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31


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 31, July 1, 1997

The Only "Dangerous Weapon" Is the Human Mind

By Tom Creasing
hobbit@aminet.co.kr

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         Waco.
         It's a rallying cry among libertarians, and a prime example of Leviathan, driving its tank treads over 83 people guilty of nothing more than possession of a few ounces of oddly shaped steel -- maybe -- and of living a different lifestyle not in keeping with the dictates and mores of the moral exemplars in Washington
         Odd, isn't it, how those much-vaunted "multicultural" values always seem to be White Liberal Christian ones?
         But I digress.
         Waco strikes fear into the hearts of many, who think, "There, but for the grace of monogamy and lack of notice by the ATF, go I." And well it should. Waco may indeed go down in history as the opening shots in the Second American Revolution, and the victims (few among many) of our current State may be able to rest a little more easily in their graves.
         Waco also offers a different lesson, one that I haven't seen addressed by the media -- mainstream or alternative -- one that should be considered by the various groups and individuals who are thoughtful and attentive to this issue. Please understand that by what I am about to say I have no intention of taking away anything from the martyrs there. Having said all that, let me now state my somewhat professional opinion that the victims at Waco screwed up momentously, strategically and tactically, and that at least a part of their martyrdom is their own fault.
         In between, and concurrent with, bouts of practicing law, I teach firearms-related topics (and occasionally sell guns). I teach tactics and handling informally, and firearms law (Oregon) formally. As part of this, I spend a great deal of time attending classes and gathering material myself. I am by no means a professional instructor, but neither am I a neophyte.
         One of the most common questions heard from someone new to firearms is, "What kind of gun should I get?"
         My answer is a question itself, "Why do you want a gun?"
         Sometimes their reply will have to do with hunting or sport shooting, but generally their answers relate to individual criminal activity. I should note that people sophisticated enough to be worried about government criminal activity are also usually sophisticated enough to be debating the virtues of, say, a Belgian FN-D versus an H&K 91.
         My next question, then, is, "How do you expect a gun to solve your problem?"
         Again, answers are of the self-defense, protect-my-family, or discourage-the-criminal sort. Then comes what I feel to be the most important question for a would-be gun buyer interested in self defense, "Could you knowingly and intentionally shoot another human being?"
         That question has lost me several sales, although it also leads to other discussions of alternative (and less adequate) means of defense. But it is essential. A gun is not a magic wand that you can wave and make things happen, no matter how much it seems that way. Individuals and groups who acquire firearms without the will to use them are just kidding themselves.
         Which brings us back to Waco. Their non-traditional lifestyle was bad enough for government and the media (again, odd from groups that "support" gay marriages, for instance). But they added into that a stockpile of firearms, a stockpile that noticeably included a number of "ugly" guns. In addition, they (or their leaders, at least) let it be bandied about that they had such a stockpile. Finally, for whatever reason, when one of the events that one might imagine would involve using that stockpile occurred, they elected to hunker down and wait for the worst.
         Strategic mistake number one. Odd lifestyle plus guns equals inevitable government attention. Randy Weaver demonstrates this mistake as well. Leviathan is still small enough (it is, honest) that it needs to go after fringe targets rather than the mainstream. The media is also notoriously less protective of groups that don't "fit in." Even if the government does not take direct action on some pretext or other there is still the potential of anti-liberty propaganda. Has anyone else noticed how quick it was pointed out that the Heaven's Gate suicide crew had "stocks of assault rifles and ammunition?" Leviathan got its money's worth from that mob, by the way, if only in the anti-internet rumbling they seemed to justify.
         "For the children", of course. But again, I digress.
         Strategic mistake number two. Letting all and sundry know you have guns in the first place. I like guns. I've sold guns and teach about guns. I write about guns. Will I admit that I have or carry them? Not on your life. If you want to find out, become a close enough associate that you are welcome in my home and you can decide for yourself then. Writing about and discussing them is dangerous enough, in these times. Bragging about possession of the items at best attracts the attention of thieves and at worst puts tanks at your doorstep.
         Strategic mistake number three. Not considering fully the consequences of their position and actions. Like some of the customers I've questioned, the people at Waco did not seem to give full thought to what they were doing, something we're all guilty of at some time or other. But firearms are dangerous tools, and not knowing what you're doing with them, whether tactically or politically, is invitation to disaster. What good did having an immense stock do for them? All they managed was to invite the interest of the ATF, offering them what they believed to be the chance to score a political plum. Moreover, it certainly appears that they had no serious tactical plans, or at least none that they seemed to implement, besides "hide and hope they'll go away." Perhaps they were hoping for public outrage, something foredoomed by the media slant on their lifestyle.
         Tactically, one can argue all day about the virtues of a fixed position when defending against overwhelming odds versus the advantages of running away before the heavy artillery gets there. That particular question was mooted, however, by their failure to decide in advance whether they were going to go through with what it looked like they were going to do.
         The victims of Leviathan will not rest easy until their murderers are brought to justice. That goes without saying. However, our feelings about this issue should not blind us to the mistakes that were made, either. Learning from other peoples' mistakes is a whole lot less painful than learning from your own. Advocates of liberty need to take a look at those strategic mistakes and decide whether they may be making them themselves. Some folks may realize that they actually can't make that final step, that they can't take those irrevocable actions in their own defense. I have no quarrel with that, as long as they don't presume to decide that because they won't defend themselves I shouldn't be allowed to either. I'm not saying things will get messy -- but if they do, well, there's an applicable Arabic saying, "One armed man can control a marketplace of a thousand people." Especially if he's thought through the strategies of his arms.


Thomas J. Creasing is an attorney for the Young Wha Consulting Corporation Korea Press Center, 8th Fl. 25, 1-Ka, Taepyung-Ro Chung-Ku, Seoul, Korea 100-745. Short Address: KPO Box 106, Seoul 110-601, Korea. Direct Line: +82 (2) 3700-6881. Fax: +82 (2) 738-2538. E'mail: hobbit@aminet.co.kr


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