Charlton Heston addressed the NRA convention in Denver, Colorado on May 1, 1999.
Here's an excerpt that Jon used in order to make the point:
Tragedy has been, and will always be, with us. Somewhere right now, evil people are planning evil things. All of us will do everything meaningful, everything we can do to prevent it. But each horrible act can't become an axe for opportunists to cleave the very Bill of Rights that binds us.Jon's comments after the video clip:
Thank you, Charlton Heston. Of course, he was speaking out after another tragedy, when people on the left had demanded that the NRA, out of respect to the recent victims of Columbine, not hold their scheduled NRA convention in Denver, near the site of the tragedy. And by the way, I'm sure I probably would've been one of those people, painting too narrow a picture, connecting irresponsibly the actions of two psychotics, to an entire group of reasonable people expressing their Constitutional rights.Heston:
(photo graphic of younger Jon)
I was angry, and very thin. And my hair was dark, and I could not apparently buy a suit that fit. Why... did I have to wear Kilborn's suits? Wha... I don't understand!
The point is, I was wrong, and Heston was right. And if you replace "NRA" with "Muslim community", and "Second Amendment" with "First Amendment", he's still right.
America must stop this predictable pattern of reaction. When an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones ring demanding that the NRA explain the inexplicable. Why us? Because their story needs a villain. ... That is not our role in American society, and we will not be forced to play it. ... If you disagree, that's your right. I respect that. But we will not relinquish it, or be silenced about it, or be told, "Do not come here. You are unwelcome in your own land."Jon: Well said, sir, and it gives me hope. Because if there's anyone who can bring Muslims, Christians, and Jews together, it's Moses.
Moment of Zen from Charlton Heston's speech: "Hatred that is dividing our country. ... This harvest of hatred is then sold as news."