- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 11, 2004

She is known as “Queen of the Forest” and is proud of her ability to live off the land, but Shemane Nugent is wearing a periwinkle skirt suit as she encounters the air-conditioned habitat of the Heritage Foundation.

She is here to talk about guns.

“Refuse to be a victim — it’s un-American,” she tells the ladies gathered for the Conservative Women’s Network luncheon.

The wife of gonzo rocker Ted Nugent hunts wild game with bow and arrow and boasts that venison is on the menu five or six times a week at the couple’s new home in Texas.

She can “Kill It and Grill It,” as she proclaims in the title of the cookbook she authored with her guitarist/outdoorsman husband. On the Friday before the Million Mom March — a gun-control event on the Mall that fell about 998,000 short Sunday — Shemane Nugent had Sen. John Kerry in her sights.

The Democratic presidential candidate is promoting “intellectually bankrupt beliefs,” she says.

“Someone better tell Kerry that when a mother bear is defending her young, she is unstoppable,” she says. “The Second Amendment is a commandment.”

Her grandmother, she says, was a skeet shooter who loaded her own shotgun shells.

“John Kerry would like to make sure that my grandmother turns in any collectible guns she might own.”

She is not one to mince words.

“When you live with someone as passionate as Ted, it kind of rubs off on you,” she says. “I’m not a very good couch potato.”

Married for 15 years to one of the most flamboyant and outspoken showmen in rock ‘n’ roll, she co-hosts his award-winning hunting program, “Spirit of the Wild,” on the Outdoor Channel and also appears on his VH1 reality TV series, “Surviving Nugent.”

“We changed people’s lives,” she says of the VH1 show. “You can’t do that by staying at home. You have to do things people don’t think you’re going to do.”

In her most recent book, “Married to a Rock Star,” she relates how she first met Mr. Nugent — a hard rocker known as “the Motor City Madman” — while she was working as a radio reporter for Detroit’s WLLZ-FM.

“Being married to a rock star is a lot like being married to a welder,” she tells the Heritage audience. “He goes to work, and sparks are flying. But he does his job and comes home to be a husband.”

The Nugents are much like a normal family, she says, but “we have more challenges and we have more rewards than regular families.”

An aerobics instructor for 20 years, Mrs. Nugent says, “Health and fitness is one of my passions. I’ve been 106 pounds for 26 years — and I eat whatever I want to.”

Later, tying Second Amendment rights to America’s obesity problem, she declares, “If Americans are so concerned with saving lives, why don’t they sue car manufacturers or Krispy Kreme?”

She begins her Washington speech with the story of how her son developed asthma because of a severe mold problem at the family’s former home in Jackson, Mich. She proudly notes that Rocco Nugent, now 13, persevered through the illness to become a winning distance runner for his school track team.

She also was hospitalized for three weeks for respiratory problems after the mold was discovered early last year. That prompted the Nugents’ move from Michigan to a huge homestead in Crawford, Texas, where their neighbors include President Bush. But her Midwest accent is not likely to turn into a Texas drawl anytime soon.

Washington is “beautiful — I love to be here in the spring,” Mrs. Nugent says. But the city “is a perfect example” of how “politicians roll out the red carpet for criminals,” she says.

“They continuously release convicted criminals early and allow them to commit the same crimes over and over,” she says. “The policy is leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless against paroled violent offenders with rap sheets as long as my arm.”

She calls District’s near-complete ban on private firearms ownership irrational.

“Banning guns out of fear of drive-by shootings … is like banning Krispy Kreme doughnuts because too many of us get fat and die of heart attacks,” says Mrs. Nugent, 41.

She called guns an “equalizer” for women and cited statistics to support her belief that stricter gun control is unnecessary.

“Women use guns in self-defense nearly 2 million times a year,” she says. “According to the NRA Women on Target instructional Shooting Clinic, there has been a 1,008 percent increase in demand for instructional gun-education classes since 2000.”

She insists that women’s right to self-defense is threatened by the Democratic presidential candidate.

“To be left defenseless — which is what John Kerry wants — there will only be more victims,” she says.

She says her husband’s high-caliber personality has helped spread a freedom-loving attitude.

“The best thing about being married to Ted Nugent is that we can penetrate the entertainment industry with these conservative messages,” she says. “He has risked his career to promote the Second Amendment.”

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