Our January issue of Western Shooting Journal features an interview with R. Lee Ermey, aka The Gunny, about his new book, the Second Amendment, the military, and acting. We also interviewed him about politics, and that bonus interview is featured here.
The Gunny is best known for his role as a Gunnery Sergeant in the movie Full Metal Jacket. He has also starred in many other movies, including Apocalypse Now, Fletch Lives and two of the recent Texas Chain Saw Massacres, which he wrote. He is a spokesman for the U.S. Marines Corps and a tireless advocate for veterans.
R.A. Tell us a little about your new politically incorrect book, Gunny’s Rules: How to Get Squared Away Like a Marine.
R.L.E. The book is all about my opinions on the evolution of this country, where we’re going and the shortcomings of what’s going on. And I do have one chapter “Sh** that pisses me off.” That’s a pretty fun chapter. I don’t put anything past the government these days. The most terrifying part about what’s going on right now, is I can’t believe the government is actually going to be in charge of our healthcare. Boy do they have us by the gonads now. It’s like Canada. It’s against the law for Canadians to go outside of the country and seek healthcare, any kind of medication or medical help. They have to stay there and obey the government, and even though the government healthcare is substandard, they can’t seek healthcare elsewhere. Is that frightening? Who’d they put in charge of our healthcare, the IRS? Targeting conservatives. The logical conclusion to that is life saving operation for a conservative? Deny. Do we honestly believe they’re so honorable they wouldn’t do anything like that?
I am really tired of people in society who are parasites. People who refuse to support their families and put them on welfare is aggravating to me. We’re neutering our young boys. Back when I was growing up as a kid, we never had bullying problems. Now, you can’t turn on the TV until you hear about someone bullying to the point of suicide. Back in my time, we stood up for ourselves and were allowed to defend ourselves. Stop being a passive pussycat. I don’t see anything wrong with defending oneself.
Everybody gets a trophy now. When are we going to start teaching our chlidren to lose gracefully? They can’t cope. I have a buddy who volunteered to coach a girls’ soccer team. They worked hard every weekend. He made them sweat. Well, at the first game, because the girls worked hard, they were three goals up on the opposing time. The principal came over to him and told him his girls needed to back down and let the other team score a little. He said he couldn’t, he’s teaching them to be winners. The principal told him not to come back anymore.
When are we going to learn? Why are we raising a bunch of wimps? They’ve never lost at anything. They graduate from high school and they go out for a job interview and they don’t get it, what are they going to do? They’re going to put a gun in their mouth abnd blow their brains out. I admit, none of us like to lose, least of all me. Marine Corps taught us if we lose, we die. Nothing earned, always given, where’s their incentive to do anything in their lives? They’re going to get the same paycheck and same trophy as everyone else whether they earned it or not. Why even show up, just mail the trophies. What messaage are we sending to our children? Shut up, get in step, comrade.
I’m so upset with society and government. I hired a girl Friday to help me out, I paid her $10/hour for 40 hours a week, and got her off of welfare. But when she got off welfare, the government took her free childcare away from her. So she quit, since she had to pay for babysitting. She was making more on welfare than I was paying her! We hate welfare families in this country making upwards of $30,000 per year, plus food stamps. Where is their incentive to go out and get a job?
If I didn’t have a job right now, I would guarantee you within a week I would find a job. Now I might not be the bank president, but I would have a job, no question in my military mind about it. I would continue to look until I find a job that paid more. Doesn’t mean I would be happy with it. I would be responsible and make a good wage. Now the government says let’s put the kids on mom and dad’s health insurance until they’re 26 years old. They don’t even realize that mom and dad’s insurance policy just went up a couple hundred dollars a month. Already strapped mom and dad. Why not age 40? I think your parents should support you until you die. <sarcasm>
When I was a kid, we started our day off with the Pledge of Allegiance. We would stand up, lock our heels, put our right hand over our heart and say the Pledge. I’m a Methodist, I don’t care what religion you are, I have tremendous respect for you. But because there’s just one atheist in the class that has a complaint, then why does he or she get to set the rules? This is America, last I checked, let’s go burn flags, protest that. There are rules and regulations on the books that I think are stupid. I drive a convertible and get ticketed for not having a seatbelt on. Next they’ll start requiring seatbelts on motorcycles. The last thing you want to do is stay with the convertible if there’s an accident. The judge wouldn’t even entertain any kind of a rebuttal.
