August 1, 2000
4:57 AM   Subscribe

Not just a deranged, hateful old man with a gun... a drunken deranged, hateful old man with a gun... (I personally attended an event at one of these "various universities" - social drinker my ass...)
posted by m.polo (37 comments total)
Now all he has to do is go into gun rehab.
posted by holgate at 5:16 AM on August 1, 2000

``He leads his life at a pretty hectic pace,'' said [Heston's alleged spokesperson Lisa] DeMatteo, who was with Heston in Philadelphia for the Republican National Convention.

What I noticed about this article is that this appears to be something a reporter found out about during the Republican Convention there in Philly. Probably just small talk found while mingling, which the reporter turned in for a story.

This is how desperate the media will be this week for copy. Yes, Heston is a high-profile character, but is the fact he spent two weeks in the hospital back in May really newsworthy? Who cares?

I find it increasingly ironic that the only airwave tv network giving prime time coverage of the event is PBS, the network which the Republicans all but castrated financially in the past few years. Talk about burying the hatchet!
posted by ZachsMind at 7:22 AM on August 1, 2000

The sad thing is that some people will actually try to use this as an argument against the 2nd amendment.
posted by Popstar at 8:23 AM on August 1, 2000

Why? Just because the president of the NRA likes to toss back a few and then see if he can hit the broad side of a barn with an AK-47? Nah! I don't see how anyone could misconstrue this into an appeal for gun control. We NEED more intoxicated gunowners in this country!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:46 AM on August 1, 2000

I'm with Zach. I mean, why else would they have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms? By squishing all those things together, then hell! Go for it!
posted by elf_baby at 8:57 AM on August 1, 2000

"m.polo" has apparently not read Mr. Heston's crisp and passionate writings on the topic of guns & freedom. I can't measure his public speaking experience, but I imagine it's hard to be eloquent when looped-up a bit. Heston loves America and wants only to see our hard-won freedoms protected. Short-sighted, frothing anti-gun reactionaries who can't or won't understand this often seem "deranged and hateful" to me but I try not to slam their character in public forums...
posted by Tubes at 9:00 AM on August 1, 2000

But this is an interesting quandry: should someone with a known history of alcohol problems be allowed to own a handgun?
posted by owillis at 9:10 AM on August 1, 2000

Of course! They're harmless. Everybody knows drunken hillbillies like Heston just shoot their guns up into the sky when they've had too much to drink. They're harmless as kittens. All bark and no bite. Really. There's nothing to worry about. We need more red blooded american DRUNK old men gettin rowdy at republican conventions in this country!

Maybe something interesting will actually happen.

"oh my god, he's taken Cheney hostage!"
"N-now Mister Heston. That's my vice president you have at gunpoint there and uh.."
"Please come down from the podium. Mr. Heston. Here. Let's watch a video clip."
"No more videos, junior! I part the red seas! I-"
"Y-you drank all the red wine Mister Heston."
"I'm the voice of God for this convention!"
"quick! somebody get Colin Powell! He'll know what to do!"

posted by ZachsMind at 9:25 AM on August 1, 2000

Wow. That's pretty funny Zachs.
Okay, on to people that matter. owillis, I think you do bring up an interesting point. I am definitely anti gun control, but where do you draw the line? The idea of giving guns to people with alcohol problems is pretty scary. At the same time, it seems that whenever a line is drawn, the line is distorted in the name of taking freedoms away on hot-button issues like this. I guess I would have to say "no" to your question... Could be quite a can of worms though.

posted by Popstar at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2000

"owillis" asks: "should someone with a known history of alcohol problems be allowed to own a handgun?"...

Should someone with a known history of alcohol problems be allowed to:
...own a kitchen knife?
...own a car?
...teach high school?
...operate a chain saw?
...bear children?
...cross the street unattended?

