Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 588, September 19, 2010

"They want our lives to be as miserable as theirs,
and they will stop at nothing to have their way."

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The Right to Own and Carry Weapons
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

To be human is to live by means of the artifacts that humans devise. To build a home, and scorn a weapon, is hypocrisy. It's also a good way to lose the home.
—L. Neil Smith

This essay is not about numbers.

Numbers can be handy, sometimes, and at present, where the issue of weapons and self-defense is concerned, they are solidly on the side of individual liberty. But almost anyone can make numbers seem to prove anything he wants them to. They never seem to win arguments or change minds. If you want numbers pertinent to the private ownership of guns and other weapons, there are plenty of other places to find them.

This essay is about relationships—that is, about how one thing relates to another. For example, here's a relationship: people who have guns can tell people who don't have guns what to do, even if that includes—as it has at several ugly points in fairly recent history—kneeling down in a ditch and taking a bullet in the back of the head.

There's a reason we call it "victim disarmament" rather than "gun control". Don't ever let anybody attempt to persuade you that they are advocating such a policy for any other reason. The unpleasant fact is, there are those among us—it's no secret; they proclaim it proudly and with increasing volume and frequency—who desire to possess that power, who yearn to be the ones who can put a bullet in the head of a helpless captive, or better yet, to order some underling to do it for them.

Thus there are three reasons to have guns, each being of equal importance.

The highest law of the land, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, maintains—in one of the most carefully-worded phrases in political history—that the private ownership of guns is "necessary to the security of a free state".

Remember that, in those days, the word "state" meant (as it still does in most contexts today) "nation", and that each of the thirteen former colonies that, together, had violently and bloodily wrested their independence from England, was considered to be a nation unto itself.

Considered itself a nation unto itself.

Also, the word "state" could be taken to mean, as it can still be today, "condition", carrying unmistakable undertones of individual liberty, without reference to whatever polity one might happen to live in.

America's Founding Fathers didn't just mean fending off England again, or France, or the Lost Continent of Mu. They meant the free and independent states of Maine or Massachusetts or Maryland defending themselves from the central government (a stronger central government than many of them had intended under the Articles of Confederation) being imposed on them now by the new Constitution. And, by extension, they also meant individuals defending their lives, their property, and their rights from any government at all, be it local, state, or national.

This assertion of a right to own and carry weapons in order to maintain a condition of individual freedom must surely have been seen as a direct threat to English authority on their own home ground. America's Founding Fathers saw that right as deriving from the natural rights of all Englishmen, which in many ways they felt they were defending.

But as usual, I have digressed.

Most gun control laws are aimed specifically at illegally getting around that fundamental set of protections from government abuse. For example, Americans today are effectively (albeit, not explicitly) forbidden to own machineguns—the most useful weapon for keeping a government under control. The excise tax was prohibitive at the time of passage, during the Depression, and the required registration and approval by various levels of authority negate their Second Amendment usefulness—of what use can any weapon be that the government knows about?

This travesty occurred because that quivering coward Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his cabinet of collectivists and Quislings were afraid (and rightfully so) that they were about to be overthrown in a coup d'etat organized by businessmen—evil capitalists, including one of the nation's largest firearms and ammunition manufacturers—spooked by the President-Elect's widely-advertised friendliness with communism and communist ideas. It would be carried out by veterans of World War I, betrayed, angry, and desperate to feed their families. Interestingly, both the Great War and the Great Depression were messes caused by Roosevelt's lying predecessor, the racist, elitist Woodrow Wilson.

Stop and think about it. If most Jews in Germany had been armed, would there have been a Holocaust? Jews certainly armed themselves in Warsaw—beginning with only a few pistols and revolvers—and they managed to take at least an entire Nazi division, several thousand hardened troops, "offline", out of combat, for three solid months, dying in the process, but saving an incalculable number of lives elsewhere.

It's obvious that our would-be rulers have taken a look at Warsaw, and at the Alamo—where 247 heroes armed with rifles, pistols, and large knives delayed the gold-braided megalomaniac President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and some 2,000-6,000 Mexican troops (depending on what revisionist you're reading) for two precious weeks, long enough for Sam Houston to build an army and humiliate him at San Jacinto.

They've considered Masada, the "Jewish Alamo"—actually, the Alamo was the Texican Masada—before that, where some 960 Jews, armed about as well as their Imperial Roman enemies, held the high ground for three months against the entire legion it took to defeat them.

And of course there is Mount Carmel, near Waco, where in 1993, a violent, publicity-hungry bureaucracy ran into a group who refused to be driven from their home, their church, to be arrested in front of TV cameras, and used to glorify—and justify—an unconstitutional agency. If the FBI were really all they claim to be, they would have come to Waco, to Mount Carmel, arrested each of the ATF agents there, and gone away again, leaving their victims, the Branch Davidians, alone.

Our would-be rulers, however, have come to different views about how the right to own and carry weapons—an unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right not granted, but acknowledged and promised absolute protection by the Constitution—ought to be "handled". Many of them have good reason for concern. A well-armed populace stands in the way of their cherished ambitions—ambitions that by any sane, decent measure, are those of sociopaths and serial killers.

Bill and Melinda Gates, for example, through the foundation that bears their names, spend billions of dollars on vaccines for the third world. Yet according to Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones, writing for ("Eco-Fascists Call For Tyranny To Enforce Draconian Agenda", Thursday, September 16, 2010) Gates has given speeches openly advocating using such vaccines as a tool of forced sterilization, in order to lower global population in the name of combatting global warming.

