Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, August 16, 2002

When reading the columns written by a number of liberal columnists I am often struck by the negative, pessimistic and degrading tone that they employ when writing about conservatives. Even with that in mind, I was exceedingly shocked at the visciousness of the attack on Charlton Heston by Juan Andrade in the Sun Times.

He has nothing in common with any of them, save for Reagan, with Alzheimer's.

The hatred that must be in someone's heart to denigrate. not one but. two men (both of whom are affected by a terrible illness) seems to be well outside what would normally be considered the bounds of common decency. And to see this in a mojor news media outlet is even more disconcerting. A difference of opinion and desire to debate is fine but disinformation and vitrol and personal attacks should not be a part of the daily news.

Perhaps Mr Andrade is too young to remember (not an excuse because I am 31 and know about this) scenes like this or this when dismissing Mr Heston's ties to Martin Luther King Jr. Perhaps he forgets that Mr Heston was at Selma to speak out against the racist policies of the government. Not only has Mr Heston corageuosly stood up for the civil rights of blacks in our country, at a time when doing so involved physical danger, he has spent years standing up for the rights of gunowners. Rights guaranteed and protected by our Constitution. And for this Mr Andrade truly hates Mr Heston. For doing this Mr Andrade feels he is at liberty to say some hateful things.

Mr Andrade goes on to insinuate that Mr Heston and anyone who owns guns is a criminal and is complicit in violent crimes. This claim is made with no evidence or rationale, Mr Andrade just assumes that it must be so and that we should accept this statement at face value. It is possible that Mr Andrade has not read the Constitution of the United States (you can click on the Bartleby link to the left to find it) or the Federalist papers or the writings of the Founding Fathers and therefore is under the impression that guns are illegal in America. Or it may be possible that he has not looked at the crime statistics (which can be found at the Justice Department website) that show that legal gun owners are not likely to be involved in violent crime. That in fact most gun violence is carried out by people with previous criminal records (which even in the view of our Founders is grounds for not being allowed the ownership of a gun). All of these things may be possible. But, if they are true, musn't we ask by what authority Mr Andrade writes about the subject?

Mr Andrade misunderstands and distorts the words of Mr Heston's moving statement announcing his condition. He says that Mr Heston equated himself with JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. when in fact he stated "I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew, but it's a fight I must someday call a draw." Here is what he really said, in full.

Everyone who reads this should write an email and express their thoughts. We must end this now, we must stop allowing anyone who holds conservative or Constitutional views to be smeared as hateful and heartless. It is a total abdication of morality and standing in a debate to resort to this. STOP allowing it STOP taking it quietly. Whenever someone tries this speak up don't take it. Open debate is fine and should be encouraged but anyone who opens, carries on and closes their debate with nothing but personal vitrol should be told that such things are not polite nor are they acceptable.

Personally I will be honoring Mr Heston and exercising my fully legal and constitutional rights at the shooting range tomorrow afternoon. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania and learned guns and gun safety at an early age from my Pap-Pap (a true patriot who volunteerd and served as an engineer and was in the second wave of troops to hit Omaha Beach). And in his honor I will be teaching my daughter and wife to handle a pistol and rifle tomorrow (thanks Andrew, see you at noon). They are not yet citizens but when they are eligible I will see to it that they fully understand and exercise the full panoply of rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

Instapundit and Euene Volokh have something to say.

< email | 8/16/2002 08:33:00 PM | link

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