"Pretend it's Obama," shouted a woman from the sidelines just as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum fired his pistol. That happened on a Louisiana firing range in March of this year, one of many stops during Sen. Santorum's campaign fight for the Republican Party's Presidential nomination. He took the state, but has since dropped out.
To be fair, Santorum was wearing protection which completely covered his ears, so there was no way he could have heard the remarks. But he was questioned by reporters later.
"It's absurd," he answered. "No we're not pretending it's anybody but shooting pistols. It's a very terrible and horrible remark and I'm glad I didn't hear it."
But we've all heard it before. It seems the subject of committing violence against this President is a common occurrence. Most of them are carefully crafted comments, often followed with a chuckle to mask them as jokes. Others use creative imagery to make their point. All this window dressing it used to give the speaker plausible deniability, just in case.
But once in a while, someone comes right out and says what they "wish" would happen.
This past week, another threatening statement was made by rocker Ted Nugent. Nugent is also known as the Motor City Madman, for good reason. While attending the National Rifle Association's annual convention in St. Louis, Mo., he gave an interview expressing his views about the reelection of President Obama. It was also captured on video and it was quite chilling. His words were:
"If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
VIDEO: "I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
As if that wasn't bad enough, he also added the following as he compared President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to coyotes:
"It isn't the enemy that ruined America. It's good people who bent over and let the enemy in," he said. "If the coyote's in your living room pissing on your couch, it's not the coyote's fault. It's your fault for not shooting him."
VIDEO: Nugent Compares President Obama to Coyote That Should Be Shot:
Nugent now denies he threatened the President. He told former Arkansas Governor and radio talk show host Mike Huckabee, "I mean, I'm a non-violent guy, I don't threaten."
Nice try, Ted. Any reasonable person hearing these words would come to a very different conclusion.
But let's be honest. Ted Nugent isn't going to be scaling the walls of the White House to kill the President of the United States. He's a coward. He wouldn't have the guts to put his violent words into action. For that reason, it's easy to dismiss him as just shooting his mouth off or to accuse the DNC of manufacturing a controversy. But should we really dismiss this as the rhetoric of a lunatic?
To me, it sounds like yet another threat against President Obama. Did we get that or do these types of statements happen so frequently that they've become white noise?
We need to listen to the Ted Nugents of the world. I mean, really listen. Not because of what he will do. Like I said, he's a coward. The real trouble is somewhere out among the masses where some guy or gal is sitting on his or her beer-stained sofa watching or listening to these words as if they were coming out of the mouth of God. Their mindset might be:
"What the hell! I ain't got nothin' else goin' on in my life. Here's my chance to save America!"
I was under the impression it was against the law to make physical threats against the President of the United States. Has that changed? If so, when and why?
The most tragic fear I have is to wake up one morning and learn that some other lunatic heard what could be perceived as a rallying cry from Ted Nugent. Then, what will we all say?
"Oh sh--! I guess this one was serious!"
Of course, that will be too late
Follow Lawrence D. Elliott on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lawrence_author