Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 602, January 9, 2011

"The right to buy weapons is the right to be free."
—A.E. van Vogt (1951)

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The Curious Case of the Walking M-16s
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

In any country with free and conscientious news media, this story would generate eight-inch newspaper headlines and TV interrupted for bulletins. In the United States of Socialist America, the result is silence.

If the United Nations and the Federal Communications Commission had their way, you wouldn't be reading this account, but only what they allowed you to see and hear. Aspiring fascist dictator Janet Napolitano would have me arrested in a midnight raid as a "domestic extremist" for writing this, and you for reading it. If it were up to Governor Jay Rockefeller, the Internet itself would never have been invented.

Barack Obama would have your ISP tattooed on your forearm. You will pardon these preliminaries, I trust, if I add that what you're about to learn makes the event called "Watergate" seem like small potatoes. It shows one government agency in particular, and government in general to be just what we have always said they are. It demonstrates in the clearest way possible that Robert LeFevre was right when he said "Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure."

The story itself is relatively simple.

There is a shooting war going on right now, along the border between the United States and Mexico, involving rival organizations, referred to as cartels (a term once applied to oil conglomerates), struggling for control over the illegal traffic in drugs. Various factions of the Mexican government have their part in it, and, peripherally, so does the American federal government, as well as those of various border states. Just in the past couple of years, thousands of individuals, innocent and otherwise, have been murdered in this war, including American citizens standing on their own property.

None of this would be happening if there were no drug laws and the substances in question were allowed to drop to their natural market prices. Nor does it have anything to do with the issue of immigration, legal or illegal, with which it is being deliberately, if erroneously, conflated.

Just as immigration opponents are cynically trying to use this war to push their propaganda, so the advocates of victim disarmament have been trying to use it to impose more and harsher laws against free exercise of the unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right of every man, woman, and responsible child to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon—rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything—any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission. The Obama Administration and its vile Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—criminal architects of the Waco Massacre—have been particularly guilty in this connection. Broadcast far and wide by the whorish mass media, their claim—as ridiculous as it is on its face—is that American gun dealers are supplying the Mexican drug cartels with the weapons they are using to fight the war on the border.

It's a win-win scenario—for fascism.

Their idea, of course, is to generate something resembling a justification for further restricting the freedom to and buy and sell weapons. The trouble, as usual, is that the facts don't support their lies.

The vast majority of weapons involved are items no American gun dealer is allowed to carry: fully automatic rifles like the AK-47, rocket propelled grenades, and similar hardware. Until recently, better-informed observers were of the opinion that most of this war machinery was coming from corrupt arsenal personnel in the Mexican Army.

That may still be the case, for the most part.

We now know, however, that the flow of weapons to the south is indeed, in part, coming from within the United States, not from dealers or their civilian customers, but specifically from the BATFE, which has been caught "walking" weapons—recently five hundred semiautomatic AR-15 rifles—across the border into Mexico in order to "boost" the statistics they have been using to try to limit our rights.

Five hundred items the media can call "machineguns" or "assault rifles". Five hundred civilian-legal weapons to "prove" their lying claims.

Let me repeat that for our slower readers in Keene, New Hampshire: the BATFE is smuggling semiautomatic weapons into Mexico to support their claim that the drug cartels are being equipped by American gun dealers.

One more time: the Mexican cartels get their guns from the U.S. government.

For those who can't—or won't—believe me, here are some URLs where the story first broke. The articles contain further references. My hat is off, principally to David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh for telling us what's going on. My personal thanks to Kirby Ferris, as well.

Sipsey Street Irregulars

"Border Patrol agent killed with ATF-smuggled AR? Some ATF agents seem to think so."

Sipsey Street Irregulars 'Blog

David Codrea/Gun Rights Examiner

"ATF source confirms 'walking' guns to Mexico to 'pad' statistics"

David Codrea 'blog

In the past, I have been criticized for accusing the proponents of victim disarmament, in effect, of deliberately arranging for violent and bloody events like Columbine, Dunblane, and Port Arthur to happen, usually at crucial moments in the legislative process, in order to advance their agenda of total control over the lives of other human beings.

As I write these words, what I'm confident will prove to be another carefully contrived and photogenic shooting has just been carried out in Tucson, Arizona, where someone in a crowd has fired on a Democratic congresswoman and her entourage, conveniently fulfilling several purposes at once: damaging the reputation of gun owners and shooters in general, especially non-Democrats; making Janet Napolitano look good (along with her defamation of everyone she can't control as "domestic extremists") in the home state where she achieved political power by stepping on the innocent faces of those who exercise their Second Amendment rights; bringing into disrepute Arizona's new Vermont Carry law, and generally besmirching a state that all collectivists despise.

Scavengers like National Public Radio are already beginning to feed.

But what this story of putrescent BATFE corruption proves, beyond the palest shadow of a doubt, is that I was right, and that my critics are all wrong. Somehow, when socialists extol the warm, fuzzy, humane visage of their political philosophy, they always forget, along the way, to mention the evil, leering, ugly, brutal faces of its enforcers.

What we are left to wonder now is whether the gory sacrifice of one of their own was simply meant to cover up the story of 500 smuggled M-16s.

Stranger—and more despicable—things have happened.

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 more than 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 is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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