Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 410, March 25, 2007

"Every boy or girl should have a .410!"


Scorched Earth
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

    "An armed society is a polite society."
    —Robert A. Heinlein

Well, they're at it again, dammit. Not fifteen picoseconds after the Stupid Party got handed its head last November—I'm not saying they didn't richly deserve it, many times over—the smelly hounds of victim disarmament in the Evil Party began howling in anticipation of fresh legislative blood and, much more importantly, vastly increased funding.

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, for example, is a moral cannibal, a repulsive scavenger who constructed her career on the corpse of an ex-husband, murdered in 1993 by a lunatic on a Long Island commuter train.

I suppose you might say that Carolyn's another beneficiary of the "Sarah Brady Effect". You may recall that Sarah wouldn't have had anything to do with her worthless life but attend bridge parties with other prune-faced Washington wonk-wives if hadn't been for a wannabe Presidential assassin who turned her husband into a meat popsicle—and her into a celebrity political activist against the Bill of Rights.

Around here, we also tend to think of Tom Mauser as an exemplar of this kind of putrecent opportunism. Tom won world fame as the father of one of the dead kids at Columbine High who had been disarmed and rendered helpless by their parents and the public school system—tied up and offered to their murderers as human sacrifices to utter stupidity.

But I digress

McCarthy has reintroduced the Dole/Clinton Ugly Gun and Adequate Magazine Ban that recently sunsetted after enfringing the right of the individual to own and carry weapons for a decade, although it can't be shown to have prevented a single crime or saved a single life—and despite the fact that, after 40 years of Americans rearming themselves (inspired, in the beginning, by the Death Wish and Dirty Harry movies, pressed along by a healthy reaction to relentless marxoid efforts to take their gun rights away, and culminating in today's "concealed carry movement") violent crime has plunged in double digits.

None of that matters, of course, to career victim disarmers like Carolyn, Sarah, and Tom. Former Senator Howard Metzenbaum (look him up) once admitted openly that he knew that the victim disarmament legislation he proposed wouldn't prevent crime. He just wanted to see the middle class disarmed—a position that makes perfect sense once you understand that he was a high-tax, high-regulation legislator who got his start as the legal mouthpiece for two communist-front labor groups.

But damn, I've already digressed again!

At the other end of some sort of silliness spectrum, a friend sent me a URL the other day to a particularly whiny and pathetic site that purports to be shocked—shocked I say!—that Americans are "allowed" to own guns that shoot .50 caliber Browning Machinegun.

It probably wouldn't do any good to point out, even in the waning days of an administration they've whimpered and complained about—and pretended to be afraid of—for seven years, that the whole point of the Second Amendment is to protect private ownership of military hardware (including "assault rifles") so government can be kept under control by the people, and that .50 BMG seems uniquely suited to that task.

The website displays a photo of the .50 BMG cartridge, compared with .223 Winchester (the toy cartridge used in the current M-16 rifle) and .30-06 (a grownup cartridge used in both World Wars and Korea, in a variety of weapons) and speculates (weakly—liberaloids just aren't as good at this paranoid crap as conservatoids) that, hey, terrorists might use .50 BMG to hurt people, something that obviously can't be done with .223 or .30-06. They also offer their visitors a phony poll offering no choice but to outlaw the ineffably nasty .50 BMG.

They'd probably want me to give you their URL.

In between these examples, dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of equally evil, stupid, or crazy specimens are lined up in Congress, and in state legislatures and city councils right across the country, spouting their own flavor of malarky in a renewed attempt to use the government to violently threaten everybody else's life, liberty, and property. This is the legislative environment in which we're all going to be living the next five or nine years, an environment in which, for a number of solidly undeniable reasons, only libertarians can lead the opposition.

Consider: if the GOP were anything even remotely similar to what most conservatives fondly believe it it, they'd have repealed Lyndon Johnson's 1968 Gun Control Act—not to mention Franklin Roosevelt's 1934 National Firearms Act—when they finally had the power to do it.

