Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 444, November 18, 2007

"November 19th is National Ammo Day,
described as a BUYcott of ammunition."

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The River Rubicon
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Seven years ago—although thanks to the horrors of George Bush's reign of state terrorism it seems vastly longer than that—the Waco Willy Clinton administration, ever fearful that Americans might be equipped for and capable of defending themselves from its predations, served up a list of 83,000 human sacrifices on the altar of victim disarmament.

"Victim disarmament" is the accurate term for "gun control", as its principal purpose and effect is to render the act of self-defense impossible. Its visible effect on gun-grabbers in public debate is soul-satisfying.

Those 83,000 names belonged to military veterans suffering from disabilities like "post-traumatic stress disorder", a phenomenon as old as war itself—it's been called many different things: "shell shock", "combat fatigue"—but which genuine science (as opposed to the primitive religion known as "psychology") knows very little about. The names were added to the National Criminal Information System (NCIS) presumably so they would be red-flagged by a Brady background check and their owners could thereby be deprived, for highly dubious pseudomedical reasons, of their Constitutional right to buy or own firearms.

Any actual psychopathology here was purely on the part of Clinton and his evil minions. This was their way of displaying gratitude to the men and women who had served them (never mind the advisability of the cause) by laying their lives on the line—something that Clinton himself, along with the current coop of Republican chicken-hawks, have consistently demonstrated that they feel they are too good to do themselves.

Now the Clinton administration's illegal, irrational, and utterly inexcusable mistreatment of veterans has been added to and extended, thanks to a foul political carrion-eater in the United States Congress by the name of Carolyn McCarthy, a New York Democrat who has extracted her entire public career from the bleeding wounds of her murdered ex-husband, famously shot down by a black racist on the Long Island Railway.

For which all of us, of course, are to be punished.

McCarthy's latest contribution to abusing the helpless victims of violent crime (victim disarmament would appear to be the woman's principal political focus) is House Resolution 2640, which opens the medical records of millions of veterans to the kind of pseudomedical scrutiny that can instantly deprive innocent individuals of their Constitutional rights, solely on the word of some random anti-gun quack.

That's what I said. There isn't any way to say it more politely, nor to accurately describe a loathesome specimen like McCarthy, whose bloodthirsty opportunism and contemptuous disregard for the highest law of the land—the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights—is simultaneously pathetic and nauseating.

Shockingly, disgustingly, this mental and moral miscarriage has actually been passed into law—on an uncounted voice vote—by the House of Representatives last June 13. It is now up for consideration by the Senate, sponsored by another of victim disarmament's usual suspects, Patrick Leahy, with the cheerful encouragement of Charles Schumer, the necrotic heart and soul of the lunatic notion that the most effective strategy for protecting people is to deprive them—at government gunpoint, if necessary—of their best means of defending themselves

If it passes in the Senate, it means that millions of individuals with the inclination to possess personal weapons (and in this case, government training to employ them effectively, which makes them ten times as scary to the gungrabbers) will be deprived of their defense against a runaway state. Interestingly, like nearly all such victim disarmament schemes, this latest persecution is being carried out at the behest of those very politicians who most clearly dream droolingly about taxing and regulating the American Productive Class right out of existence.

Of course none of this is particularly new.

In fact, it's downright ancient.

By some accounts, the Roman Empire lasted for about 22 centuries, from the founding of the city in 753 B.C. (it began as a republic in 509 and that went on until 31—nearly four centuries longer than the American republic lasted) to the fall of Constaninople to the Turks in 1453 A.D. The American Empire hasn't quite hung on for a tenth of that time, from 1776—the 1860 fall of Fort Sumter marks the end of our republic—to the present, and already, clearly, it's beginning to disintegrate.

Of course that doesn't mean that the American Empire won't struggle to survive, and destroy a great many innocent lives in the process.

Whenever an empire sends massive numbers of its legionnaires to foreign countries to extend its holdings, whether it be to Thrace, Palestine, Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, it's always a dangerous, history-altering risk to bring them back home again. What may have begun as a colorful, musical, flag-waving exercise of patriotism can end all too soon in disillusioned cynicism if a war doesn't go well, or troops feel themselves "knifed in the back" by the politicians at home.

Consider the infamous "Bonus Army" of 1932: World War I veterans who had been promised an infusion of extra cash sometime in 1945—when bonds they held matured—but who suddenly found themselves in a Depression, needed the money now, and hopped freights and marched on Washington, only to be violently set on and burned out by the regular Army under the command of Douglas McArthur, with the help of George S. Patton, on the orders of President Herbert Hoover. Several former soldiers and a number of civilians (including kids) were injured or killed.

Or think about what happened after the close of World War II, when black G.I.s returned from combat in Europe and the Pacific, unwilling to suffer any more from racist persecution on the part of the white establishment.

After the War between the States, America had the west to pour both Confederate and Yankee veterans—potential troublemakers—into. Rome protected itself from this kind of thing (the government's primary fear in those days was of ambitious proconsuls, or territorial governors, with delusions of dictatorship) with a stringent rule against bringing an armed and organized force back from the provinces—until Julius Caesar broke that rule by crossing the Rubicon River, the border between Roman territory and his turf in provincial Gaul—bringing his army home intact in 49 B.C. Rome would never be the same again.

For the most part, Rome was accustomed to paying off each of its former soldiers with land and whatever they needed to farm it. America bestows upon its obsolete heroes—who, increasingly, have had to resort to welfare and food stamps just to feed their families during their enlistment—mysterious diseases, homelessness, and despair. Today, it's claimed that about one homeless man in four is a military veteran.

And now the American Empire will be the first—as far as I know—to try to have its no longer useful warriors relieved of their weapons by the pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo of what amounts to little more than a cult of shamans. How well that will work remains to be seen.

I'm willing to bet it was a military man who first said that no good deed—in this case defending your country—goes unpunished. One thing is absolutely certain: this time it is the politicians—imperialistic, criminal would-be conquerors like McCarthy, Leahy, and Schumer—and not the empire's soldiers, who have crossed the River Rubicon.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at, or at

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