Rosie O'Donnell/Tom Selleck Show Transcript
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Kimberly (bel)

Rosie O'Donnell Show
May 19, 1999

Rosie: We’re here with Tom Selleck who’s a member of the NRA. Three months ago you joined the NRA.

Tom: I did. I actually joined to do an ad. Because, I’ve done a lot of consensus work for like the last 7 to 8 years and what disturbs me and I think disturbs a lot of Americans is the whole idea of politics now-a-days which seems to be, “if you disagree with me, you must be evil” as opposed to “if you disagree with me, you must be stupid”. That’s very American. You know, the demonizing of a group like the NRA is very disturbing. And that
coupled with the idea that the government is getting into the idea of suing. We did it for noble reasons with tobacco. I think it was a mistake. Then they moved to gun makers, now they’re suing television shows. Oliver Stone there’s a suit on his movie. I think the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and all of the Bill of Rights are extremely important. And somebody needs to stand up at times where...maybe some of our politicians are demagogue-ing issues. Reasonable people should disagree in this country; we should celebrate that, not consider it a threat.

Rosie: Right, but I think that the reason that people are so extreme against the NRA is because the NRA has such a militant strength, especially a power in Washington to veto or to stronghold any sensible gun law. They have been against every sensible gun law, until yesterday, including trigger locks, so that children, which there are 500 a year that die, don’t get killed.

Tom: I’m not a spokesman for the NRA. In fact, all I can tell you is, I was a member when I was kid. I was a junior NRA member. I learned firearm safety. And from what I can see in the last three months, they don’t do a lot of the stuff that you assume that they do.

Rosie: I don’t assume.

Tom: They are for trigger locks. The NRA is for a lot of things as long as they’re voluntary.

Rosie: They’re against the registering of guns. We have to register cars. Why shouldn’t we register guns so that when a crime is committed we can trace who has owned it?

Tom: You know, I understand how you feel. This is a really contentious issue. Probably as contentious, and potentially as troubling as the abortion issue in this country. All I can tell you is, rushes to pass legislation at a time of national crisis or mourning, I don’t really think are proper. And more importantly, nothing in any of this legislation would have done anything to prevent that awful tragedy in Littleton. What I see in the work I’ve done
with kids is, is troubling direction in our culture. And where I see consensus, which is I think we ought to concentrate on in our culture is...look...nobody argues anymore whether they’re Conservatives or Liberal whether our society is going in the wrong direction. They may argue trying to quantify how far it’s gone wrong or why it’s gone that far wrong, whether it’s guns, or television, or the Internet, or whatever. But there’s consensus saying that something’s happened. Guns were much more accessible 40 years ago. A kid could walk into a pawn shop or a hardware store and buy a high
capacity magazine weapon that could kill a lot of people and they didn’t do it. The question we should be asking is...look...suicide is a tragedy. And it’s a horrible thing. But 30 or 40 years ago, particularly men, and even young men, when they were suicidal, they went, and unfortunately, blew their brains out. In today’s world, someone who is suicidal sits home, nurses their grievance, develops a rage, and is just a suicidal but they take 20 people with them. There’s something changed in our culture. That’s not a simple...

Rosie: But you can’t say that guns don’t bear a responsibility. If the makers of the TEC-9 assault rifle... Why wouldn’t the NRA be against assault rifles? This is a gun that can shoot five bullets in a second. This is the gun that those boys brought into the school. Why the NRA wouldn’t say as a matter of compromise, “we agree, assault weapons are not good”?

Tom: I’m not...I can’t speak for the NRA.

Rosie: But you’re their spokesperson Tom, so you have to be responsible for what they say.

Tom: But I’m not a spokesperson. I’m not a spokesperson for the NRA.

Rosie: But if you put your name out and say, “I, Tom Selleck...

Tom: (Visibly upset) Don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not a spokesperson. Remember how calm you said you’d be? Now you’re questioning my humanity.

Rosie: No, not your humanity. I think you’re a very humane man. I’m saying that if you...

Tom: Let’s just say that I disagree with you but I think you’re being stupid.

Rosie: But you can’t say that I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA represents if you’re saying that you’re going to do an ad for the NRA.

Tom: Really?

Rosie: You can’t say that. Do you think you can?

Tom:’re carefully skirting the issue. It’s an act of moral vanity, Rosie, to assume that someone who disagrees with your political agenda to solve our problems, cares any less or is any less shocked...

Rosie: I never said you cared less.

Tom: Well, let me finish...

Rosie: Tom, I don’t think you cared less. Nor do I think the men in the NRA cared less.

Tom: The women too.

