Before anyone proposes more gun control, he or she should know about a simple, deadly weapon 4 times as powerful as Dirty Harry's legendary .44 Magnum -- and at least twice as concealable -- that can't be controlled.
This simple, deadly weapon can be made by anyone—even a child—with unpowered hand tools in an hour's time using $5 worth of materials, most of which are available around the house anyway. In traditional form it's reusable an unlimited number of times, and modern plastics have rendered its disposable version electronically undetectable. You can clear a room with such a weapon (more of a hand-held directional grenade than a gun—sort of a recycleable Claymore mine) and it's just one of hundreds of similar time-proven designs.
Complete instructions for building this simple, deadly weapon could be given in half the space I'm using here and not require a single illustration. Or it could be done as a line-drawing and not require a word. Either way, the results would Xerox splendidly and reduce, for effortless distribution, to the size of a 3X5 card.
No, I'm not making this up.
Self-styled liberal academics and politicians generally suffer an ancient Greek prejudice against the manual trades and often fail to comprehend what it means, with respect to banning weapons, that we're a nation of basement lathe-operators. Americans unknowingly tend to follow Mohammed's precept that, whatever a person's station in life, he or she should also do something manual, if only to stay grounded in reality. And if there's any lingering doubt about the ease of basic weaponscraft, ask the Israelis who, early in their nation's history, turned out submachineguns little more complicated than what I'm discussing here, in automotive garages lacking even a lathe.
Civilized restraint precludes my describing the weapon in any greater detail here. Many gun enthusiasts will know by now exactly what I refer to, anyway. It's in everyday use in much of the Third World, especially where governments foolishly believe that they've outlawed weapons. But that, of course, is impossible—unless the same governments want to try repealing the last 1000 years of civil engineering.
Now suppose somebody went ahead and wrote out those easy-to-follow instructions, made that line drawing, or simply Xeroxed it from any of 100 sources already in print. Suppose the plans for a reusable, undetectable weapon 4 times as powerful as a .44 Magnum and twice as concealable began circulating on every junior high school campus in America. Or suppose they were simply sent to the media who can never resist giving viewers step-by-step directions for committing a crime—even as they bemoan the terribleness of it all.
So what, you say. So this: within hours, every self-styled liberal academic and politician extant would begin to weep, wail, and whimper (the only thing they're really good at) and before the media-amplified screaming was over—but after the legislature had met—we'd find that the rights protected by the First Amendment (not created or granted, mind you, only recognized and guaranteed) are no more secure than those supposedly protected by the Second. Free expression would be trampled under without another thought or a moment's hesitation by the same jackals, vultures, and hyenas currently leading the stampede to outlaw weapons—using exactly the same excuses.
When Xerox machines are outlawed, only outlaws will have Xerox machines.
Human rights are indivisible because there's really only one—the right to remain unmolested by the government or by anybody else. Those who threaten one right threaten them all—and aren't really "liberals" by any definition of the word. Suppressing the human right to own and carry weapons is a step toward suppressing the human right to read, write, and think. Ask Canadians, for whom censorship is a fact of daily life, and for whom certain "assault" books (many of them published by Paladin Press) are on the "hafta smuggle it in" list.
The same thing can and will happen here. Haven't we had ample warning in the way self-styled liberals, assisted by the corrupt media, suppress their opposition on these and other issues? Or in their willingness to present lies as truth while the truth is called a lie? Or in the fact that elected officials who advocate gun control—which is a felony—are still at large instead of behind bars where they belong? The very existence of a gun control lobby gives the lie to any claim they make to liberalism. The word "liberal" itself is false advertising, and the question arises, why do we go on applying it when the word "fascist" is so much more appropriate?
A popular bumper sticker proclaims that "GUN CONTROL IS PEOPLE CONTROL". More to the point, and far more sinister, gun control is MIND control. The relationship only begins with ludicrous attempts by self-styled liberals to convince a population protected by the Second Amendment that the Bill of Rights doesn't mean what it says. Weapons consist of more than machined steel or wood, cast aluminum or plastic. As John M. Browning or Sam Colt would tell you, their second-most vital component is an idea. (The first, for better or worse, is the will to use them.) Without that idea behind it, all the steel, wood, aluminum, and plastic in the world doesn't make a weapon.
Those who would outlaw weapons must first outlaw the knowledge of weapons. And those who would outlaw the knowledge of weapons must outlaw knowledge itself.
Similarly, civilization consists of more than just impressive public buildings and a battery of arbitrary rules. Its continued existence depends absolutely on the day-to-day good will of each and every individual. History (especially recent Soviet history) proves that this good will depends on how well individual rights are respected. Alienate the individual, lose his good will, and you lose civilization itself.
Think I exaggerate? Take another look at Beirut, Los Angeles, or the World Trade Center.
Every day we learn again how dependent we've been all along on individual self-restraint. Self-styled liberals label this lesson "terrorism" because it makes them feel better and helps them to forget until tomorrow. But it doesn't matter what they call it. In sufficient numbers, disaffected individuals become armies of chaos, reducing whole civilizations to archaeological rubble. And, as with most violence in our culture, it is self-styled liberals who will make it happen here.
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.
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