L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 140, September 24, 2001
Cliff 'Em All!
Good article as usual, Vin: http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe139-20010917-08.html
I have to protest this phrase you chose: "let some guy in a turban insert in our bags". That is stereotyping/bigotry/racism, etc. There is no need for it. That's like saying all white males w/ crew cuts should be suspected because of what one idiot (McVeigh) did. Evil comes in many faces. We can only hope that Good is still armed when it comes upon Evil...
Ken Yee [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Hi. Ken --
Actually, since (thank goodness) no one is calling for rounding up and interning all Arab-Americans, or "Middle Easterners," or folks in turbans (most of whom are actually from the Indian subcontinent, of course), I think it falls more properly under "profiling."
(Not to mention, "exaggeration for purposes of humor")
I'll be writing a piece on "profiling" later tonight. Just as it may be time for employers to defy the Americans with Disabilities Act and refuse to hire handicapped person to work above the 15th floor in high-rise buildings (during emergencies, folks have to be able to exit via the stairwells ... who do you imagine were the folks who rescue workers went back up to "help" more than an hour after they started evacuating the WTC towers?) it may also be time to revoke some of the silliness that commands we must spend just as much time searching the luggage of black and Asian women to see if they're carrying deadly toenail clippers, as we spend questioning some foreign visitor named Mahmood.
Vin Suprynowicz [email@example.com]
In TLE 139, William Stone III wrote http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe139-20010917-05.html, "It's time to IGNORE the gun laws. It's time to intentionally VIOLATE the gun laws. It's time to say to yourself, 'Starting today, I am a freeman, and that's how I'm going to live.'" I like his idea, but, like him, I don't have the cojones to do it. Besides, the result would be a bunch of freemen arrested or dead. I have a similar idea that I believe is legal, and that could have close to the same political power.
L. Neil Smith wrote an essay entitled "When They Came for the Smokers ..." http://www.lneilsmith.org//niccers.html, in which he recommends what he calls "political smoking": "Go to the nearest drugstore and pick out an inexpensive pipe, a pipe that's never had tobacco in it, a pipe that likely never will, a pipe that strikes you as attractive or expresses some aspect of your personality... Display it in your favorite restaurant, on the bus, at the theater, at a children's daycare center."
I call my idea "political carry". Go to the nearest gun store and pick out an inexpensive holster, a holster that you may or may not own a gun for, a holster that would hold the handgun you would most like to carry. Wear it, empty, on your hip in your favorite restaurant, on the bus, in your car, on the airplane, at the theatre, in your child's "gun-free school". When people ask you about it, tell them that in the light of Black Tuesday, and because it's your natural right, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, you want to be prepared to defend yourself. The legal and political climate makes this impossible, legally, in large parts of America. You believe that there should be a loaded gun in that holster, and that the person who asked you should have a holster on his/her hip, or hidden from view, also containing a loaded gun.
Now is a very good time to change America's victim mentality. Go to it.
Bill St. Clair [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Greetings! I've noted another similarity between the events of Columbine and
Bloody Tuesday. [see L. Neil Smith's article in this issue. - ed.] In both cases, the ridiculous doctrine that the victims should be quiet and cooperate with the criminals was followed, with resulting disaster.
At Columbine, the law enforcement personel, in accordance with their training and indoctrination, assumed that the criminals were rational and could be negotiated with. They sealed off the area and waited to make contact with the criminals. The criminals murdered a bunch of people and committed suicide.
On Bloody Tuesday, the flight crew and passengers, in accordance with their training and indoctrination, assumed that the criminals were rational and could be negotiated with. With the notable exception of the passengers of United 93, who apparently fought back, the crews and passengers cooperated with the criminals. The criminals murdered a bunch of people and committed suicide.
I'm glad that there's somewhere (for the time being at least) that doesn't recycle the garbage in the popular media about airport security, about how wonderful and necessary these draconian searches and asinine regulations are going to be. But at the same time, let's have a reality check.
I sincerely doubt that, even in a libertarian society, very many airlines would allow the passengers to carry LOADED firearms aboard. Most likely, I envision a system similar to that of gun shows, where a security person inspects your weapon and temporarily disables it. In gun shows, it's a simple plastic strip. At airports, the device would likely have a little electronic alarm on it in case the owner tried to remove it surreptitiously. They'd do this because the lamentable truth is that though 90% or more of gun owners are law-abiding, responsible, and cautious with their weapons, an armed suicidal nut could do a lot of harm. A more common danger would be the accidental discharge of a weapon in flight, which could at worst kill a couple of fellow passengers and, at the very least, rupture the cabin.
On the other hand, it's sheer lunacy to require that the CREW must also be unarmed. They should carry weapons specially designed for the situation; riot-type, disabling and non-lethal weapons that will minimize the risks to other passengers and the aircraft itself. All crew members should have intensive training in the use of these weapons, and (I hate to say it) psychological screening. The airlines should have a strict policy of "no cooperation" with terrorists, since we can now see the consequences of accomodation are worse than the alternative.
What's standing in the way of these much-needed reforms? FAA regulations should be amended immediately to give airlines the freedom (and the responsibility) to decide their own security policies. More importantly, our tort-crazy legal system must be reformed. No corporation should be held liable for any unintentional harm to customers when its employees make a good-faith effort to thwart hijackers (or armed robbers, for that matter.) Right now, no company dares employ an armed security person who is not some sort of police officer-- and there just aren't enough of them to go around! The laws must be changed, and judges must have the courage to reject any future lawsuits in this area.
Vaughn Treude [email@example.com]
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