Rosie: And the women. I simply said, why can there not be a compromise on the

Tom: There IS a compromise! There’s a compromise in enforcing laws. There’s a compromise with not allowing kids with guns in school. The problem is, and what you don’t seem to seem to have some sort of...look, we all hang out with people we agree with. And you have a one very one-sided view of the fact of what you don’t understand...

Rosie: (Cutting in) As does the NRA and the people you hang out with at the NRA have a one-sided view as well.

Tom: I don’t hang out with people of the NRA...

Rosie: OK, well, you’re saying that I hang out with people with my views. I’m just saying...

Tom: I said people tend to...

Rosie: (Cutting in) We all tend to. The NRA does and the un-NRA does.

Tom: You know, this is a nice one-sided conversation but you keep interrupting me. Remember how civil you said we were going to be? Rosie: I let you talk for four minutes without saying one thing! (Medium audience applause.) I did. I didn’t say one thing! I simply asked a question on what their philosophies are. And you don’t want to...

Tom: I told you...look, when do you want to get to television and violence...

Rosie: (Raising her right hand) I agree! I agree.

Tom: ...and game shows...

Rosie: Game shows?

Tom: ...and how do you reconcile...

Rosie: You mean video games? I agree!

Tom: (Visibly upset, trying to make Rosie be quiet) Please let me finish! (Audience chuckles.) Let me say just one thing. What you’re really talking least what I’m talking are we a responsible enough society, in terms of television, in terms of guns, in terms of everything else, to be this free? That should frame the debate. My answer unfortunately, in this culture, is “probably not”. But I’m going to down with the Civil
Liberties ship, and all the Bill of Rights, and apply them equally. That’s the way I feel. You can ask me specific questions about anything, but it’s simply stupid political rhetoric.

Rosie: Well, it’s not stupid political rhetoric. We also have freedom of speech, but you’re not allowed to scream “fire” in a crowded movie theater because it threatens the safety of other people.

Tom: I understand.

Rosie: Assault weapons threaten the safety of other people. There’s no reason, in my opinion, to have them. You want to have a hunting rifle? Great! You want to have a handgun? (She holds her hand up and nods her head as if to say, “great”.)

Tom: Do you really think the Second Amendment to the Constitution to guarantee hunting and target shooting? Do you really think that’s what the Founding Fathers meant?

Rosie: I think the Second Amendment is in the Constitution so that we can have muskets when the British people come over in 1800. I don’t think it’s in the Constitution to have assault weapons in the year 2000. But I’m wrong? I guess...

Tom: (Remains silent, is a bit frustrated, and simply nods his head, yes)

Rosie: You know, this is the problem. Here’s what happens. The people with opposing views, there is no compromise because, you feel attacked, I feel attacked. You feel less understood...

Tom: (Calmly) I haven’t attacked you. I’ve disagreed with you.

Rosie: And I’ve disagreed with you as well. But mine comes in the form of attacking because...

Tom: I haven’t mentioned assault weapons once. I haven’t mentioned a lot of things once. The nature of this debate... I didn’t come on your show to have a debate. I came on your show to plug a movie. That’s what’s I’m doing here.

Rosie: And that’s what we did.

Tom: If you think it’s proper to have a debate about the NRA, I’m trying to be fair with you.

Rose: As I am trying to...

Tom: But this is absurd. You’re calling me a spokesman for the NRA.

Rosie: Tom, if you are a celebrity and you’re doing an ad that says, “I am the NRA”, then what should have been...

Tom: Have you read the ads?

Rosie: I have read the ads.

Tom: Good.

Rosie: Did YOU read the ads?

Tom: I said them. I read them when I said them.

Rosie: Well, I do too. Well, this is not supposed to be a personal...

Tom: Well it’s certainly very entertaining, look at the audience, they’re just laughing and having a great old time.

Rosie: Well it’s a serious subject. I don’t think it’s a lot to laugh about.

Tom: (Frustrated) Well, that’s fine.

Rosie: Alright, well, this has not gone the way I had hoped it had gone. But, I would like to thank you for appearing anyway, knowing that we have differing views. I was happy that you decided to come on the show. And if you feel insulted by my questions, I apologize, because it was not a personal attack. I was meant to bring up the subject as it is in the consciousness of so many today. That was my intent. And if it was wrong, I apologize to you, on a personal level.

Tom: (Frustrated, Tom speaks quietly) It’s your show and you can talk about it after I leave too.

Rosie: Well, I thought I would give you an opportunity to discuss your side of it. Which is what I hope that I did. And if I was wrong I’m sorry.

Tom: (Tom smiles and makes a facial expression with body language as if to say, “Yea, right.”)

Rosie: Well, obviously, it didn’t do much good.

NOTE:  Rosie has a really bizarre interpretation of the Second Amendment. Did you
see that? So when is K-Mart going to remove that idiot as it's spokesman?

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