I’ll Talk Politics and Gun Control Until You Pry This Keyboard From My Cold Dead Hands.
I’m a writer. I’m a liberal. I take those responsibilities seriously.
I will warn you upfront. This will be my most self-indulgent (and over-the-top) post of the week.
Awhile back, I received some attention for this article:
I’m an Artist. Your Offense Is Not My Problem
When I’m sitting at my desk, keyboard-venting in my underwear or less, the coffee I drink is none of your business and…
It pretty much said it all at the time. Written in response to several friends and family members who worried about my chronic anti-Trump railings on Facebook, I found myself once more having to explain the responsibility of a writer.
As I fancy myself a political commentator alongside my science fiction and horror leanings, I believe I am wholly justified in expressing my thoughts on these matters. My heart tells me that our present U.S. President is tearing the fabric of our society, in part by influencing a lower-grade of global discourse.
Ours has become a culture of meanness. When the most powerful leader in the free world takes to Twitter and FOX News to bully not only his political opponents but also every registered Democrat in the country, he proves he is the President of Some, as opposed to the President of the United States.
He does not represent me.
I will not use this article to continue that beatdown — feel free to check out my Facebook page for those ongoing ramblings — but I will remind you here that, for now, freedom of speech in this country remains our collective privilege.
(If you are inclined to stop by, you can visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joel.eisenberg.77)
To the larger issue at hand … I refuse to be silenced.
“Taylor” and the NRA
“Never seek out your childhood heroes,” they say. “You will be invariably disappointed.”
I had been a Charlton Heston fan since I was a child. He was a fine actor who appeared in some of the greatest films ever: “Planet of the Apes” (#1 in his filmography to me, playing Taylor as referenced above), “The Ten Commandments,” “Touch of Evil,” “Ben-Hur” … the list goes on.
Heston to me represented the everyman who accomplished great things. He was the hero so many of us strived to be.
And then, on April 20, 1999, the flashpoint of Columbine occurred. High school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 12 students and one teacher, before killing themselves. 21 others were injured by gunfire, and another three by trying to escape the scene.
Though founded in 1871, the NRA came into mainstream prominence with Heston as its president (from 1998–2003) and primary spokesperson.
Two weeks following the Columbine tragedy, Heston led an NRA rally in Denver and blamed the media for trivializing the shooting: “I remember a better day when no one dared politicize or profiteer on trauma. We kept a respectful distance as the NRA has tried to do now. Today, carnage comes with a catchy title. Splashy graphics, regular promos, and a reactionary message of legislation.”
Michael Moore exposed Heston’s lack of sensitivity, and a possible racist streak, in his acclaimed 2002 documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.”
I lost respect for the man. I still love him as an actor, but I have little regard for him otherwise.
I encourage you to watch the two videos included above, then consider President Trump’s similar words, from years later, about the NRA and playing the blame game. Though many believe Trump cannot criticize the NRA due to conflicting campaign finance issues, and Heston passed away in 2008, the trickle down of this mindset is horrifying.
Today is November 22, 2019. As of November 17, 2019, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the GVA (Gun Violence Archive). When adding homicides, suicides and accidents into the equation, 2019 has seen, so far, a total of 34,365 gun deaths and 25,929 injuries.
Among those mass shootings, 45 had taken place in schools.
These figures mean far more to me than the bravado of Heston, and effectively Trump, wryly daring us all to pry their weapons from their “cold, dead hands” at the expense of an ever-increasing body count.
I am not arguing their Second Amendment rights. I am arguing that something is clearly not working.
I’m a writer. I’ll never stop. There are too many lives to save.
As ever, thank you for reading.
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