In America, you may own a gun unless you demonstrate via criminal activity that you can't be trusted with one. Felons cannot own guns. Law-abiding citizens can. So far, it's not illegal to develop addictions to legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunate and possibly debilitating, but not illegal. That's where the line is drawn - innocent until proven guilty. Otherwise you might as well just lock up everyone with an alcohol problem, an emotional problem, or a hot temper, just in case...
posted by Tubes at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2000

Not all of us gun control nuts are "rabid" Tubes, and we most certainly aren't shortsighted.

That said, I'm also a realist. I really don't think it will be possible to ban firearms (thought I'd like to). I am also aware of the fact that people like you generally aren't the ones committing violent crimes (we'll leave the accidental shootings aside for now).

But don't you think guns should be licensed?

I truly don' t understand why the pro-gun camp is so against this. If you are convicted of a DUI, your license is taken away - often permanently. The same principle should apply to guns.

We can't always keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but we can make it a lot more difficult for them. Unfortunately, short sighted gun nuts who have misinterpreted the constitution make it difficult for us.
posted by aladfar at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2000

$20 to the first criminal who goes and gets their handgun licensed. My money is pretty safe. All licensing and restrictions will do is make it harder for law abiding citizens to get a gun. Criminals will just walk down to their local blackmarket dealer and pick something up, no questions asked. I say this as a non gun owning person. I think maybe we should try to enforce a few of the laws we already have, before we try to add new ones.

That said, I'm still not a big fan of Mr. Heston or the NRA. I do believe people who have gotten help for their various "habits", whether it be alcohol, drugs, what have you, deserve a bit of credit for doing so. This article makes his drinking problem sound fairly minor.

Banning things from people with a "history" of abuse is wrong. History can very well mean that the problem no longer exists. You don't get your license taken away for a "history" of alcohol abuse, you get it taken away for driving while intoxicated. Two very different things.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2000

drunken hillbillies like Heston just shoot their guns up into the sky when they've had too much to drink

I hope you aren't implying that this is a safe practice, Zach. As embarrassed as I am that I lived in the same city with these people, it was apparently tradition in Kansas City to go outside and shoot off guns into the air in celebration of particular events such as July 4 or the Chiefs beating the Raiders. One unfortunate individual was hit in the head by a bullet on its way back down and died last fall. Elsewhere in the metro, a family found a bullet lodged in their ceiling right above the bed. It's dangerous.

So yeah, we need to look at the issue. :)
posted by daveadams at 11:42 AM on August 1, 2000

[looks over his glasses at dave, then buries his head in his hands.] I need a laughtrack...
posted by ZachsMind at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2000

This guy over here wants to ban guns, that guy wants to ban abortion, and that other guy wants ban tobacco. You're all the same you're all convinced you are right, and should be the one controlling other peoples behavior. I'm surprised all the control freaks pair off so often, since you seem to be cut from the same cloth.
I am so sick of my personal freedoms being thought of as too much for me to handle. I really suspect that anybody who is looking to ban a hunk of metal, is really afraid their own mind is going, and that they themself will freak out and start shooting people. Keep your laws off my body, out of my walet, and out of where ever it is I would keep a gun if I had one.
maybe the answer is to licence everything.
Why don't you believe bestine should be licenced?
Why don't you believe gasoline should be licenced?
Why don't you believe styrafoam should be licenced?
Why don't you believe vasoline should be licenced?
Why don't you believe sterno should be licenced?
These are all deadly things, they can be misused. What everybody really wants is to outlaw stupidity, and since it cannot be done, competent people must be dragged down to the lowest common denominator.
Hel, nobody has ever really convinced me why I need to register for the privilage of driving a car.

Lastly, I am shocked that a PRESIDENT could have a personal flaw, he should be removed from office at once. Soon Straight Edge kids will rule the world!
posted by thirteen at 12:42 PM on August 1, 2000

And just like Heston's Utopia, that too would be a kind of solution.
posted by chicobangs at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2000

In a fit of anger, you can't kill me with vaseline 13. With a gun, however, you could - pretty easily for that matter.