Gates also advocates using death panels to deny healthcare to the elderly.

In a 1977 textbook, co-authored by population-fanatic Paul Erlich, the current White House "science" czar, John P. Holdren, called for an obscenely dictatorial, eco-fascist, and inhumane "planetary regime" to carry out policies like forced abortions and mandatory sterilization, as well as drugging the water supply in an effort to "cull the human surplus".

James Lovelock, perpetrator of the crackpot "Gaia Hypothesis" has demanded that democracy "be put on hold" and that "a few people with authority" should run the planet. Author Keith Farnish openly calls for acts of sabotage and environmental terrorism, including blowing up dams and demolishing cities to return the planet to an Agrarian Age and rid the world of Industrial Civilization. The disgraced and discredited NASA "scientist" Dr. James Hansen endorses Farnish's ideas.

Almost unbelievably, Watson and Jones report that a Dr. Eric R. Pianka, a biologist at the University of Texas in Austin, has expressed the "need" to exterminate 90% of the world's population through an airborne ebola virus. "The reaction," they report in horror, "from ... scientists and professors in attendance was not one of shock or revulsion; they stood and applauded Pianka's call for mass genocide."

These are the vile creatures in positions of leadership today in academia and government, and it's only the tip of a very big, very dirty iceberg. For Watson and Jones' whole PrisonPlanet story—and more motivation than you needed to keep your powder dry—go to: [here]

If individuals were free to move onto land presently controlled by governments, and to employ technologies abhorred by the psychopathic Luddites and would-be genocides among us, no rational individual would ever worry about "overpopulation" again. The present population of the planet—six billion people—could fit, standing room only, into Rhode Island. In Connecticut, they could sit down. In the long run, the object must be to let those who want to, move off the planet into space, to other bodies, first in the Solar System, then among the stars.

A second reason to own guns—and to carry them with you at all times—is the matter of personal self-defense. Violent crime rates in America, which had been on the rise for decades, collapsed in double digits when individuals began to ignore gun laws, to ignore carry laws, and the states were forced to hop for their lives to get out in front again. It's now common knowledge—it was almost from the beginning—that 9/11 would never even have been planned if the Second Amendment rights of those airline passengers had been left unmolested.

Likewise, bloody incidents like the one at Columbine High School are the result, not of too many guns, but of too few. Personal self- defense must not be interfered with in the nation's airports or its schools.

If anybody still wants to argue with you that armed passengers endanger an airplane, there are plenty of self-defense experts who know how to solve minor problems associated with that—including yours truly, in the novels The Probability Broach and The Venus Belt. Be sure you ask the doubters—and demand an answer, because they'll flop and squirm like a freshly-boated marlin to avoid it—how a .357 Magnum revolver or a .45 automatic could possibly place an airplane and its passengers in greater danger than flying it into the side of a skyscraper—or letting the Air Force shoot it down (yes, that's the kindly, humane, official plan) because they think it's been hijacked.

Even given the most charitable interpretation, victim disarmament, for many of its advocates, is no more than an infantile attempt to deny and evade the responsibilities inherent in self-ownership. Oddly, the relationship involved is asymmetrical. While an armed aggressor can completely overpower an unarmed victim, putting a gun in the hands of a potential victim—even (or especially) a small female potential victim—seems to do considerably more than even up the odds. An armed aggressor will often retreat from an armed defender, just as—according to scientists who study such things—an animal defending its own territory is several times as effective as any would-be invader.

In about 95% of cases studied, it isn't even necessary to fire a shot.

Even if guns did cause crime (which they do—the way that flies cause garbage), even if the violent crime rate were to increase directly or even exponentially with the number of such weapons in private hands, that would not affect in any way my individual right—or yours—to own and carry them. To maintain otherwise is an act of collectivism totally foreign—alien—to the traditional American outlook.

The third reason to defend personal weapons may seem trivial at first, but I assure you it is not. It is exactly the same reason that some individuals may collect coins or stamps, Rembrandts or Picassos, Stradivarii or Stratocasters, Chippendale or Stickley: an intensely private, pure aesthetic, the simple joy of seeing, touching, using, possessing whatever you personally find beautiful, or just appreciate as a significant product of human genius answering dire or everyday necessity.

That joy—the satisfaction of possessing a Collier, a Colt, a Webley, a Smith & Wesson, a Broomhandle Mauser, a Luger, a Glock, or a Schwarzlose (rifles and shotguns are nice, too)—is a prime target, as well, of the bloodless, fleshless, inorgasmic zombies who would be our absolute slaveholders, and it should never, ever be minimized or overlooked.

Just take a glance—it doesn't even have to be a close one—at a typical member of the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the Center for Science in the Public Interest. What they are inside shows in their strained, pasty faces and nervous gestures. They want our lives to be as miserable as theirs, and they will stop at nothing to have their way.

Those who hunger after power over the lives of other human beings crave it only because they feel they have no power over—and are incapable of experiencing any joy of—their own lives. Deep down inside, in the seething cauldron of bitter dread and self-loathing that serves them as a soul, they desperately hope that controlling others may give them what they can't find within themselves. But history clearly demonstrates that what they suffer is a cancer of the heart and mind that can never be satisfied, and for which there is no cure.

Don't give them an inch. Don't give them an Angstrom unit.

Any compromise with evil is still evil.

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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 more than 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 is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


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