But with regard to the individual right to own and carry weapons, Republicans showed the world what they are truly made of, when they pusillanimously rolled over on their backs, spread their legs (and ours), and permitted Bill Clinton to rape the Second Amendment by enacting the two laws I mentioned earlier, as well as the vile Brady Bill, a national registration scheme—and a purely Republican invention—aimed chiefly at intimidating women out of buying guns, that still violates the highest law of the land thousands of times a day.

At the same time, supposedly pro-gun outfits like the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and many, many others, derive a lucrative livelihood from victim disarmament and the threat of more victim disarmament. They are nothing but symbiotes to Carolyn, Sarah, and Tom, and they aren't about to throw away their meal ticket by pressing for a total end to all victim disarmament laws.

Please note that I specifically do not include Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership in this category. Its founder and leader—and admittedly, my good friend—Aaron Zelman is one of the most reliable and principled individuals I know, on this and other issues.

But back to the point: read the Second Amendment for yourself. Despite the maunderings and obfuscations of the gun-grabbers, it's perfectly clear. There isn't a gun law in this country that isn't, in itself, illegal. And don't give me any crap about the Tenth Amendment, either. Neither it nor "home rule" confer any authority to violate people's Constitutional rights. Nor is there any way, legally or logically, that a right can be restricted or regulated, John Ashcroft and others like him to the contrary. Under Article VI, Section II, no law that enfringes the right of the people to keep and bear arms should last a instant longer than it takes a decent judge to strike it down.

There can be no other choice, then. It must be the openly-stated, widely-broadcast policy of every libertarian worthy of the name to aim for nothing less than the total repeal or nullification of every gun law in the country, and to advertise it, loudly and repeatedly, every time the other side begins to hatch some nifty new victim disarmament scheme.

I repeat: the only principled libertarian position is total repeal or nullification of any gun law ever passed in the United States of America.

Strategically, tactically, we must confront our enemies without any thought of kindness or quarter. Up until now, we've always been too polite. But they created a world where it's unsafe to walk the streets of your own neighborhood at night. They created a world where 3000 people could be murdered by a handful of idiots with boxcutters. They wish to strip us of our means of self-defense, so that we can all enjoy even more of these dubious social benefits. So we must ask, publically and frequently, who they are, and why do they do what they do.

Understand this clearly: in order to make people believe they need more and more government, they want your home invaded by gangs of brutal thugs. They want you beaten, tied up, so you can watch your wife and daughter gang-raped and gutted, so you can be tortured and murdered and all you worked for all your life smashed and scattered in the street. That's the goal of their policy. That's what they strive to make happen. They want you and everything you love dead, dead, dead.

Too harsh? Bite me. The other side has always had plenty to say about us, and nobody has ever answered them back adequately. We're too goddamned polite. They've accused us of every possible insanity, every possible perversion. They either portray us as Cletus the buck-toothed redneck cretin, or a fat corporate capitalist in a two thousand dollar suit, shooting peasants on his estate and gloating over his expensive double gun collection. They said if Florida passed concealed carry, there would be a dozen gunfights a day, and blood would run in the streets.

They even made a TV movie about it.

None of that ever happened, or course. Nothing they predict like this ever happens, because it's rooted in an hysterical, bigoted, pathological hatred of every competent, self-sufficient individual on the planet, instead of an accurate understanding of history and human nature. We said, Robert Heinlein said—I said—that society would be more peaceful if individuals carried the means of self-defense every day. It would be more polite. And that's exactly the way it happened.

And that's exactly what they want so desperately to undo now. In many ways, what we're seeing today is a war between individual human versatility (as described in the first Heinlein quote, above) and the faceless collectivist coercive expertism that the victim disarmers greatly prefer.

Genuinely competent, self-sufficient individuals are a terrifying threat to everything that the expertists hold dear—especially their income and their power. Better to employ any excuse to treat people like livestock that can be branded, tracked, and herded around. It's exactly the signature we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The "experts" took over, shoved everyday folks aside at bayonet-point, destroyed all hope of recovery, and turned New Orleans into that city in America with the highest rate of violent crime, a distinction once reserved for the stinking sinkhole where "experts" rule all the time, Washington.

