From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:
They call themselves “gun nuts,” in seeming confession of mental instability and of
equating their weapons with manhood. There are 2.8 million of them, down from 3.5 million
as recently as 1995. They’re the National Rifle Association, desperate to reverse a decline
that has cut cash assets from $81 million in 1991 to just $43 million now.
On June 7, in Philadelphia, a setting selected to evoke historic imagery, the 1,600
delegates to the NRA annual convention elected actor Charlton Heston president.
Heston, 73, derives much of his claim to leadership from having played Moses in
the 1956 film The Ten Commandments––a weightier role, to be sure, than former U.S.
President Ronald Reagan’s most famous role, opposite a chimpanzee in Bedtime for Bonzo.
NRA foes chortled as Heston described himself as a moderate. As USA Today editorialists
noted, “Just last December, he likened gun owners to Jews during the Holocaust,
boasted that the Founding Fathers were ‘white guys,’ and said that U.S. President Bill
Clinton’s ‘shock troops…claim it’s time to place homosexual men in tents with Boy Scouts.’
In most worlds, that would count as lurid extremism.”
Political reality, though, is that celebrities attract big bucks, including from corporate
high donors, and without both money and star power, few campaigns succeed.
Thus, also on June 7, in Denver, the American Humane Association board accepted
the May 19 joint resignation of five members, and elected three replacements.
“The change resulted from fundamental differences in defining the role and function
of effective board members,” AHA secretary Robert F.X. Hart explained to staff. “The
majority of our board believe that the board should not be involved in micro-managing operations.
There was also widespread sentiment that board composition should be modified,” to
include “members who can provide us access to celebrities, finances, etc.”
The new AHA board members include actress Shirley Jones, L.A. Cellular vice
president of external affairs Steven C. Crosby, and David Grannis, introduced as “president
of Planning Company Associates, a company which specializes in strategic planning and
implementation to both the public and private sectors.”