Opinion: Liam Neeson is firing blanks


Neeson told reporters recently, “There are too many [bleeping] guns out there, especially in America,” while promoting his new film Taken 3.

Advocacy is a tricky thing–what can endear you to one faction will almost surely alienate you from another.

Such are the reasons that, for all their talents at networking and promoting themselves, celebrities so often prove adept at losing large segments of their fan base after making cases for or against particular causes. Vanessa Redgrave nixed many a starring role with her “Zionist Hoodlums” Oscar speech; Sinead O’Connor effectively immolated her career by tearing up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live.

I’m aware that these incidents go back a few years, but Liam Neeson has courteously provided us a more timely example.

Asked recently to comment about the terror attacks in Paris, Liam (the geographer) said, “There are too many [bleeping] guns out there, especially in America.”  A most curious observation for the actor to make while promoting Taken 3, a film populated with all manner of firepower.

There is no question that Liam Neeson is a charismatic star who’s proven himself equally credible in vulnerable or macho roles. But it is in the role of “Neeson, the interviewee” that his talent fails him and his glib ad lib begs an obvious question: Why would someone who finds Americans’ subsidies of firearms so distasteful choose to repeatedly appear in a series whose protagonist’s primary means of conflict resolution revolves around ballistic interfacing?

Look–I don’t expect Liam to actually possess any of that integrity so embodied in the characters he portray.  But wouldn’t it be nice if he did?

It’s not as though it’s without precedent. Charlton Heston may not have achieved the miraculous heights of Moses, but he acquitted himself well as a man who acted in comport with his conscience, accepting roles he felt comfortable essaying and making very public and principled stands on matters he supported, such as participating in civil rights marches and advocating for the NRA.

But really, it isn’t that Neeson falls short in comparison to Heston that bothers me. It’s his blatant hypocrisy.

Thus it is that I won’t be contributing a box office dime towards seeing Taken 34, or anything else that features him at the helm (and if I really feel compelled to see something that he’s in – even the atheist in me is praying he doesn’t pop up in the Star Wars franchise again – I think I’ll pay for the Transformers flick screening in the next room and sneak in).

Perhaps what I find most disturbing is that Neeson, with his knowledge and exposure to firearms, can still make such an asinine statement. True, he’s entrenched within the Hollywood fold, and Stockholm syndrome takes many forms, but it’s not as though he hasn’t been responsibly mentored in firearms usage by professionals. Why would he choose to dishonor them and their livelihood by spewing such crap?

I dunno.

What I do know is that I grow increasingly incensed with celebrities doing what they can to undermine rights guaranteed to Americans by our Constitution and while still taking home a paycheck. While some of these threats to our rights are in nascent forms others have come to fruition, and all have stemmed from a cultural zeitgeist that demonizes firearms on a variety of fronts.  And celebrity “pet causes” aimed at eroding these rights throw gas on the fire.

But it’s Mr. Neeson that finds us here today and, to him, in response to his views on gun ownership in these United States, I have to ask if in his infinite wisdom the actor has ever truly considered the relative threat posed by firearms in US, with a population conservatively placed at 300 million individuals? Has he familiarized himself with their deterrent value when it comes to crime?  Has he been privy to stories of children and grandparents who have successfully fended off home invaders?  At least one would think, with his penchant for transatlantic comparisons, he may have noticed the higher domestic crime rates in European countries that have effectively disarmed themselves.

His conclusions suggests he has not.

When it comes to undermining others, turnabout is fair play, and just as single drops of water can, in the aggregate, build a stalagmite, constitute a sea, or serve as a viable torture alternative to rap music, so too can the steady accretion of singular efforts add up over time.

Already some are stepping up to Neeson’s implicit challenge to do the right thing. Para USA, the supplier of firearms for “Taken 3” has taken its own principled stand, publicly announcing that they “will no longer provide firearms for use in films starring Liam Neeson.” I hope others will follow Para USA’s example and that similar deprivations will find Hollywood and its minions singing a different tune in due time.

Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge a debt to Neeson beyond the impetus for this blog. The actor’s legendary endowment has cured me of any penis envy. I sure as hell wouldn’t want his.

Not if it drains that much blood from the brain.

The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.

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