Thursday, May 29, 2014

Silly Mundane -- "Civil Rights" are for Killer Cops

The United States Constitution, as Seattle police officers pretend to understand it, extends to police an unqualified right to the discretionary use of aggressive force, and prohibits “second-guessing” by those who are not members of the State's coercive caste. 

Inhibiting the exercise of that entitlement, the officers claim in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Justice Department and the City of Seattle, would be a “violation of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.”

In 2012, after a Justice Department investigation concluded that Seattle police officers routinely use unnecessary force, the City of Seattle implemented a new use-of-force policy and agreed to the creation of an independent police monitor. The current lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of more than 100 Seattle cops, complains that those trivial and inadequate restrictions created “vaguely defined, newly protected classes of suspects” and violate the officers' supposed “right not to be required to take unnecessary risks.”

An “unnecessary” risk, on this construction, would occur any time a police officer is required to use “significantly less force than is being threatened against them by suspects … [who] appear to be or are engaged in threatening and dangerous conduct.” (Emphasis added.) Police are trained to believe that they put their lives at risk  in every encounter with a citizen, and to regard any gesture of non-compliance as an immediate and impermissible risk to that most sacred of all considerations, “officer safety.”

At present, in most of the country a police officer who brutalizes or kills somebody without moral justification can take refuge in the “totality of circumstances” test. In practice, this is nothing less than an unalloyed entitlement to kill first, and devise a suitable rationale after the fact. 

Seattle's new use-of-force guidelines, the police lawsuit objects, require officers – who, as a class, are selected on the basis of limited intellectual agility – “to engage in mental gymnastics wholly unreasonable in the light of the dangerous and evolving circumstances we face every day. This creates unnecessary and, therefore, unconstitutional risks to Plaintiffs' safety.”

Just as unconscionable, from the cops' perspective, is the fact that their violent actions would be subject to what they call “the very second-guessing prohibited by the Constitution” – that is, their actions would be scrutinized by people who are not part of their privileged class. This distant possibility of accountability “places unconstitutional risks and burdens on the Plaintiffs' lives and livelihood,” pouts the civil complaint.

Those unacceptable risks can be avoided, of course, if police officers unwilling to deal with the modest dangers associated with that vocation would pursue other employment. The vexatious and complicated conditions imposed by official “use-of-force” guidelines would be unnecessary if police officers were subject to the same non-aggression standard that applies to everybody else. But extracting aggressive violence from law enforcement would be as futile as attempting to dehydrate water. 
John T. Williams, prior to being "protected and served."
The use-of-force approach preferred by the Seattle police plaintiffs was displayed in the August 30, 2010 murder of John T. Williams on a street corner by Officer Ian Birk. 

Williams, a partially deaf, 50-year-old alcoholic woodcarver who suffered from psychological problems, was shot four times by Birk within a few seconds of the encounter.

Birk claimed that he had been "threatened" by Williams, who was carrying two small, closed knives at the time of the incident. The
autopsy, however, documented that Williams wasn't facing Birk when he was shot: The officer approached him from behind and to the right, and Williams was shot in the right side of his body from an estimated distance of about ten feet. In addition to being partially deaf, Williams was wearing headphones at the time he was killed

The victim’s non-cooperation, which was interpreted by Birk as hostility, most likely meant that he never heard the demand to drop his carving knife. Since the knives were legal under Seattle’s municipal code, Birk’s demand was not a “lawful order” in any sense. 

In his testimony, Birk mentioned that he and other police are taught the "21-foot rule," which dictates that a knife-wielding subject should be considered a lethal threat within the prescribed distance. Williams was carrying two small knives, but he wasn’t “wielding” them.  Rather than moving aggressively toward Birk, Williams was walking away from the officer: Birk said under oath that "I motioned for him to come over and talk to me. He walked away.”

During the January 2011 inquest into the shooting, Birk stated that he gunned down John T. Williams on a Seattle street corner because he didn't like the way the 50-year-old chronic alcoholic looked at him.

Play-acting and perjury: Birk on the stand.
"He had a very stern, very serious, very confrontational look on his face," Birk testified during the inquest. “His brow was furrowed.... His jaws were set.” 

Birk’s description of Williams as displaying a countenance like that of the legendary Celtic warrior Cu Chulain (whose “eyes were dark, his expression sullen”) wasn’t confirmed by any of the several non-police eyewitnesses. 

Although Birk and his defenders invoked the “reasonable officer” standard to justify the killing, no reasonable person would have considered Williams a threat to Birk. We know this because there were several reasonable people who witnessed the incident, none of whom perceived the pathetic man to pose a risk to anybody. This is because none of them had ben indoctrinated to perceive even a momentary lack of cooperation by a Mundane as a "pre-attack indicator," or marinated in the conceit that officer safety always and everywhere trumps every other moral or practical consideration.

 “Why did you shoot him? He wasn’t doing anything!” exclaimed one woman after Birk killed Williams.
It took just seconds for Birk to escalate an incidental encounter to the point of homicide. His reflexive reaction was to kill someone who was demonstrably harmless – and the programmed response of the first fellow officer on the scene was to commend Birk for doing so. Officer William Collins, who arrived in response to Birk’s “shots fired” report, told him, seconds after the killing, that he had done a "good job." All that Collins knew at the time was that a fellow member of the punitive caste had just killed a Mundane -- and that's all he needed to know. No “second-guessing” would be necessary, or allowed.

the January shooting inquest, Seattle police brutality lawyer Tim Ford asked Collins if a closed knife constitutes a threat to "officer safety." A closed knife is "a major threat," Collins insisted, "just as big as an open knife.... It's extremely dangerous, and you have to treat the person with utmost caution.... [I]f you don't drop it, you may be shot" -- even if it is closed at the time, the officer maintained. 

