If you thought you had to wait for Jurassic Park 4 to see some good dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence, you’re in luck. As former rock star and current gun-nut Ted Nugent enjoys his third consecutive day of relevance, pre-Nugent talk radio star Don Imus has weighed in, however briefly. In response to Nugent’s assertion that, if President Obama is reelected, he will be “dead or in jail” by this time next year, Imus said “Ted Nugent should be be put in jail forever.”
To hear Nugent tell it, all Imus needs to do to make that happen is to vote for President Obama, along with a hundred million of his closest friends. In the nearer-term, though, the Secret Service says they are “aware” of Nugent’s remarks, will conduct the “appropriate follow-up,” and are taking the matter “seriously.”
Imus also called the Motor City Madman’s comments “repugnant” and “repulsive,” adding “If you don’t like the President don’t vote for him. Vote for Romney. Other than that, come on.”
The likelihood that Nugent’s remarks land him in jail earlier than he thinks depends on several factors. His remark at the NRA convention, on its own, is open to interpretation, but given that his remarks were made at a National Rifle Association conference, and given his history of such remarks (in 2008, he said that then-Sen. Barack Obama should “suck on” one of his “machine guns”), they could cause him problems. The Secret Service detained a pastor in 1996 for telling then-President Bill Clinton “God will hold you to account, Mr. President.”
Unlike other forms of possibly criminal speech, threats against the President don’t have to meet the “imminence” and “likelihood” standards. However, in another case, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who told an audience ” If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.”
In that case, Watts v. United States, the court said “We agree with petitioner that his only offense here was ‘a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a political opposition to the President.’ Taken in context, and regarding the expressly conditional nature of the statement and the reaction of the listeners, we do not see how it could be interpreted otherwise.”
Of course, that defendant had not previously said that the President should suck on his machine gun, which could also make a difference if Nugent ever got to court on this.
Time will tell if Imus gets his wish, but even if he doesn’t, isn’t being Ted Nugent kinda punishment enough?
Here’s the clip, from Fox Business Network:
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