Not a Nugent Fan

RECEIVED Wed., April 18, 2012

Dear Editor,
    If you asked most Americans what they think about Anders Breivik – right-wing extremist and murderer of 77 innocent people, mostly youth – they might tell you something like "he's crazy" or "he's evil.” Yet some of these same Americans listen to people like Ted Nugent – who spouts a rhetoric as extremist and violent as Breivik's – and think nothing of it. We even have a major presidential candidate accepting Mr. Nugent's endorsement without breaking so much as one bead of sweat. What is wrong with this picture? What makes us think of someone like Ted Nugent, an avowed gun fanatic, as somehow harmless, while considering a man like Breivik a monster, only because he acted on what are arguably similar beliefs? What is there to keep Mr. Nugent from doing the same? Breivik is not insane, he is an adherent of fascist, white supremacist doctrine and only took the step of killing in order to further his cause. When we as Americans agree with the cause in question, we call fighting for that cause a sacred duty (just as Southerners did during the Civil War). When the cause is something we do not agree with, we call it extremism. Seems to me our own versions of Breivik such as Mr. Nugent (who could easily be dismissed as a raving lunatic) might not be so harmless after all. When you oppose other people's extremism but are an extremist yourself; when you say you love America but hate other Americans, including the American president, then you are worse than a liar and a hypocrite: you are a threat to national security.
Katherine Edmiston
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