It's easy to understand the role of the mass media in all of this, too. They're also symbiotes—to the power establishment. The one and only product they're interested in selling—the one and only product they've ever tried to sell—is raw fear, something that serves the purposes of those in power perfectly. In a world where, "If it bleeds, it leads", natural disasters are far too rare and unpredictable. If there isn't any violent, gory crime—because armed citizens have put an end to it—what will they splash across our TV screens every night?

It's equally easy to understand why, although individual police officers sometimes uphold an individual right to own and carry weapons and oppose victim disarmament, police officials almost uniformly want the American people stripped of all that lethal hardware. They're a threat, you understand, not to public safety, but—because an armed citizenry has finally done what no police effort ever could: significantly reduce violent crime—to the budgets of police departments across the country and the salaries of all those who run them.

That's why those of us on the other side have to stop screwing around—allying ourselves with the NRA copsuckers is not a good strategy—and aim straight at repealing every single gun law in the country. We're in a better position at this moment than we have ever been. We hurt Rosie O'Donnel and K-Mart seriously, and it didn't go unnoticed by the other side. We forced Smith & Wesson into bankruptcy not once, but two or three times. And we have ended the career of Jim Zumbo.

We must show the rest no quarter. Those of us with the resources, talent, and inclination should investigate our enemies' backgrounds and make the results public. The way Hillary Clinton fought to hide her old school papers means that there's leverage there, somewhere. We must discover what businesses they and their families own, and boycott them. We must do our damnedest to bankrupt any towns where they hold sway.

Most importantly, we must sort out all their other pet political causes and make their anti-gun stance into a liability they'll hop to abandon.

As for the rest of the victim disarmament gang, we have to ask ourselves—very publically—what their real motivation is, and we have to be absolutely fearless and ruthless in exposing them. No quarter; they've never given us any, and it's time they got their own back.

For example, if a local legislator arrived in your neighborhood after leaving another state under a cloud—say, divorce proceedings that revealed him to be a wife beater who might welcome a world where women are unable to defend themselves—it must be reported far and wide.

Some may regard that as irrelevant, others as ad hominem, but as a writer, I believe that character is the key to understanding. It's certainly no coincidence that Sean Connery, a victim-disarmer who was reportedly enraged to discover that British citizens could still own single-shot pellet guns, has not only been accused of wife-beating, but has actually defended the practice publically, on more than one occasion.

If another politician happens to be an alcoholic who habitually gets plastered and threatens to get an "assault rifle" and shoot people who disagree with her, we must ask—loudly and repeatedly—why our rights should be sacrificed for the sake of her lack of self-control.

And if a million moms (give or take a few hundred thousand) march for victim disarmament, and some of them get violent—to the point of assaulting someone with a clipboard and having to be hauled off by the cops—it must not only be reported, but dwelt on, endlessly analyzed and dissected, exactly as the media did with the Columbine murders.

More than anything else, we must make it unmistakeably clear to the public and the media just whose position on the issue of self- defense—and the means to self-defense—is "humane", and whose is not. Aside from never referring to the other side's views as anything but "victim disarmament", we must demand a public answer from every group and individual that would violate our rights—no candidate, no incumbent, no advocate must be permitted to escape—to the following question:

What kind of twisted psychopath do you happen to be, Madame Mayor, Mr. Councilman, Commissioner, Legislator, Governor, Congressman, Senator, President, that you'd rather see a woman raped in an alley, and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her with a gun in her hand?

No, no, you're not going to blow it off!

Tell me why it is that you'd rather see a woman raped in an alley, and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her with a gun in her hand?

Don't wait for the translation, answer me now!

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently looking for a literary home.

A decensored, e-published version of Neil's 1984 novel, TOM PAINE MARU is available at: Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at, or at

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