THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 182, July 15, 2002

WILL WE OBEY UNJUST LAWS?

I'm Afraid
by Jeff Colonnesi
jcolonne@flash.net

Special to TLE

I'm afraid.

Perhaps that needs a little more clarification. An explanation if you will, so that you might understand the thought process that brings me to that statement. So let me see if I can put it into words.

Ten months ago terrorists carried out the most deadly single attack on this country in US history. They were able to succeed for a variety of reasons. Chief among them the attitude ingrained into Americans that it is safer to give a criminal what they want than to resist and the systematic disarmament of anyone who flies commercial airlines.

This dastardly act united Americans as never before. This is not a good thing. You see, the reason that I can say it united us "as never before" is that never before were we united in viewing every single person we don't personally know as a potential enemy.

Since that time, numerous things have been done in the name of protecting us from terrorist attacks. These range from government laws designed to allow terrorists to be caught easier and sooner to private restrictions on how certain chemicals are handled and sold. None of them, in my honest opinion, have done anything to actually make us safer and quite a few have worsened both the civil and economic situation.

Don't agree? Well here are some examples:

  • A chemical supplier to my company recently refused to ship us a 500ml (~1 pint) bottle of acid because our "ship to" address didn't match the one on file (we had moved). Their solution was for me to fax over a copy of the new address on company letterhead. Never mind the fact that in this computer age, most companies produce their own "letterhead" from computer programs and that anyone with sufficient access to the ordering and receiving end of the purchasing process to attempt to use it to obtain "dangerous chemicals" would also have access to company letterhead by the ream. True, it's a minor annoyance, but things like this still cost companies wasted time to sort out.

  • Airline passengers are subject to tighter scrutiny and more random searches than ever before. Absolutely all weapons are prohibited. Yet, depending on the survey/study you hear, between 10% and 30% of weapons smuggled through in "tests" are not detected.

  • Airline passengers are still prohibited from carrying even minimally effective defensive weapons, and airline pilots are still prohibited from carrying firearms. All this after nationwide calls for arming pilots and quieter, though still nationwide, calls to allow passengers to carry arms. Firearms are considered "too dangerous" because of the chance that, in an attempted hijacking, an innocent passenger might be injured. Instead, the official solution is to shoot down the plane if it is hijacked.

  • We now suffer under laws that a single year ago could have never been enacted over the public outcry they would have created. Laws that allow for the imprisonment of an individual, and the denying them of access to legal counsel, for indeterminate lengths of time on the mere accusation of terrorist activity. These same laws allow for the denial of a jury trial to those individuals accused of terrorist activity.

  • Major media, and public institutions, routinely remove or prohibit anything that is patriotic so as to not offend anyone (national anthems, flags, pro American slogans). Some of these have been stopped due to public pressure. But obviously not firmly enough since it still continues to happen (national anthem not broadcast on several hockey games and not played at Detroit Freedom Festival).

  • Anti gun crusaders, or anti self-defense zealots as they are more accurately described, have used the "terrorist threat" to breath new life into a host of weapons restriction proposals. Gun shows, "sniper rifles" and "assault rifles" are all under renewed attack. In addition, ideas such as mandatory identification and tracking of all people, which would have had many gun owners reaching for the cartridge box a year ago, are now greeted with halfhearted responses like: "It may be necessary for a little while", or "Just until the terrorist threat is over".

  • Repeals of firearms laws, such as the 1994 crime bill restrictions, are not even being discussed. The smart money won't even take odds that it will be allowed to sunset in 2004 without being renewed ... or made permanent.

  • Nationwide reciprococity, something that might actually help combat such a diffuse threat as terrorism, is not even being considered. Actually calling on armed civilians (the militia of old) to help protect potential targets is looked on as something only considered by mental defectives.

  • Response to the attack included a spending spree that wiped out any possible "surplus" in our government. Wiped it out so thourgholy that there are now not only proposals to repeal the tax relief passed in 2001 (most of which hasn't gone into effect yet) but also to increase taxes beyond what they were in 2000.

And to add a cute little rotten cherry to the top of this compost pile, our wonderful government officials can't even give us a clue when the "terrorist threat" may end. They have no public firm goals with regard to military or security action. Instead, after every success, they roll out an ever-expanding list of targets and proposals. They won't come out and say that this country or religious group or that religion is a threat and must be eliminated, partly because they are afraid that people might then expect them to stop when it is accomplished. They have the ultimate meal ticket: An enemy that no one can prove is dead, that any act of violence can be blamed on and that poses a believable threat to Bob and Betty six pack even when they are sitting at home in their living room.

So I'm afraid. I'm afraid for my country and afraid for my way of life. And I worry that my daughter will never know freedoms that I enjoyed.


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