While Norman Leared

by L. Neil Smith

Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Professor John Lott wrote a book a few years ago, called More Guns, Less Crime, in which he said things — the mere title was enough — that still have the victim disarmament crowd screaming and weeping. Today, after horrifying attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we can now safely observe that no guns mean the ultimate crime.

When I started writing my first novel, The Probability Broach, in 1977, I was just back from a national Libertarian Party convention where I was almost laughed off the platform committee I was a member of, because I introduced a plank warning that airport security — featuring metal detectors, X-ray machines, and Air Marshalls — which was a relatively new thing back then, represented the seeds of a police state. Each year that’s passed since then has only proven that I was right. I now rest my case — although I’m not promising to shut up.

One of the features of The Probability Broach that was fun to write, and just as significant as my prediction, in the same book, of the Internet as we now know it, was a scene in which the hero, a cop from our world, boards an aircraft with his friends and is startled when representatives of the company merely want him to demonstrate that the ammunition in the guns he carries is designed not to harm the aircraft.

I confess that I got this idea, way back then, from an episode of All in the Family in which Archie Bunker proposes arming airline passengers to prevent hijackings. Norman Lear obviously thought the notion represented the very height of right-wing absurdity. But somebody tell me — now — how an aircraft full of well-armed people could be hijacked and used against civilization the way five were today.

I’m not the only one who’s thought of this. I have messages from others, including my good friend Tom Knapp, who would agree with me that everyone who died today, or was injured, in any of these attacks was, first and foremost, a victim of Thomas Dodd, Howard Metzenbaum, Pete Shields, Sarah Brady, Charles Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Diana DeGette, and anybody else who ever strove to disarm victims of crime — not to forget Norman Lear himself who’s spent most of his overly long life ridiculing everything that made this culture prosperous and safe.

And a special thought has to go out to the Manchurian Candidate himself, gungrabbing Senator John McCain, whose blabbery about this event is being broadcast everywhere by the whorish media who adore him so.

However it’s also important to thank Wayne LaPierre and all other so-called Second Amendment leaders who’ve cozied up to the anti-gun crowd. Moreover, H.L. Richardson presently doing his best to wreck Gun Owners of America, had better quit trying to imitate LaPierre right now, and start holding the line again. With the Internet nipping at his heels, he’ll achieve nothing he values in trying to suck up to the Republicans.

An armed society — a society consisting of armed individuals — is not immune to terrorism. No truly open society can be. But today’s acts would simply have been impossible to carry out successfully. What’s more, today’s events turn one’s mind to thoughts of Vin Suprynowicz who, more than any other pro-freedom writer, has been concerned with restoring the individual’s right to reallylarge weapons.

Suppose the terrorists had stolen empty planes, sidestepping the threat represented by armed passengers. The giant World Trade Center buildings have been the target of terrorists before — conspicuous, juicy targets. And yet seven decades of wholly illegal gun laws prevented their owners or tenants from placing anti-aircraft guns or rockets, or Gatling guns made to shoot down cruise missiles, on their roofs.

More proof that gun control kills.

Sooner or later, all of this will run its course and we’ll find ourselves on the other side of these events, looking back. Almost everyone I’m listening to agrees that things will never be the same in America.

That can happen, of course, in either of two ways. Unlike other countries — pre-World War II Germany, for example — people trusted the government. When things like this happened and the state turned the tap handle on their liberty, they believed it only had their best interests at heart. Today, thanks to terrible events from the Kennedy assassination to Waco, you’d be pressed to find a four-year-old who does.

America would never be the same if this event inspired us to make the 21st century the century of the Bill of Rights. There are many — I just saw a pessimistic message from Jerry Pournelle that the US will now become an empire forever — who consider that impossible. But we advocates of liberty have a powerful argument to make about how Bill of Rights enforcement could have prevented this evil, deliberate disaster.

It’s time to make that argument, as loudly and as widely as we can.


Reprinted from The Libertarian Enterprise for Number 139, September 17, 2001

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