Ted Nugent shows protested over singer’s controversial remarks
“The fair reflects the values of the entire county, and having Ted Nugent perform at the fair would reflect tolerance of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, xenophobia, ableism, and incivility toward people who protest his remarks or cancel his shows,” former social studies teacher Jennifer Vogt-Erickson wrote.
A few weeks ago, we celebrated my birthday by attending the grand opening of Arlington’s newest gun shop – NoVA Armory. It is a cute shop close to our apartment in the Lyon Park neighborhood of Arlington.
And because it’s Arlington, the store’s opening wasn’t without the sturm and drang normally expected from the usual leftist gun grabbers that infest this part of the world. The residents protested, and state legislators did what they normally do in these situations – they attempted to use their elected positions to pressure and bully the store and its landlord into closing the shop down.
I have detailed Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola’s and other elected local and state officials’ underhanded tactics in destroying small businesses here. Emails obtained by the blog Bearing Drift reveal that Favola and other Democrats conspired to destroy the business of a local Virginia business owner and military veteran, merely because they did not like having a gun shop in the area.
Delegate Kathleen Murphy, McLean Democrat, wrote an email to state Sen. Barbara Favola, Arlington Democrat, seeking help in shutting down the gun store. Ms. Favola was instrumental in organizing opposition to Mr. Gates’ shop in Arlington.
“Basically, we convinced the land owner that his business tenants would lose business,” Ms. Favola told Ms. Murphy in a reply. “In other words, moving a gun shop to a small cluster of shops in the middle of a neighborhood was bad for business.
“The argument has to be about supporting small businesses,” Ms. Favola wrote in her email. “The ‘we’ versus ‘they’ argument is winnable with the NRA.”
Ms. Murphy forwarded that email Sept. 25 to other Democrats in her district, including Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, who is up for re-election Tuesday, saying, “Lets do it.”
They attempted the same tactics with NoVA Armory, but it didn’t quite pan out the way they’d hoped. After protests, intimidation, and even a mailed death threat against store owner Dennis Pratte’s teenage daughter, it got too much, and the company that owns NoVA Armory filed suit against the so-called “protesters,” who colluded to destroy Pratte and his family’s livelihood, and against the elected public officials who used their office and position to intimidate and bully the family out of their business.
The suit says that, first, Howell, Favola, Levine, and Hope conspired between one another to destroy Pratte’s business. They are elected officials. They maliciously acted to defame Pratte and destroy the reputation of his business in an effort to prevent it from opening. These elected public officials discussed strategy about how to best do so on social media, and sent a letter to the store’s landlord – on official government stationery – trying to pressure her into abandoning the lease. That’s right. Elected public officials tried to use their official offices and authority to pressure a landlord to sever a relationship with a tenant! Worse yet, they attempted to malign and defend Pratte and his business by claiming that he had opened his business “in order to conduct criminal activities, namely conveyance of firearms to persons ineligible to be in possession thereof and to facilitate violent crime.”
Talk about your abuse of power!
Abuse of power, indeed.
What I noticed after the message about the lawsuit spread is that those named in the legal action began to claim victimhood – as if they were the ones maligned, as if they were the ones whose rights were violated, and as if they were the ones abused.
One of the people named in the suit, an ignorant, pathetic liar named Ryan Albert, published a whiny editorial in the Washington Post a few days ago, claiming his rights are being violated by the suit, and asserting that he is merely being sued for expressing his (uninformed and ignorant) opinion in public.
Your rights stop where others rights begin, Ryan. Your right to speak freely does not include libel. It does not include defamation. It does not include threats and intimidation. I’m going to quote attorney Daniel Hawes here, so you can better understand what this lawsuit references.
Simply put, free speech begins and ends with speech. When you take active steps to put someone out of business, that’s a crime in Virginia, even if you do it mainly by the use of words. That goes beyond “free speech”. If I can make an analogy, the fact that, in Virginia, I’ve got a perfect right to strap on a gun and walk around in public with it doesn’t give me the right to pull it out and shoot someone I don’t like. There is a point at which the privileged conduct stops and wrongful action begins. These people are not “random protesters” – they’re not protesters at all – they’re people who have communicated among themselves to effect an unlawful purpose using unlawful means. NoVa Armory is not a governmental agency, and a letter to its landlord is not “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances”. Trying to shut down that business is not an exercise in free speech.
The unlawful acts include defamation, calling NoVa Armory’s manager “gun-slinger Denny” and accusing him of being a terrorist, a liar, and a person who would sell guns to “those people” who live on the other side of the Anacostia river thereby promoting an illegal “black” market in guns and drugs. But it’s not a suit for defamation, it’s a suit for unlawfully conspiring to injure NoVa Armory in its trade or business in violation of Va. Code sections 18.2-499 and 18.2-500.
