Piers Morgan, Ted Nugent, and Gun Rights: Who Got It Right?

Recently, Piers Morgan of CNN, heir to the Larry King time-slot, welcomed along Ted Nugent, long-time rock n' roller and gun rights activist for an animated exchange. The main issue was gun rights and gun violence in the United States. I've met Ted Nugent only in passing and have not met or corresponded with Mr. Morgan.

I've found Piers Morgan to be exceptionally bright and a very good interviewer. Mr. Morgan can hardly claim to shy away from being a bit provocative and bombastic, he has a history of being just that. No one has needed to try very hard to bring the loin-clothed former “Motor City Madman” out of his shell, either. It was Piers Morgan who infamously dissed President Bush in 2003 for falling off of a Segway scooter: “You'd have to be an idiot to fall off, wouldn't you Mr. President” was the headline of the Daily Mirror. In 2007, though, it was Piers Morgan who himself took a 12 mph plunge off of a Segway in Santa Monica, suffering three broken ribs in the process. It was with some level of mild amusement when I heard Mr. Morgan attempt to lecture Ted Nugent about being respectful to the President of the United States, when Piers himself has long had that unfortunate propensity.

It was also Piers Morgan who recently sounded off championing the notion of privacy in his piece with Charlie Sheen, declaring that you are entitled to do what you want as long as you don't scare the horses and the children. Alright, but who actually got it right about gun violence? As it turns out, neither Piers nor Uncle Ted were able to cite facts correctly. See National Vital Statistics System. National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. 2003. ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/ncipc/10LC-2003/PDF/10lc-violence.pdf . As it turns out, the majority (55.6 %) of all firearms-related deaths in 2007 were due to suicide . . . over 17,000 of them.

What causes a suicide and whose responsibility is it? Is it a failure of parents, of doctors, of our educational system? Is it the grand failure of society? What about our inclination towards being a nation of perpetual war? Military suicides are increasing where civilian rates are fairly constant, in some cases military deaths due to suicide rival battle field losses.

Source: U.S. military branches (2001-09) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (latest figures through 2006).
Credit: Adrienne Wollman

Over the last decade, some 400,000 Americans have died on the highways of the United States. Yet, there is no constitutional right to own or operate an automobile. No background checks, no form 4473 to fill out, are automobiles now suddenly too easy to get access to?

Consider the findings of the 1993 study by Gary Kleck, who finds that as many as 2.45 million crimes are thwarted each year in the United States, and in most cases, the potential victim never fires a shot in these cases where firearms are used constructively for self-protection. Consider the words of Dr. Martin Fackler:
I must confess to being a member of a very dangerous group. I am a physician: We cause more than 100,000 deaths per year in the USA by mistakes and various degrees of carelessness in treating our patients. Why does society tolerate us? Because we save far more patients than we kill. Firearms are entirely analogous. Although used in far fewer deaths* - they are used to prevent about 75 crimes for each death. Firearms, like physicians, prevent far more deaths than they cause.
--Martin L. Fackler, MD Monday, Dec. 25, 2000.

Dr. Fackler continues, “This inverse relationship between the number of firearms in the hands of the public and the amount of violent crime has, in fact, been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. History supports the inverse firearm-crime relationship. In "Firearms Control -A Study of Armed Crime and Firearms Control" in England and Wales (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972, p. 243), Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood found that: No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less when there were no controls of any sort. Half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of this class of weapons in crime than ever before.

Poor research by Piers Morgan and even by Uncle Ted failed to give the full picture. We do know that firearms laws only affect those that are inclined to obey the law. We do know that allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves prevents more crime than it causes. There is debate about percentages, as unreported incidents are (not unsurprisingly) largely unreported.

We know that the Second Amendment as a personal right is the law of the land. We also know that yes, there are those that use a variety of hardware to commit criminal acts. We also know that free speech and the freedom of assembly, two things that both Mr. Morgan and Mr. Nugent are fervently in favor of, do not come without cost. Whether Syria, Iran, China, or Libya, the price of attempts at free speech can be easily measured in lives lost. Freedom and liberty has never been free. Thomas Paine wrote, in 1772, “THOSE who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

Who got it right? As far as I'm concerned, John F. Kennedy did, on January 29, 1961:
"In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men -- citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment's notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of American, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.

It is this effort and concern which makes up the New Frontier. And it is this effort and concern which will determine the success or failure not only with Administration, but of our nation itself."

-- John F. Kennedy

Thanks to the current administration that has law-abiding citizens firmly convinced that they will, given the political opportunity, attempt to strip away the fundamental, personal right of the 2nd Amendment from the common man, gun ownership continues to skyrocket. But what about the facts? See: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/preliminary-annual-ucr-jan-dec-2010 .

The facts according to the F.B.I. are that while more and more citizens of the United States avail themselves of their 2nd Amendment Right, there was a decrease of 5.5 percent in violent crime in 2010. More guns in the hands of the citizen yet again . . . less crime. This is entirely consistent with Gary Kleck, Dr. Martin Fackler, John Lott, Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood, and historical data. Citizens that have the ability to defend themselves reduce crime. It is reprehensible to spit on the fundamental rights of American citizens. That this personal, fundamental right makes the United States safer for all citizens, except those who decide to commit violent acts, makes those who wish to defy and infringe upon the Second Amendment those who would increase violent crime if given their way.

Public officials swear or affirm to protect and uphold the Constitution. By what theory can they ignore their own oath of office? By what theory can government deny Freedom and Liberty to its own citizens? Surely punishing the common man, the law-abiding citizen, the only citizen inclined to obey the law is a damnable, unsustainable position.


Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


Custom Search