And so film legend and freedom lover Charlton Heston has left us, at age 84. There are already hundreds of obituaries and tributes, with many more surely to follow. For now, I’ll merely quote from the statement of National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre:
America has lost a great patriot. The Second Amendment has lost a faithful friend…And so has every American who cares about the Bill of Rights, individual liberty, and Freedom. My heart is heavy, but not without a sense of pride. Pride in a man who devoted his life to his profession with grace and dignity. Pride in an American who devoted himself to civil rights, to correcting injustices around him, and to standing up for what he knew was right.
Heston, of course, was known not just for his activism in support of gun rights, but of for civil rights for all Americans (as LaPierre alludes to), having marched in protests with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. To some, this made him a “paradox,” though I can’t think of anything further from the truth. A belief in personal freedom and the equality of all people before the law are twin foundations of the American idea. Heston understood and believed in both. Here’s to keeping that understanding alive.