L. Neil Smith's

Number 8, May 1996

Unintended Consequences by John Ross

A Book Review By Francis A. Ney, Jr.

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         "A friend in law enforcement told me that because of this book's content, I should not let it be published under my own name. Violent events happen in this story, and our country's current situation is such that these events could indeed come to pass. My friend's fear was that this book might precipitate such violence. He told me to expect to have drugs planted in my car during routine traffic stops, or have other similar miseries befall me and my family. He advised that if I did have this work published, I should use a pseudonym, employ an intermediary for all publisher contact, and in general prevent myself from being linked to the finished work, to avoid reprisals."
         John Ross' friend is quite correct: Unintended Consequences is a dangerous book. Dangerous, that is, to those statists who believe that everyone should be subjugated to the nanny state with themselves as chief nanny. As Tim Mullin (Training the Gunfighter) put it, "To the people at Handgun Control, Inc., this book will seem like a nightmare penned by Stephen King!" I quite agree. One can hope that certain others will suffer troubled slumber as well.
         Through the eyes of a number of fictional and historical characters, Unintended Consequences traces the history of modern-day gun control beginning with a 1906 record-breaking marksmanship exhibition, through two world wars to the present day. The reader meets legends like Ad and Plinky Topperwein, Matt and John Browning, and General Smedley Butler, USMC. The reader also meets less savory characters, most of whom carry federal badges. During this 560 page history lesson, the reader is treated to the pyrric victories of the gun banners, starting with the Bonus Army and the Warsaw Ghetto and ending with the attacks at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
         Then the fun starts.
         A primary protagonist catches the BATF red-handed in an attempt to frame several gun dealers in criminal acts much worse than selling firearms. During interrogation, the surviving BATF agent reveals the extent of the conspiracy, and a small band of intelligent, well-to-do, and well-heeled gun dealers decide that enough is enough. The next 300 pages detail the very low-key and decentralized civil war that results.
         John Ross has done his homework, and done it well. The historical detail is as accurate as I have ever seen. The only thing I can fault him on is the 'magnetic strip' in our US currency: there is no such animal, the strip is plastic. The 'present day' section rings so true that at times it is frightening. I stayed up past 3am last night finishing this book, but I'm not going to reveal the ending. This novel is an enjoyable ride. However, I recommend that it not be read while in a state of acute paranoia, neither I nor the author will be responsible for the results. I do recommend that you send a case of your favorite heartburn medication to the government dweeb of your choice: they'll need it. The intent of the author was to do for gun control what Uncle Tom's Cabin did for slavery. He has succeeded, if only we can get them to read.

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Frank is a freelance computer consultant and professional gadfly. His main hobbies are guns, computers, ham radio and libertarian politics. He lives in West Virginia, along with his SO of eight years, a number of horses, an aging wolfdog and a cat that thinks he has 6 legs. He occasionally entertains antlered rats (aka whitetail deer) foxes, turkeys, woodpeckers and pheasant just because they show up for the free food. When he can he volunteers with the local fire department as an EMT.

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