Heston made no apologies for his beliefs

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

You won’t find a gun in my home. I have never even owned a firearm that I could solely call mine.

But I sure am happy that I could get out of bed tomorrow and go buy one.

And, in some ways, I can thank Moses for that. Well, not really Moses, but I can thank esteemed actor and gun rights activist Charlton Heston for never wavering in his defense of the 2nd Amendment.

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“From my cold dead hands,” the former head of the National Rifle Association said proudly at a rally in 2000 as he held his rifle high. Make no mistake, Heston was standing up for the U.S. Constitution and individual liberties in a way that got lots of attention and kept the debate in the public eye.

Sadly, the actor passed away a little more than a week ago at the age of 84.

While many in the national media wanted to characterize Heston as ultra-conservative, controversial and stubborn, I think it is refreshing to see celebrities stand up for what they believe in with such conviction that you know it isn’t just about creating an image or keeping their name in the newspapers.

In our society where we tend to revere the flavor-of-the-week reality TV star or some shallow entertainer, it is nice to remember and honor someone like Heston, whose old school beliefs that you stand up for what is right always seemed to shine through. The man even switched political parties in the process because he cared more about doing what he thought was right instead of simply toeing a party line.

That inner moral compass is what led him to fight against racism long before it was popular — or a smart career move — to do so.

The WWII veteran marched beside Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington D.C. in 1963 and joined a picket line outside an Oklahoma City restaurant.

Although I may not agree with his stance on many issues, the list goes on an on. He stood up against abortion, fought against the Vietnam War and often spoke about a cultural war that America had to overcome.

But it was his convictions for gun rights that really helped keep the issue at the forefront when he led the NRA in the late 1990s.

Hopefully, this will always be part of Heston’s legacy and we will always be able to give him some credit for fighting for the rights of Americans to bear arms.

In an increasingly violent world, gun opponents are quick to push the need for more laws, failing to recognize that the ones using guns to kill could care less what the rules are.

With all the Britney Spearses and Paris Hiltons of the world that seem content to use their celebrity for nothing more than being self-indulgent brats, a celebrity like Heston is nice to see.

And there are others, but it may be a long time before we see someone who cared enough to stand up as fiercely as Heston.

He was once quoted as saying, “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.&uot;

The tyrants of this world will never win if people like Heston and Average Joes like you or I stand up for what we believe.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.