L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 139, September 17, 2001
Nine One One
Morning of Horror
by L. Neil Smith
Special to TLE
First of all, expect never to learn the truth about what happened at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and elsewhere this morning of September 11, 2001, any more than we did with regard to the murders of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, at Ruby Ridge, Waco, or Oklahoma City. Ambiguity and uncertainty serve far too many political interests.
Another certainty is that, although I'm told 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center, more innocent individuals will die as a result of what the Old Media are lovingly referring to as a "lockdown" of Manhattan and other places, than any acts of terrorism that may have occurred. The military has just said they'll shoot down any plane they see flying. Only one civilian plane is in the air this morning, Air Force One; that's as grim a warning of things to come as I can think of.
"Collateral" deaths won't just happen as a consequence, say, of somebody with a heart attack being unable to get to a hospital, but whenever and wherever some dumb kid in an army uniform gets startled by a car backfiring and starts spraying everybody and his pet poodle with automatic rifle fire. Or to whomever the martial lawyers decide it's safe to liquidate using this foul mess as a cover. Or, vastly more ominously, to people in the not-so-distant future who decide they must resist the police state that will inevitably result from these events.
It's extremely difficult to think coherently about long term effects, let alone to get it all down in writing, when you learn that, not only were hijacked commercial aircraft used to commit these unspeakably evil acts, but that 90 passengers died helplessly in the first plane, and others yet unnumbered may have died in subsequent attacks. Somebody has to think about it, though, or this situation will be used to turn the Bill of Rights off forever. Depending on the planning behind it, or who did the planning, it may already be too late.
All airports have been shut down today, and I shudder to think about what flying will be like from now on. The Clintons, Schumers, and Waxmans will try to shut down the Internet, calling it a breeding ground for terrorism. The Bushes and Cheneys will "reluctantly" go along.
Rush Limbaugh will cheer them on.
What should those who value their freedom do? Every chance you have, from this moment on, whether it's on talk radio, or on the letters to the editor page, on the Internet while it's still possible, or in communication with everyone you know -- it's time for even the most apolitical to write to senators and congressmen -- emphasize two points:
First, inform them that closing down the First or Second or any other Amendment is not an appropriate response to what's happened, and that any politician or bureaucrat in office who attempts to capitalize on today's horrors is committing the same sort of blatantly criminal act I've always insisted must be punished under Bill of Rights enforcement.
Second, these things happen to nations with imperial ambitions. There has never been a major act of terrorism I know of that hasn't resulted from an act of government that violated somebody's rights. The way to keep this sort of thing from happening again is to stop those violations.
Hideously enough, my new novel The American Zone, scheduled to be published next November by Tor Books, begins with an act very similar to this one, carried out to force the creation of a strong central government in the governmentless "North American Confederacy" that figures in so many of my books. As anybody who knows my work can safely predict, the evil scheme doesn't work and the villains are defeated.
Life isn't as predictably pleasant as fiction. Happy endings are few and far between. But it's important to act swiftly if we're to preserve anything resembling the freedom that made this civilization great.
Pass the word.