Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 635, September 4, 2011

"The people who benefit from the
system see reform efforts as attacks"

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Flash Mobs and Hi-Caps
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Almost all of the various "revolutions" that have been sweeping across and through our civilization today are occurring because of a single new man-made phenomenon: the astonishing rise of lateral communications.

For the most part, this is a wonderful thing. Politicians, well accustomed to eighty centuries of strictly vertical communications, issuing haughty decrees to the masses, and acting arrogantly against the clearly expressed will of their constituents, can be confronted now, practically on a moment's notice, by thousands of outraged individuals. Not surprisingly, few politicians regard this as a good thing. One has even wished publicly that the Internet had never been invented.

Something else that lateral communications—the trendy term is "social media"—make possible is occasional delightful surprises, such as individuals gathering in public places and "spontaneously" putting on a dance performance, or "ordinary" patrons of a shopping mall food court revealing themselves by singing the entire Hallelujah Chorus.

Unfortunately, even the most wonderful things can be abused. Give one man an axe and he starts building a log cabin. Give another man an axe, and he uses it to prune his family tree. We have all seen news by now of what are being called "flash mob" crimes, in which dozens or hundreds of people linked by "social media" converge on a convenience store or some other vulnerable location, smash in and loot it, and disperse.

Events just like this have occurred recently in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Germantown, Maryland, and, reportedly, dozens of other places, although in at least one instance, "social media" don't seem to have been involved. A bus full of young people simply stopped at a convenience store and disgorged its passengers, who had their brief, violent way with the undefended establishment and vanished into the night.

Note that these are all places where local laws have—illegally—made it difficult or impossible to defend oneself or one's property with the appropriate tools, and that at least one chain of convenience stores will fire any worker who does so. According to CNN, something calling itself the National Retail Federation tells us that as many as one in ten merchants polled said this kind of thing had happened to them.

Note, too, how politicians, bureaucrats, and cops across the land hate, loathe, and despise anything that threatens to return ownership and control of his own life to the American Serf. That includes both lateral communications and any efficient means of self-defense. It is not unreasonable, given the state of politics today, to suspect that at least some of these "flash crimes" may be "false flag" operations, deliberately contrived to justify control or abolition of liberating technologies.

Politicians have another little conundrum to cope with these days, that must have them secretly tearing their hairplugs. For decades, they threw billions of dollars and millions of men at a rising rate of violent crime in this country and accomplished absolutely nothing— except creating more crime. All through this period, the politicians, bureaucrats, cops, and the media sternly advised people not to buy guns or try to defend themselves. By the 1960s, one person in three could expect to be mugged, raped, or burglarized at some point in their lives. As usual, Scotland Yard (and all the little yards) were baffled.

Then, for various reasons that will make another essay someday, folks began obtaining—and carrying—the means of self-defense whether the authorities approved or not. Crime rates—exactly as I predicted at the time—began to plummet in double digits. As the trend continues today, it may cease being a problem of consequence tomorrow. The politicians, bureaucrats, and cops have been made to look very bad—which may be one reason they've become so violent and brutal.

To all of them, solved problems are a career-threatening horror.

Which brings us back to the political opportunity represented by criminal flash mobs. What possibilities! The obvious first move is to limit or outlaw lateral communications. Things were just so much more ... shall we say, comfortable?—for politicians, bureaucrats, and cops—before the social media were invented. The professionals in TV and the newspapers—the antisocial media—hate it when the public ends up doing their job for them, too, and would wildly welcome such a "reform".

Of course the real answer to flash mob crime is the same as the answer to ordinary crime—a well-armed populace. But that, too, is a horror for the authorities to contemplate. For years—decades, really—they've been attempting to disarm the people of this country or at least reduce the effectiveness of whatever weapons they may possess. That's the real reason items like machineguns—extremely useful in fulfilling the Founding Fathers' objective of a population capable of physically controlling the State—have been effectively outlawed.

Lately, they've been trying to limit magazine capacity again— despite the lesson they could have learned from the "Brady Effect", that limiting capacity only means larger, more effective calibers in smaller guns. Today, thanks largely to the Bradys and their friends, we have .32s and .380s the size of .25s, nine millimeters the size of .32s, and .40s and .45s you can carry in the front pocket of your Levis.

Once thing is certain: these fascinating developments will go on. You can't hope to defend yourself from a flash mob with a two-shot derringer, a five-shot revolver, or even a ten-shot automatic. Not surprisingly, the politicians who aspire to limit your ability to stay alive in these circumstances are the same would-be mass-murderers who want nine tenths of the human race to die in order to save Mother Gaia. What have I always said? Evil, stupid, or insane; maybe all three.

Despite the fondest wishes of the Harbingers of a new Holocaust, Chuck, Diana, Carolyn, and Hillary, my favorite weapon these days— or at least the one I'm most likely to have handy, is a sixteen-shot ten millimeter (a cartridge with twice the stopping power of a .45). Each of its enhanced spare magazines will transform it into an 18-shooter.

Fabrique Nationale is marketing a futuristic pistol that shoots centerfire 5.7 millimeter cartridges from a twenty round magazine. I have some theoretical problems with the notion: the 5.7 ammunition is expensive, as well as effectively non-reloadable, and not terribly good at anything except getting through military body armor. It is by no means a manstopper like a .45, and that's what you really want for self-defense.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to getting my own copy of a new autopistol by Kel-Tec that carries an impressive thirty rounds of .22 rimfire Magnum (better, I think, than 5.7 millimeter) in a single magazine.

Don't leave home—especially for the 7-11—without it!

Kel-Tec PMR-30
Kel-Tec PMR-30

[See also the CZ VZ61 Scorpion Handgun -- Editor :-)]

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