L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 62, December 31, 1999
And May You Live In Interesting Times
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
The U.S. is taking "extraordinary measures" to fend off New Year's
guerrilla attacks, wire services report. President Clinton announced
last week the government is on a "higher level of alert" after an
Algerian national was arrested last week, supposedly attempting to
smuggle an electronic watch (an "explosive timer") and a quantity of
dried animal urine ("explosive materials") across the Canadian border
into Washington state.
Ahmed Ressam, 32, was indicted in Seattle on five charges including
using false I.D. and smuggling explosive materials -- though
curiously he was not accused of "terrorism."
Now, if you were planning to blow up something in the United States,
would you attempt to smuggle in a large quantity of powdered urea --
a high-volume, low-potency material custom designed to trigger the
interest of border patrol sniffer dogs?
Would that be because, as a dangerous international terrorist, you
wouldn't be able to figure out how to acquire or formulate C-4 or
Semtex? Or would that be because you believe there's a shortage of
animal urine, phosphate fertilizer, and other such low-grade
materials -- not to mention Cassio watches -- available to be
acquired after you entered this country?
Meantime, from Ottawa comes word Prime Minister Jean Chretien's
government will be on full Y2K alert New Year's Eve and ready to
invoke an updated War Measures Act, according to The Toronto Sun.
Is anyone else picturing Slim Pickens in "Dr. Strangelove," shouting
"Hoo-hah" as he straddled that descending warhead like a rodeo pony?
It's all well and good to say "Better safe than sorry." But let's
review: Those knowledgable about the Y2K problem started telling us a
year ago there simply weren't enough programmers or enough time to
de-bug every embedded chip and ancient piece of mainframe computer
code. There were even early reports that commercial nuclear reactors
might have to be shut down as of July 1 if they couldn't be certified
"Y2K compliant," since it can take one of those things six months to
safely cool down, should power become unavailable to the emergency
Then, by summer, all such concerns had evaporated. One after another,
branch banks and local government offices happily reported themselves
No one is saying we're going to be wandering the land dressed in
goatskins by St. Patrick's Day, feeding our families with
stone-tipped spears. But let's imagine for a moment that some
economic, logistic, and other computer-related problems do
crop up next month -- especially given the inflationary volume of new
money the Fed has pumped into the economy to avoid any "runs on the
bank" by customers seeking extra cash this week.
Should we expect everyone from our local bank manager to President
Bill Clinton to acknowledge: "We were fibbing. We knew we couldn't
really fix everything in time, so we just decided to cross our
fingers, tell you everything was fine, and hope for the best"?
Would it be the president's strong moral scruples that would prevent
him from instead claiming: "Whatever may have gone wrong, it's the
fault of those darned terrorist Algerian computer hackers we warned
you about. Everything would have been fine except for them. It's only
due to the hate-inspired mischief of these right-wing terrorists --
egged on by people like Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy -- that we
now need to reluctantly, temporarily suspend just a few of the more
obscure and outdated provisions of the Bill of Rights, merely to
guard against any recurrence during this time of National Healing
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal. His new book,
Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998,
is available at $24.95 postpaid
from Mountain Media, P.O. Box 271122, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127; by
dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site
IT (SOMETHING) CAN'T HAPPEN HERE (SOMEWHERE)?
"There is an awareness that there may be possibly something
unfortunate happening somewhere."
-- Benseon Apple, a spokesman for the B'nai B'rith
Anti-Defamation League, on concern about millennium
terrorist attacks in Australia
MORE FROM THE "MEGANUT STATE"
Gun taken after reports of comments at shooting range
By Associated Press, 12/29/1999 08:20
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Police have confiscated a gun from a lawyer
at the state Department of Public Utility Control after reports of
some alarming comments at a shooting range.
The incident began about noon Tuesday in Wallingford at a public
firing range with some reports about comments from a man firing a
"They said there was a guy with a shotgun shooting it. They said he
made some comments that were alarming. He made some comments that led
people to believe that maybe he was going to do something,"
Wallingford police Lt. Robert Flis said.
Several New Britain police officers descended on the DPUC building
where the man had returned to work.
Police took him aside and talked to him. They spoke with his
co-workers. According to Flis, police confiscated his weapon.
New Britain police Lt. Richard Petano said the gun was confiscated as
part of the investigation. The man, who has no prior record, was not
"We did not consider him to be a danger to himself," Petano said.
"There was nothing illegal about him having the weapon." [...]
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