“It’s just synchronicity; we didn’t plan all of this,” said Shemane Nugent, 50, his wife of 24 years, as she marveled at the unending line of Nugent partisans. “It’s been a rock-and-roll evolution that has propelled us into politics.”
NRA member and musician Ted Nugent greets fans and signs autographs at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in May.
On the final morningof the 2013 NRA annual convention in May, the day was bright, the mood was festive and Ted Nugent was neither dead nor in jail.
It was almost exactly a year earlier that Nugent, speaking on video at the NRA gathering in St. Louis, had made headlines by predicting one or the other would be his fate should Barack Obama become a two-termer. As far as incendiary rhetoric by the rocker-hunter-conservative firebrand goes, this was pretty tame stuff.
He has referred to Obama as a “piece of s–t” and members of his administration as “criminals,” and implored the president to “suck on my machine gun.” The “dead or in jail” comment was notable mostly for prompting a visit by the Secret Service, a meeting Nugent laughed off as a pro forma check-in from agents he described as more star-struck than suspicious.
A year later, the second Obama term Nugent had dreaded was only boosting his visibility as a conservative provocateur. Having “a gang of Chicago criminals” who “want to dismantle America” to rail against for another four years ensures that Nugent’s ballistic take on current events is in growing demand at events such as this one, the National Rifle Association’s gathering at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. The cavernous hall was abuzz with camo-clad sportsmen, young men in ball caps, and families, some pushing strollers, wandering the crowded exhibit hall. A man with a carnival barker’s voice cajoled ticket buyers toward the hourly firearms raffle at the Wall of Guns.