Meanwhile, the Virginia Delegate who led this disgusting battle and abused his public office to do so, Delegate Mark Levine, has been dutifully deleting any and all posts on his social media page that were critical of his actions. And believe me, before he went on his censorship spree, the negative comments were voluminous, thanks to Ted Nugent’s help in spreading the message.
It seems the bullies don’t like it when the victims fight back. We need to do that more often, and support those who do.
A week ago Second Amendment firebrand Ted Nugent posted an appalling graphic on his Facebook page, showing a dozen of America’s most famous gun grabbers with Israeli flags superimposed on their photos. The implication was clear – an obvious, disgusting claim that some kind of vast Jewish conspiracy was behind gun control efforts in the United States.
Fans of Ted’s music and his Second Amendment supporters were understandably upset. Was Ted implying that Jews were somehow responsible for the demise of our freedoms? Was he an anti-Semite? Is Ted prejudiced in some way against Jews? Has Ted become a liability to the gun rights movement?
Fast and furious calls for the NRA to cut ties with Ted. The National Review Online called Nugent a disgrace to the gun rights movement. The usual suspects – everyone from the Huffington Post to Mother Jones to the Southern Poverty Law Center to Media Matters – screeched about Ted’s alleged anti-Semitism. Even Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership – the organization from which this group sprang – immediately jumped into action to condemn Ted for his alleged Jew hatred.
You know what these reactionary outrageatrons didn’t do? No one in the mainstream media or any major gun rights organizations contacted Ted Nugent for a comment. They didn’t try to find out what was going on. They just assumed that a longtime friend and supporter of our freedoms, who never had an anti-Semitic bone in his body all of a sudden became a Jew hater, and they tripped all over themselves to condemn him.
You know how I know this? Because on behalf of the Zelman Partisans, I spent time on the phone with Ted Nugent – quite a bit of time – discussing this issue, and he told me so. “It’s not like my contact information is hard to find,” he told me. But no one called him to get a statement or to find out what was up.
“I can’t believe that knowing my history, knowing how much I love freedom, and how much I’ve fought to protect it, that no one thought to call me!” he said.
Now, what I’m about to tell you is not an excuse for the use of the graphic in any way. The graphic was originally found in 2013 on an anti-Semitic site called “the Jewish Problem” (and no, I’m not linking to that fascist crap – find it yourselves if you’re curious), according to a TinEye search I did when I first saw the Facebook post. There’s no doubt about what this thing is. Ted used it. There’s no way around it.
Ted is known for some pretty outrageous comments and his blunter than blunt delivery. He’s got energy and fire, and he doesn’t have a whole lot of time for political correctness. But the one thing he has never been is a racist or a bigot, so what happened? Why did a steadfast friend of freedom – regardless of color, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation – all of a sudden turn into an anti-Semitic jerk?
The answer is: he did NOT.
How do I know? Again, I asked him. Ted and I chatted on the phone first, texted, and then I asked him some questions via email. Apparently, that’s something every reactionary jackass who rushed to condemn him failed to do.
I simply asked, ” What happened? How did you wind up using this thing?”
“Can I say oy vey?” He replied. “I sincerely apologize for my irresponsible re-posting of such a nasty and offensive meme. In my rush between songwriting jams and musical recording frenzy, all I saw was the images of people dedicated to disarm us, I made no connection whatsoever to any religious affiliation. Everyone knows deep down that at 67 years of age I didn’t suddenly become anti-Semitic. That’s patently ridiculous, and those who rushed to such a mistaken condemning judgement should re-examine the system by which such equally irresponsible knee-jerk judgments are made.”
And you know what? Given his decades of commitment to freedom for every single person, regardless of race, color, or anything else, alarm bells should have gone off when Ted posted something so out of character. I was surprised to hear that no one, other than the Zelman Partisans (and one regional writer who put us in touch with Nugent), had made an attempt to contact him about the issue, and I asked him how he felt about supposed Second Amendment allies not bothering to contact him and clear the air.
“In a world of soulless political correctness and the dishonesty and denial that goes with it, I was not at all that surprised,” he told me. “The real tragedy is how many who claim to be on the side of freedom so viciously attacked me with zero effort to communicate with me directly as you so honorably did. For that I thank and salute you.”
I will say that as a former disc jockey for the American Forces Network, I blushed a bit at that. But you know what? That’s just good journalism, and I’m glad we got the chance to clear the air.
Ted Nugent’s real message that got lost in the outrage about the badly thought out use of that graphic? It was about Jewish people needing to defend their rights and freedoms, so that the horror of the Holocaust never happens again.
NEVER AGAIN! Plain and simple, the same powerful uniting message against freedom haters and gun banners that I have dedicated my entire adult life to in 1000s of concerts, numerous books, 1000s of articles, blogs, media interviews and constant speaking presentations. Period.
Oh, and our offer to Ted? He took us up on it. We’re sending him a Zelman Partisans membership packet, plus the yarmulke we promised, and he said he would wear the yarmulke on TV!
Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.
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