunners remain entrenched in this mindlessness. The NRA now, more than ever, my friends.
COX: Because some famous people are vocally anti-gun, there's the perception that most people in the entertainment industry are anti-gun. Is that true and, if so, why? And how many entertainers are pro-gun but don't talk about it like you do?
NUGENT: I think the visible gun industry/community would he amazed at how many in the world of entertainment believe in and practice the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, the gun industry has shown minimal support for them to speak out. When we hold our annual rock 'n' roll Nugent barbecue for bands and crews and music radio and TV industry types, we can't keep the guns loaded or the clay birds flying fast enough.
Everybody enjoys shooting. KISS, Aerosmith, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Toby Keith, Sammy Hagar, Metallica, Kid Rock, Howard Stern, and so many more. There are many actual celebrities into guns who back off due to management pressure to avoid this "politically incorrect" hot potato. And, of course, there are always the hypocrites who condemn gun ownership or right-to-cany permits but always have armed security handy. Isn't that special?
COX: Anti-gun groups make a special effort to poison the longstanding relationship between NKA and police officers. As someone who has received commendations from law enforcement agencies nationwide, how successful do you think the anti-gun groups have been in that regard?
NUGENT: Amazingly, the antis have been quite successful. The preposterously deceitful image of Clinton at the Capitol steps surrounded by uniformed heroes of law enforcement, much to their protest, by the way, falsely declaring broad support for his big- lie Omnibus Crime Bill and the outlandish gun ban, will be hard to beat by our side. The truth is, during my average 100-city conceit tour, I am visited enthusiastically in every one of those cities by rank-and-file cops who support the NRA, are usually members, and believe in the second Amendment without compromise. There is not a city in America that I have gone to where cops have failed to invite me shooting or to drive along with them. I have been a sworn Special Sheriff Deputy in Lake County, Michigan, since 1982 and a Constable in Texas for the past year. I am very honored and humbled to be given such privilege to spend time in the presence of those warriors who so dedicatedly serve and protect. I salute them all.
COX: Gun prohibitionists always claim, Ted, that they're not after sportsmens' guns. They only want to ban those horrible "assault weapons, " like 7 "AK7 -47s7 " and "Uzis. " Do you like having your intelligence insulted that way?
NUGENT: Isn't that the end all big lie of all time? John Kerry has it down to a science, and it is heartlessly deceitful. Our sacred U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights have absolutely nothing to clo with recreational considerations, except of course, the general right to pursue happiness, which for tens of millions of American families includes a sundry of shooting sports activities. The second Amendment is all about our individual right to defend ourselves. Period. Both from foreign and domestic threats, whatever form they may take. case closed. My friends in Canada, Australia, and England hang their heads in shame that they got bamboozled into buying into this "sporting purpose" ruse. To have no right to defend oneself is the ultimate rape of one's human value. It is so very sad that fellow Americans are out to disarm their fellow Americans, particularly during this vicious and dangerous war on terrorism.
COX; Kerry recently said on the Senate floor: "I believe strongly in the second Amendment. I believe in the right to bear arms as it has been interpreted in our country. " What do you make ofthat statement?
NUGENT: Scary. Here is a hardcore liberal-more liberal than the ultimate antigunner, Ted Kennedywho is on record that no citizens, including the best trained anti-terrorists America could ever hope for, retired and off-duty heroes of law enforcement, should be allowed to carry concealed firearms. That's so foolish as to be a death warrant for America. John Kerry is not all there, and all Americans who know this had better damn well tell everyone they know all about it.
COX: Last question. What are the most important things Americans can do to protect freedom?
NUGENT: Make a stand. This experiment in self-government, I believe, requires "we the people" to be activists. Now more than ever, we must discard the ball and chain of apathy, get involved in a meaningful, effective dialogue on a daily basis, expressing our beliefs on every quality of life issue in order to take back America. Until the time comes when the second Amendment is, in actual practice, the concealed weapons permit it was designed to be, America will be shackled by intellectually bankrupt "feel good" hysteria that will benefit the bloodsuckers among us and punish those who instinctively know in our hearts and souls that the American Dream is supposed to be about being the best that we can be-not how much the criminal or the soulless can benefit from those who dedicate themselves to being productive members of the last best place in the world. Copyright National Rifle Association of America Sep 2004
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