As president of the National Rifle Association, actor Charlton Heston was fond of stating that the only way gun-control advocates would take away his weapons would be "from my cold, dead hands."
Heston died a week ago, and even if he happened to be clutching a gun in his death grip, I have no desire to remove it.
It's the gang members, mentally disturbed loners, hotheaded drivers, campus crazies, druggies, alcoholics and suicidal losers who are packing heat that I'm worried about.
I'm all for hunters having the firearms they need, and I suppose it's not unreasonable for a person to have a gun to protect family, property and self.
That said, Heston died with a lot of innocent blood on those cold, dead hands.
He and his buddies at the NRA are to a great extent responsible for the staggering daily misery and heartbreak caused by the out-of-control gun culture in this country.
Their powerful lobbying against restrictions on such items as assault rifles and cop-killer bullets is a big reason why the United States leads the industrialized world each year in shooting victims.
I was thinking about all that when I heard that Heston, 84, had died after suffering for years with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The thing is, the guy was a hell of an actor and a courageous civil rights advocate in the 1960s. But over the years, I've had a hard time re-watching any of his movies because I hated his far-right politics.
It was my loss. The guy was fantastic in "The Ten Commandments," "Ben-Hur" (for which he won his Oscar), "Midway" and "Planet of the Apes," just to mention a few of his starring roles.
It isn't easy these days to differentiate between an actor's job and the real person when there is so much political activism among celebrities _ not to mention that their every misstep seems to be captured by somebody with a camera or cell phone.