Friday, April 20, 2012

Ted Nugent, stochastic terrorist

As the Detroit Free Press reports:
Nugent stood by his remarks on Wednesday, according to

Nugent slammed the Obama administration and singled out four members of the Supreme Court as not supporting the Constitution during his remarks at the National Rifle Association's annual conference in St. Louis. Nugent, best known for his hit Cat Scratch Fever, is an NRA board member.

"If you want more of those kinds of evil anti-American people in the Supreme Court, then don't get involved and let Obama take office again," Nugent said Saturday. "Because I'll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
Those remarks had consequences. From the Detroit Free Press again:
Uncle Ted has a hot date with Big Brother today. Ted Nugent, who has made a flurry of statements in recent days about Democrats and President Barack Obama, says he has been asked to sit down with members of the Secret Service today, the Blaze reports.
Lucky that he landed just on the right side of the "shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater" exception to the First Amendment, or he wouldn't have to wait until next year. The Associated Press headline was Secret Service closes case on Ted Nugent's remarks. They were right to do so, as Nugent himself poses no threat. My friend John Henry at LowGenius know why, as he says that Ted Nugent Is An Enormous Coward. Here's the video version.

While Nugent himself isn't a danger, his fans may not be. Join me over the fold for why.

After the shooting of Gabbie Giffords last year, G2Geek over at Daily Kos coined the phrase stochastic terrorism. Here's the definition he gave.
Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to stir up random lone wolves to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.

This is what occurs when Bin Laden releases a video that stirs random extremists halfway around the globe to commit a bombing or shooting.

This is also the term for what Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, and others do. And this is what led directly and predictably to a number of cases of ideologically-motivated murder similar to the Tucson shootings.
The person who actually plants the bomb or assassinates the public official is not the stochastic terrorist, they are the "missile" set in motion by the stochastic terrorist. The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media as their means of setting those "missiles" in motion.

Here's the mechanism spelled out concisely:

The stochastic terrorist is the person who uses mass media to broadcast memes that incite unstable people to commit violent acts.

One or more unstable people responds to the incitement by becoming a lone wolf and committing a violent act. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given the provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not predictable (yet).

The stochastic terrorist then has plausible deniability: "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."

The lone wolf who was the "missile" gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves.

Further, the stochastic terrorist may be acting either negligently or deliberately, or may be in complete denial of their impact, just like a drunk driver who runs over a pedestrian without even realizing it.

Finally, there is no conspiracy here: merely the twisted acts of individuals who are promoting extremism, who get access to national media in which to do it, and the rest follows naturally just as an increase in violent storms follows from an increase in average global temperature.
G2Geek has lots of examples of lone wolfs set off by stochastic terrorists over at his diary. I suggest you read them and think about how Nugent's fans and supporters might react the same way. In the meantime, think about the meme "Ted Nugent, stochastic terrorist."

Today's song is "Stranglehold" from the album "Motor City Mayhem" (lyrics here). Given Nugent's recent comments, the words "stranglehold" and "mayhem" take on entirely new meaning.

ETA: Crossposted to Daily Kos.


  1. "While Nugent himself isn't a danger, his fans may not be. Join me over the fold for why."

    ITYM "his fans may be."

  2. This was one of two entries I recapped in Second Year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News: Scary musical clowns from Detroit, where I described how well this post fared.

    "Ted Nugent, stochastic terrorist, posted on April 20, 2012, with 224 page views, enough for 16th most popular during the second year of the blog, and 2 comments, described how the Motor City Madman shot off his mouth and got a visit from the Secret Service for his trouble. Lucky for him, he landed on the right side of the "shouting fire in a crowded theater" line."

    It also described the response to its cross-posting on Daily Kos, including a diss of both the entry and me by Jim Goad. I count that as a victory through having the right enemies.