I don’t want to be a socialist nor live in a socialist country. I’m terrified that’s the direction the country is headed in. It’s going to break my heart if I have to leave this country. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for my kids. I work hard for a living. I don’t want to share everything with people that are sick and lazy. I’ll be damned if I support them. These young people that are 26 living with mom and dad still, they claim they want to find jobs but they just can’t find a job. You realize that 70-75% of the people age that attempt to go into the military are not eligible because of drug problems, juvenile records, or physical disabilities. When you see that young man or young lady walking through the airport with the uniform on, they are the top 25% of our youth today. You better go up and thank them for your freedom.
R.A. In an interview you did with us a year ago, you talked about hunting overseas in Africa and various countries, passionate about conservation. Any thoughts on that over the past year?
R.L.E. PETA is destroying Africa’s second largest industry. It’s a shame since those countries are so poor. People are starving to death. The only way they eat is if a hunter goes over and kills the beasts. The village elders and youngsters will skin and process the meat. Nothing is wasted, even the bones. I shot an elephant, and 45 minutes later the only thing left of that elephant was a dark stain on the ground. It cost me $25,000 to shoot an elephant. The villagers get a portion of that money, and that keeps them from poaching.
Right now you see these posters of elephant babies in airports, which say endangered species. The truth is the professional hunters are complaining because the elephant population is so large they’re devouring everything edible in the bush, so now the elephants are starving to death. A more humane death would be shot by a bullet. There is an overpopulation oif the elephants. The government knows how to count them from the air and figure out how many need to be taken out. They know how many the land will.
Someone like me goes for the old elephant with the tusks. Old and useless, not breeding. When a lot of those government hunters go out, they shoot mommies and babies, closest to the truck, because it’s the easiest. Does PETA know this? They must. Why doesn’t PETA know this? PETA would rather have the governments go out and thin the herds by their notoriously lazy methods. PETA should be encouraging the white great hunter to go to Africa and spend his money and support the villages and wildlife conservation.
R.A. What do you think about the First Lady’s efforts to reduce obesity?
R.L.E. Michelle Obama hasn’t done anything about obesity. I’ve watched them remove part of a house in order to remove a very large man out of his house after he died. His mother fed him, and obviously they were on welfare and drawing food stamps. What’s even more disgusting is to walk through any department store; Walmart, Kmart, etc., and see two fat parents with fat children under the ages of 7 and 8. They are destroying the lives of those kids, not only their own. When I hit 65, I quit working out. I relaxed and gained 35 pounds. I got to thinking, I realized that if you go into the supermarket and you pick up five 1-gallon jugs of milk, there’s 35 pounds. Can you imagine carrying five 1-gallon jugs of milk around all day?
Appearances do matter. Fat people look like lazy people. If you walk down to the drug store, you realize there are thousands of diet pills. I couldn’t find one gain weight pill. There are billions of dollars spent on weight control. People can’t tell me they are happy they are obese. Go to the smorgasbord down here, pay $7 and eat all you want, you’re gonna eat twice as much as if you were at home or at a sit-down restaurant. That’s like food stamps, it’s free. People have no discipline. They can say all they want about glands and metabolism slowing down, I suppose you could call your mouth a gland.
When fit people are on welfare for more than six months, I look at that as cruel as stealing out of the church plate. That money was meant for people who are disabled and not able to work. Yet the government promotes it. They’re out there like they’re recruiting people to get on welfare and food stamps. I’m disgusted with government, not only the liberals, I’m just as disgusted with the conservatives, I’m an Independent and can go either way. I don’t vote for the party, screw the party, I go with the guy who is going to do the best for this country. They forgot who pays the bills.