Besides, how do you misuse vaseline? Everything I can think of is pretty wholesome . . .
posted by aladfar at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2000

I need a laughtrack...

Zach, rest assured that I know you weren't serious. Yet it brought that story to mind and I had to post it! You don't really expect me to keep my mouth shut when I see an excellent opportunity for topic drift, do you?

posted by daveadams at 1:26 PM on August 1, 2000

Aladfar: I have a big Sam's Club glass jar of Vaseline. I could
1. hit you in the head with it and crack your skull.
2. hold you down, and force you to eat handful after handful. (I am not sure if this is deadly, I imagine if you swallow it, it could not be healthy)
3. smear a thin sheen of it on the ground, so that you slip, making you easy prey for a bat beating.
4. After killing you with a kitchen knife, I could goop up anything I touched, making it imposible to lift my fingerprints. Endust works as well.
5. I could mix it with the other things on my list and make a decent napalm substitute.
I could go on, but by now I am sure you all can see how dangerous vaseline realy is. Far to dangerous to be accepted in a "free society". I propose a lawsuit against the manufacturer for failing to label such a product as being deadly.BTW, your "brother" over there says that for certain a baby will die unless we ban the thing he disagrees with. Is he crazy or what?
posted by thirteen at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2000

aladfar sez: "But don't you think guns should be licensed?"

Absolutely not. The guns/cars comparison is as illogical as it is popular. Driving has been established as a privelege granted by the state. That privelege can be limited or revoked for numerous reasons. There is no "right to drive."

On the other hand, our founding fathers recognized that all people have an inherent right to defend themselves and their loved ones, from criminal activity as well as from the tyranny of unchecked government.

As toolmaking creatures, our development of weapons to enhance our physical strength is inevitable. "Banning" them is a naive pipe dream. Guns are equalizing personal tools of defense, and it is essential that they remain available to the good guys without governmental pre-qualification.
posted by Tubes at 2:09 PM on August 1, 2000

Almost every country in the world has a 2 digit number of people killed by guns every year. Under 100. Its true, look it up. More than 24,000 Americans will die this year from a gun related death....
posted by Satapher at 3:42 PM on August 1, 2000

Satapher - you are implying a conclusion with insufficient data. How many are accidental? How many are suicides? How many are homicides? How many are caused by family members? How many are caused by paroled felons?

There are few gun-related deaths in Japan, but they live in a virtual police state. China is also relatively safe, as long as you don't irritate the government.

The right to own a gun also comes with awesome responsibility, and our society in recent decades has done little to foster such responsibility. We're a violent and irresponsible society. Guns didn't make us that way, and taking guns away from the law-abiding won't undo the damage.

How about trying to raise the next generation of kids to have a brain and a heart - to use reason, and to value life.
posted by Tubes at 4:16 PM on August 1, 2000

Driving licenses are required in the USA because the government owns the land the roads are built on and can thus require you to do anything it wants you to do for the privilege of driving on its roads. You don't have to have a license to own a car, or even to drive it around your back yard. You just have to have a license to drive it on public roads (or certain private roads as determined by state law, yadda yadda).

By that argument, one could argue that anyone should be able to own a gun, but that firing a gun without a license should be illegal. After all, you have to get permission from the U.S. government to launch a rocket in U.S. airspace... why shouldn't you have to get permission to launch a bullet, which is a very similar sort of ballistic projectile? And then it's quite reasonable to think shopkeepers might want to check your bullet license before selling you ammunition, for fear that they might get in trouble for selling bullets to an unlicensed shooter in the same way they might get in trouble for selling beer to an underage drinker...

