On Charlton Heston, Clint Eastwood, Donald Trump, Bret Stephens, Lady Liberty, and more – National Review

A couple of nights ago, I was watching University Challenge, the British quiz show. (There is little I like to do more.) Jeremy Paxman was putting a question to the team from Trinity College, Oxford. The question related to America.

“In 2000, which Oscar-winning actor and NRA president taunted opposing organizations with his declaration that they could have his gun when they prized it, quote, ‘from my cold dead hands’?”

The Trinity-Oxford kids guessed Clint Eastwood. Paxo made a face and guffawed, “He’d be mortified. No, it’s Charlton Heston.”

This took me aback. Would Eastwood really be mortified? Mortified to be associated with the NRA? This well-known conservative, this (surprise) speaker at the 2012 Republican convention? I had always thought Heston and Eastwood similar in their politics.

I did some Googling around — and found that both sides, pro-gun and anti-gun, like to claim Clint. He has indeed supported certain gun-control measures, saying, for example, “I think it’s very important that guns don’t get into the wrong hands.”

Who could disagree? (Not many.)

Eastwood has also quipped, “I have a very strict gun-control policy: If there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it.”

I’m reminded of what Alan Simpson, the former senator from Wyoming, said: “Where I come from, gun control means steady aim.”

On at least one occasion, Clint Eastwood told a story. A cop pulls a woman over for a traffic violation. She has a concealed-weapons permit. She has one gun in the glove compartment, another gun under a seat, and still another in her purse. And lots of ammo.

The cop says, “Good God, woman, what are you afraid of?” The woman smiles and says, “Nothing.”

What Eastwood says is: This is how I feel about guns.

Anyway, an interesting man, commonsensical, it

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