I’m equal opportunity. I’m disgusted with everybody. Clean house and fire them all. What happened to the George Washingtons, the Abraham Lincolns, the people who really cared? Professional politicians are disgusting. I can’t think of a more disgusting group than lawyers. We need to get this country turned around. We need to have a Tea Party, dump some tea into the ocean. It’s a beautiful country we’re wasting.
Why are we giving foreign aid to countries that hate our guts? 60% of my money goes to the government. They’re wasting all of my money, it goes to waste. Afghanistan. People that hate our guts. We give billions of dollars away every year. Their leaders must be really snickering. They think we’re a bunch of real idiots. It’s all about the things that need to be fixed in this country. We need to fix them quickly. God help us if Hillary gets in there next time, because we will never recover then, it will be way too late. They’ve been promising us that we can keep our healthcare. There are people with cancer that have been pulling their fair load, and they’re the ones who are suffering so we can provide healthcare to those who don’t work.
The left doesn’t want anybody to have an ID card to vote, because they say there’s no problem. How come so many people voted last time? I have a way to solve that problem. My question is, how did those old people cash their Social Security or welfare checks? I’m a firm believer they can set up a little photography stand right there at every polling place, and if you don’t have an ID card, they can take your photo and produce an ID card – it would take about two minutes. That would solve the problem. There was a person here in California who followed a bus around full of people from one polling place to another, as they voted more than once at each location. Does that tell you that we don’t need a photo ID card to vote? We will never get another conservative in the White House if we don’t clean this up. That ID card will eliminate them going to another polling place and voting. It’s a simple thing.
It’s been nose to the grindstone ever since, and I work constantly. I am almost 70 years old and I retired a damn long time ago. I’ve been paying into Social Security since I was 13. We can’t all quit working. I finally went on Medicare, and am now paying twice as much as I was for healthcare through the Actor’s Guild. It’s because of the amount of money I make, it’s an equalization program.
I’ve been successful simply because I’ve been at the right place at the right time, and I’m also a hard worker. I have just as many strikes against me as those on welfare, so there’s no excuse for them. Why am I 70 years old and still working my butt off, when they’re sitting on their duffs at age 40? I’ve been approached twice by people trying to sell me their food stamps. Our government keeps putting up with it.
R.A. What are you up to lately, any future plans to share with our readers?
R.L.E. Working! I work constantly and attend Marine Corps birthday balls. We celebrate the Marine Corps birthday every weekend during November. Every four years I would go to Okinawa, Japan and do Marine Corps balls. Last count, I had done 287 and that was a few years ago. I qualify for the Guinness World Records. I have perfect vision. There are few 70-year-olds who can still read the newspaper. It’s probably because I’ve been shooting my whole life. My eyes are exercised all the time.
Here are the questions we asked The Gunny in the January issue – pick up a copy now to read what else he had to say!
R.A. Any reflections to share with our readers on acting in Full Metal Jacket?
R.A. What advice would you give to young men and women considering military service and/or acting?
R.A. You’re known for your mostly military roles in movies. You’re obviously an extremely talented actor; what prompted you to go into acting after serving in the Marines?
R.A. Any of your movies that Gunny fans might not know about that you’d recommend they watch?
R.A. What are some of your favorite guns and why?
R.A. How did you become such a strong Second Amendment supporter?
R.A. Do you ever have hostile encounters with the gun control lobby or anti-hunting zealots?
R.A. You’ve generously done so much charitable work there is too much to list here. Is there anything in particular you can highlight for our readers?
R.A. What do you like to do for fun, if you have any free time outside of all the work/charity work you are doing?
R.A. I know you’ve said you don’t want to run for public office, but you are very influential. Can we expect to see you in politics in any fashion, maybe political talk shows?
R.A. Folks can meet you at SHOT Show, where you’ll be at some of your sponsorship booths (and hopefully stop by ours!) Where else can they meet you during the year? (e.g. NRA convention)