posted by Mars Saxman at 4:57 PM on August 1, 2000

My argument is that the government does not own anything. Who's serving who here? The government has no money of it's own, and no power that we do not grant it. I can accept collective will determining that it is safer and easier to licence drivers, but that does not make it morally right.
Mars' thought about public air space is interesting. I would be happy to have a nationwide vote on it. I would be voting against it. I would accept it if my position lost, if I thought it was truly the will of the majority to treat me like a slave. I cannot accept an arbitrary law being imposed by sensitive bullies. I would also support a bill that declared anyone who shot another person with a gun was a rabid animal, and was to be put to death immediately. That probably does not sit well with most of the anti gun people, who seem to have a great love for criminals. You would take our freedoms, but protect those who murder us. That is indecent. The really sick thing is that those who oppose this freedom seem to feel so damn good about themselves.
posted by thirteen at 5:46 PM on August 1, 2000

[ says nothing. ]
posted by baylink at 7:48 PM on August 1, 2000

Come now baylink, I know you wanted to say something! Can't we rehash our old arguments one more time?
posted by aladfar at 9:09 PM on August 1, 2000

Japan a virtual police state? You must be kidding me, Tubes. If you had said Singapore I would have given you the benefit of the doubt, but not Japan.Tubes, are you saying the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to give "all people the inherent right to defend themselves and their loved ones, from criminal activity as well as from the tyranny of unchecked government." Are you sure? I think you have been listening to too much NRA propaganda. Wasn't the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to allow for people to defend themselves from outside invaders? Thus the people of the country are the army and there is no need for a standing army.At least base your argument on a valid point not NRA propaganda.

posted by jay at 9:21 PM on August 1, 2000

Jay - I admit I've not lived in Japan but I understand they don't have the protected civil liberties that we enjoy. I purposely chose them as a milder example than the typical socialist nations.

But if you don't like the Japan example let's pick on England, where draconian gun laws make lawful ownership nearly impossible. From an ILA release: "On Jan. 16, 2000, the London Times published an article about the increase in gun crimes, and bemoaning the fact that there are an estimated three million unregistered guns in the nation. Besides confirming the inescapable fact that criminals don't bother to license their guns, the article stated that fatal shootings in London more than doubled between 1998 and 1999, and overall armed crime rose 10%."

But overall you misread my point - look again you'll see I was not defining the 2nd Amendment. I was talking about the beliefs of the framers of the Constitution regarding gun ownership, as detailed in their own writings.

The 2nd Amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

America had just won their independence from a tyrannical government. By "free state" they mean not only free from outside invasion but free from rampant over-government. This protection from infringement is aimed at our own government. Why bother to specify that we be allowed to defend against outside invaders... ?!? The army you refer to is part of the government; the Bill of Rights is not about protecting the government from itself.

The Bill of Rights is about individuals, not collective policy. Dred Scott v. Sandford was the first of many court decisions confirming the 2nd Amendment as an *individual* right, not some collective right to have an army.

U.S. v. Miller clarified that the entire populace constitutes the "militia," and that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the individual to keep and bear militia type arms.

(If you think about it, there's more constitutional grounds & legal precendent supporting private ownership of military-style weapons than hunting or sporting weapons. The 2nd Amendment is about protection, not sport.)

Senator Larry Craig put it well: "The first right of every human being is the right of self-defense. Without that right, all other rights are meaningless. The right of self-defense is not something the government bestows upon its citizens. It is an inalienable right, older than the Constitution itself. It existed prior to government and prior to the social contract of our Constitution. It is the right that government did not create and therefore it is a right that under our Constitution the government simply cannot take away. The framers of our Constitution understood this clearly. Therefore, they did not merely acknowledge that the right exists. They denied Congress the power to infringe upon that right."

There is ample historical support for the "NRA propaganda" regarding the 2nd Amendment, if you look into it.
posted by Tubes at 11:16 PM on August 1, 2000

I was under the impression that the 2nd Amendment was indeed a measure to prevent the government from acting in a tyrannical way... the Michigan Militia etc. is no different than the American Militia that rebelled against the British government. I mean, come on, people make Sam Adams a hero when he can just as easily, or more easily, be seen as a criminal revolutionary. Having said that, I support gun control 100%, and probably would moreso if I lived in a crime-ridden neighborhood. I don't think a dark street filled with "law-abiding" citezens carrying guns is any safer than the same street with unarmed citezens and one armed convicted criminal. Oh yeah, the whole "shooting guns into the air" thing isnt just a redneck ordeal, it happens in lots of housing projects here. Funny when you're inside, but not when you're waiting at cornerside bus stop :).
posted by kidsplateusa at 11:26 PM on August 1, 2000

Tubes: the British figures have beendiscussed elsewhere. And the "doubling" in gun deaths was from a two-digit number to... another two-digit number. In a city of eight million.

