L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 35, January 15, 1998
Hand Me The Strela, Stella
by Victor Milan
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
L. Neil Smith and Vin Suprynowicz frequently write that the
undeniable intent of the Second Amendment is that the every American
ought in principle to possess arms at least as competent as those of
potential oppressors -- the most likely of whom, for the slow, are our
own military and increasingly paramilitary police. That sort of talk
makes liberals dismiss us as nuts and wrings anguished howls from
like the NRA.
Does that mean we shouldn't do it?
Let's consider some ramifications. What would it mean if
everybody in America had, say, an SA-7 Strela shoulder-fired SAM in
the closet, and a MILAN anti-tank missile -- what a great name --
beneath the bed? We can all say it in unison with the government
junkies: "But That Would Mean Anarchy!"
In one sense, that's exactly the fucking point, thank you very
much; do those chains chafe your wrists, or are you used to them,
since you love them so? In the sense of what's actually meant --
riot, rapine, ruin, blood and fire in the streets, another perfect day
in LA -- the answer is: nope.
First off, these things are in private hands. Right now. And
not generally what we consider the right hands. Back in the early
Nineties reasonably authoritative rumor held that Albuquerque's
premier gang, 18th Street, had got hold of an antitank rocket and
zapped a derelict house with it by way of experiment. Like so many
odd things one runs into -- like the gun-battle outside a Village Inn
I was sitting in last winter -- the media never mentioned the event,
and I can't confirm it. But I have no reason to doubt it happened.
Common sense tells us such things are happening.
Word was the rocket was American -- fell off an Army truck. But
the Communist Chinese company that's taking over that erstwhile Marine
base in California allegedly got caught smuggling in full-auto AKs
last year. Do we really believe they'd scruple to import RPGs and
Strelas? Socialists will do anything for money, and there are wads of
socialist countries out there, some our ostensible allies. And as was
the case when Russia still copped to being commie, the only thing most
of these people make that anyone would willingly pay for is weapons.
So society's designated badguys have backpack artillery already;
bet on that. Has that in itself caused more chaos? Not so's you'd
know it. We've chaos aplenty, to be sure: thank the War on Drugs.
But what if your neighbors had these things? Gasp! That would
mean our suburbs would look like Beirut or the Bronx, right?
By estimates I deem conservative, there're over a quarter billion
private firearms in this country -- basically one for every American
alive. More than there are cars, lots. Guess which kills more?
Consider what shoulder-launched AT and antiaircraft rockets
actually do. Say your neighbor pisses you off by blasting Queensryche
at 3 AM -- which I can empathize with, if they play anything later
than Operation Mindcrime. So you resolve to teach him a lesson.
Let's check our Suitcase Arsenal. Forget your SAM; most are heat-
seekers, and generally won't even let themselves be launched if their
infrared "eyes" don't see any targets hotter than the average American
home is liable to offer unless it's already in flames. Antitank
rockets will serve, but you're gonna have to back off a ways to let
that old bastard Johnson have what's coming: they won't arm inside
some arbitrary flight-distance, usually at least ten yards, to keep
draftees from vaporizing themselves. Be wary of the backblast, too;
most of these beasts shoot a big jet of flame out the rear. They're
Now, they won't blow up your neighbor's house. Most backpack AT
rockets use shaped-charge warheads, which will make a small hole and
set the place ablaze. Some, like Russian RPGs, can be loaded with
high-explosive heads. These won't blow the house up either, though
they'll make a bigger hole, and again likely set the place on fire.
In time, that means your house'll probably go too -- ask the MOVE's
Philly ex-neighbors how that works.
So there we have it: Instant Chaos. Awful. See? We gotta do
away with the Second Amendment because if it's really lived up to,
we'll get Suburbia Aflame. Right?
You want to achieve the practical effect of one of these wonder
weapons? For an invisible fraction of the cost -- and these things
cost beaucoups bucks, even when you cut the government-procurement
fat out of the price tags -- you take a glass bottle, a quart of
gasoline, an old sock, and a lighter. Combine -- I won't tell you
how, lest I face prosecution -- and chuck it through Johnson's window
while he's watching Seinfeld. Poof: instant antitank weapon.
You've got all these things, right? Everybody you know has these
things, right? Despite the anti-First Amendment frenzy of neo-Nazis
like Dianne Feinstein and Schumer the Tumer to ban dissemination of
bomb-making knowledge, everybody knows what a Molotov cocktail is and
how to make one, right?
So where are all the suburban barbecues? In backyard grilles
where they belong. Until EPA shuts 'em down, anyway.
When these potent portable weapons become widely available, yes,
occasional Americans will bedevil their neighbors with them. But more
often than they already set each other on fire the good old-fashioned
way? Why would that be? The old ways will still be cheaper, easier,
and more convenient: the watchwords of the American consumer.
Indeed, once most Americans possess competent weapons of personal
defense such as shotguns and handguns, and the knowledge and
determination to use them, we'll see less of this and all violent
crimes, because -- duh -- there will be penalties imposed. Not like
today, when the average time served for murder -- on the off-chance
you're caught and convicted -- is twenty months and dropping (thanks
again, War on Drugs.)
So what's the real objection to home anti-armor and anti-aircraft
weapons? They're wizard effective against armored vehicles and attack
aircraft. Such as the ones the Aggressive Termination Force and the
Friendly Baby Incinerators used to massacre peaceful American
civilians outside Waco.
In this century technological revolution has placed immense
leverage in the hands of the individual. At the same time advances in
big, indiscriminate "weapons of mass destruction" have made commanders
who concentrate their forces in accordance with long-standing military
principles into potential Kevorkians writ huge. These are the worst
of tidings to the forces of oppression -- which means, if we're honest
with ourselves, all governments, everywhere.
The dispersed defensive is where it's at, folks. All those
privately-held pistols, rifles, and shotguns are an excellent start,
and anyone who tells you otherwise has no idea what it's talking
about. But even better will be the widespread private ownership of
effective personal antitank and antiaircraft weaponry.
When that arrives, you will have no more to fear from your
neighbors -- and far less to fear from would-be oppressors, domestic
Victor Milan married Jennifer Lipsinsky on August 9th. Lucky or
smart? You decide.
A Juror's Creed: As an American juror, I will exercise my 1000 year
old duty to arrive at a verdict, not just on the basis of the facts of
a particular case or instructions I am given, but through my ability
to reason, my knowledge of the Bill of Rights, and my individual
-- L. Neil Smith
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