- - Monday, February 13, 2012

Another great talent has been silenced, probably because of abusing dope or booze and the criminal, irresponsible lifestyle that goes with that insane behavior. What a waste.

Whitney Houston possessed the most powerful, incredible, soaring and moving voice I have ever heard, and I have heard and revered them all. Her rendition of our national anthem at the Super Bowl 21 years ago was so powerful that it defies description. It is without question the most soulful, emotional, inspiring rendition I have ever heard.

Miss Houston’s God-given and incredible gifts won her numerous Grammy Awards and the respect and awe of every person who ever witnessed her beauty and talent. She sold more than 170 million records and made millions and millions of dollars. But in the end, none of that really matters. What matters is that another human being is gone much too soon.

If we truly care, we should not remember Miss Houston for her incredible talent. Instead, we should use her death as an opportunity to tell our children that her death spiral is yet another glaring example that dope and booze are killers. That is nothing to celebrate.

We should use Miss Houston’s death as a teaching moment: Live a responsible lifestyle; make intelligent decisions; hang out only with good, decent, law-abiding people; and by all means, steer clear of dope and booze and people still foolish enough to abuse them. I would like to think that is what she, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and many others would want us to say to our young people.

In the 50 years I have been in the entertainment industry, I have seen too many incredible talents like Miss Houston choose death rather than respect life. Indulging the fake, deadly highs of dope and booze is not a party or worthy of celebration.

Entertainers who die as a result of ingesting poison are just the very tip of the toxic dope iceberg. I meet with cops on almost a daily basis, and their stories are much the same: Dope and booze are destroying lives, families and entire communities all across America. It is a scourge, a curse.

As it pertains to life and death, we should keep our priorities in check. If you want to celebrate and remember people who have passed much too soon and who really matter, I recommend you visit Arlington National Cemetery, where you can walk among rows and rows of true heroes. Watch the guards march in silent reverence at the Tomb of the Unknowns. They matter. They are forever worthy of our remembrance. They made the ultimate sacrifice for worthy causes: freedom and the American way.

The families of our deceased warriors of the U.S. military whom I meet during my concert and hunting tours across America shake me to my core. Their soft, painful and proud voices are much more powerful than Whitney Houston’s soaring voice. I treasure and remember their voices, not the incredible talent that she wasted.

One plus one will forever equal two. The duo of dope and booze is the toxic express lane off the planet. We would be wise to teach that to our young people at every opportunity.

Ted Nugent is an American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is the author of “Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns & Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).

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