Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 462, March 30, 2008

"They still allow you to protest"

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A Ring of Truth
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

You may have heard, recently, of a woman, undergoing security procedures at one of this once-free nation's airport gulags, who was forced by Transportation Safety Administration goons to remove a pair of decorative metal rings from her nipples with pliers, even though the jewelry demonstrably posed no threat to anybody -- and she was reportedly willing to show them to appropriate female security personnal.

There was no reason for this treatment. It's the kind of routine violation and harrassment members of America's Productive Class have been increasingly subjected to by otherwise unemployable minimum wage thugs.

It is, of course, only the latest in what the Founding Fathers would have called "a long chain of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evincing a design to reduce them (meaning us) under absolute despotism." Of course that's from the Declaration of Independence, and if you're not the big fan of Thomas Jefferson's beautiful and elegant prose that I am, it means that TSA's mission is not safety, but to grind us down and make compliant slaves of all of us.

I say enough is enough.

Anyone with three gray cells floating in their skulls understands perfectly that armed citizens could have stopped the 9/11 hijackings easily, that the crimes were enabled by unconstitutional gun laws, and that we're living on dumb luck: it's now more dangerous to fly than ever. Forcing women to tear off their nipple rings with pliers only makes the situation worse, betraying the unbelievable lunacy -- and power hungry depravity -- of those who falsely claim to be protecting us.

Jefferson also made some remarks about altering or abolishing such despotism, throwing it off, and providing "new guards" for our future security.

Understand from the very beginning that, even if TSA were sincere about protecting airline passengers from terrorist nipple rings and similar dire threats, they would still be an abject failure. The simple, inescapable fact is that self-defense is an individual bodily function -- like eating, sleeping, making love, or going to the bathroom -- that cannot be delegated to anybody else. Every attempt to evade or override that fact invariably winds up in tragedy. Sometimes the tragedy is of monstrous proportions, as it was on September 11, 2001.

That's a very important concept, so I'm going to state it again: self-defense is an individual bodily function that cannot be delegated. The very notion is absurd. Every attempt to do so ends in tragedy.

"What's the alternative?", I pretend to hear you ask. Well to begin with, for the sake of preventing any further violations of the rights and dignity of individuals -- and to avoid any more tragedies like 9/11 -- the TSA must be abolished, and for some reasonable interval, its budget diverted to compensate its many thousands of victims.

Before they are entirely released from service, each TSA employee must be individually investigated, scrutinized, charged, and tried for his or her crimes against the Constitution for which the excuse -- exactly as it was established at the Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II -- that "I was just following orders" will not be acceptable.

Under the terms clearly mandated by the Fourteenth Amendment, no former TSA employee will ever be employable at any level of government again (no government pensions should be payable to any of these people), nor will he or she be permitted to run for or to hold public office. Moreover, because many of their crimes closely resemble (or actually are) sexual offenses, the residences of former TSA employees, in any neighborhood, will be a matter of public record, and whenever they move, their new addresses will be duly reported to their new neighbors.

Furthermore, anyone who ever referred to the infamous "No-Fly List" to deprive Americans of their right to travel, or who helped to compile that list, will be subject to exactly the same sanctions as former TSA employees. Substantial rewards will be offered to those willing to turn fellow government or corporate employees over to the law.

The ownership or use of weapons-detecting technology by any agency or employee or government at any level, or by any corporation, or by its corporate personnel, will be treated as an equivalent to felonious assault. Aside from the presence of unobtrusive, totally transparent "bomb-sniffing" devices, no searches of passengers or their belongings (including the use of X-rays, multispectral cameras, or any similar mechanism) will be permitted at America's airports by anyone, ever again.

Only two kinds of security "measures" will be allowed:

(1) Armed professional peacekeepers (who will not be permitted to enforce drug laws, or do anything but act in an onboard emergency); and

(2) armed individuals who are willing to declare themselves to the airline, and will receive generous discounts on the prices of their tickets, provided they are willing to carry ammunition -- supplied by the airline in several different calibers -- that will not damage the aircraft.

There may be points here that you disagree with, but if we quibble over details, the proposal will lose its force. We will go on being treated like slaves at the airport by subhuman scum whose masters have expressed gleeful willingness to have a hijacked airliner shot down by fighters, rather than allow passengers to carry weapons. Some scholars believe that's what really happened to United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, after which the government lied about the heroism of its doomed passengers.

The alternative it to be treated with dignity and respect like free individuals. If you like the general idea, talk it up, pass this article along, make the enemies of freedom as uncomfortable as you can. If it seems like too much work, remember those genuine heroes who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to establish our rights.

Can you do any less?

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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