For fuck's sake. "You know what? We feel so much safer here." That, at breakfast, from a couple of American college students on their summer programme in Oxford. Anecdotal, yeah; but isn't that the thing?

If you have a drink problem, it affects your ability to take responsibility for your actions. Hence the "should not operate heavy machinery" thing. Hence the laws against drunk driving. Hence the fact that I wouldn't want to engage in debate with a drunk who's hung up over the supposed "right to keep and bear arms".
posted by holgate at 1:24 AM on August 2, 2000

I go away for a day and this is the mess you kids make...

For the record, I should have been clearer (although, you seem to have been amusing yourselves just fine without my help): I called Heston a drunken, deranged, hateful old man and I believe that he is, but not because of his position on guns or his tenure as NRA president. He's a drunk (self-explanatory, and anyone who thinks a multi-week stay at a dry out bin is a cure for "social drinking" should stop and think for a moment), he's deranged (ever heard him talk about his conspiracy theories of One World Government?) and he's hateful (his homophobic rhetoric goes far beyond mere religious objection, one might think Chuck had unresolved... issues...) - but his views on gun ownership are based on the reality of current consitutional law. Having spent time in Japan, I'm personally for gun control because I believe that more limited access to firearms is a significant contributing factor to the safety of citizens living in cities. However, I recognize what most gun control advocates are unwilling to discuss: it's going to take a constitutional amendment to make that happen in the USA because of the Second Amendment.
posted by m.polo at 5:35 AM on August 2, 2000

AAAaaaugh...! I've done it again, gotten sucked into one of mankind's perpetual arguments. Abortion, guns, & country music - you'll never change anyone's mind about any of them. I expect one day scientists will discover the gene responsible for pro-gun/anti-gun tendencies.
posted by Tubes at 8:14 AM on August 2, 2000

I got a little crazy yesterday, a thing I will blame on the fact that I did not get to eat a thing until 7 in the evening. I guess referring to myself as a slave is a bit excessive.
I am disappointed that no one has comented on my thoughts, that there are few differences between the people who want to ban abortions/anything and those who would ban guns. I am really not familiar with NRA propaganda, but I doubt that they are aligning themselves with the pro-choice movement. I do not understand why people allow such contridiction in their beliefs. The pro-gun people who oppose abortion are just as bad. From my perspective, the slightest disruption of my personal liberty destroys it. I do not own a gun, and I do not have much real interest in having one. I am very suspicious of those who are afraid of me getting one.
I have seen people shooting guns in the air on New Years eve. I called the cops and gave them the address. I laughed my self stupid when the idiot actually shot his house's overhang. This is the same guy who poured his spent oil in the sewer after an oil change. He painted his car with a brush. He is a moron. I should not have to live in a childproof world because some people cannot handle responsibility.
posted by thirteen at 9:01 AM on August 2, 2000

sound of crickets chirping.
posted by thirteen at 9:14 PM on August 2, 2000

If this was Survivor, I would win the million dollars.
posted by thirteen at 2:03 PM on August 3, 2000

Help! I fallen in a well and cannot reach my gun or heart medicine. Help! Anybody! Help!
if someone even half-way attempts to answer the question, I will never post in a gun discussion again. I mean it.
posted by thirteen at 1:06 PM on August 4, 2000

Due to lack of opposition at the time the polls closed, thirteen wins the debate, a triumph for personal liberty! (crowd goes wild)
posted by thirteen at 6:47 PM on August 4, 2000

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