“We don't get paid enough to be hurt,” simpered Collins on the witness stand.

Detective Jeff Mudd, who also testified at the inquest, also applauded Birk's decision: "We're trained to shoot people who pose a threat to us."

The alleged “threat” posed by Williams consisted of a dirty look the decrepit old alcoholic had supposedly given a young, healthy, but lethally craven police officer. 
Birk resigned after the Seattle PD’s firearms review board ruled that the killing of Williams was “unjustified and out of policy.” Police Chief John Diaz referred to Birk’s actions as unjustified and “egregious.” Therefore it was an act of criminal homicide, correct? Not according to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who declined to file charges. Significantly, the Obama-Holder Justice Department, which devised the new use-of-force standard that is supposedly suffocating the bold and valiant officers of the Seattle Police Department, also refused to file civil rights charges against Birk.

Seattle-area tax victims were forced to pay a $1.5 million settlement to the family of John T. Williams. The only “punishment” Birk received for the unlawful killing was his compelled resignation from the police force. According to the plaintiffs in the Seattle police lawsuit – who, remarkably, are not being supported by the local police union – this was an atrocious violation of Birk’s civil rights.

Most people believe that the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect citizens against abuses of their rights by government officials. The incurably self-preoccupied people behind the Seattle police lawsuit apparently believe that the Bill of Rights exists to emancipate law enforcement officers from restrictions on the use of lethal force, and immunize them against legal, civil, and professional accountability when they kill people without legal justification. 

Dum spiro, pugno!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Why Isn't Dana Rohrabacher in Prison?

If the United States Government were governed by the laws it makes for the rest of us, California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher would be in prison. More specifically, he would be in open-ended military custody without judicial remedy of any kind.

Rohrabacher was among the 230 Congressmen who recently voted to preservea measure permitting the indefinite detention, without trial, of US citizens accused of providing “material support” to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
That vote, dealing with an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Washington Democrat Adam Smith, took place on May 22. In a Twitter exchange a few days later, Rohrabacher publicly admitted to acts that make him a fine candidate for arrest and military detention under the NDAA. 

A poseur, not a fighter: Dana (r) with the proto-Taliban.
For decades, Rohrabacher has been a prominent supporter of radical Islamist terrorist organizations allied with the CIA – from elements of the Afghan Mujahadeen in the 1980s to the bizarre Iranian Islamo-Leninist cult called the People’s Mujhadeen (or MEK). 

Any group “that actively opposes Soviets and Nazis and [radical] Islam is good enough for me,” Rohrabacher insisted in a Twitter message after I confronted him about his record. As it happens, Rohrabacher managed to support a group that actually managed to combine all three of those characteristics. 

On July 23, 2001 Rohrabacher was a featured guest speaker at a fundraising dinner in Edgewater, New Jersey for the Albanian-American Civic League, a political front group for the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA.  That event took place about fifteen miles from the World Trade Center, where – about six weeks later – thousands of people would be murdered in a terrorist act reportedly carried out by allies of the KLA. 

In the years leading up to the US-led 78-day terror bombing of Serbia in 1999, the CIA cultivated the KLA as an asset, despite the fact that it was recognized as an al-Qaeda-connected terrorist group by the State Department and numerous European intelligence agencies. After the NATO-coordinated bombing campaign forced Serbia to relinquish Kosovo, Washington installed the KLA as the government of the breakaway province. 

The KLA’s ancestry is divided between Stalinists and the Albanian “Skanderbeg” SS division, which rounded up Pristina’s Jewish population before carrying out a campaign of rape and murder of the province’s Serbian population. This pedigree made the KLA something akin to the turducken of terrorism – Communists stuffed into Nazis wrapped in Islamic radicalism. However unpalatable this combination may be to decent and civilized people, Rohrabacher found it to be delectable. 

Defending the terrorist group and his support for it, the Congressman made the remarkable – and entirely unverifiable– claim that “Kosovo sent troops after 9-11 to help [America] fight bin Ladin and [radical] Islam.” This would suggest that in the future the KLA will come into possession of time-travel technology: It wasn’t until 2010 that the government of UN-administered province had its own internal security force, and to date it still doesn’t have an army
Al-Qaeda's American front: KLA volunteers in Yonkers, New York.
When this was pointed out to Rohrabacher, the Congressman blithely replied that if someone could provide him with “a source claiming Kosovo did not send [a] contingent” to Afghanistan, he would “admit that my memory was wrong” – as if the burden were on reasonable people to disprove his unsubstantiated claims.  

More recently, Rohrabacher was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Iranian MEK, which began its life in 1965 as part of the Soviet-sponsored international terrorist network. During the late 1970s, the MEK carried out terrorist acts in which U.S. citizens were killed. It also took part in the1979 siege of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, during which 52 U.S. citizens were taken hostage for 444 days. 

In 1981, the MEK – which was part of the coalition that brought Khomeni to power -- was expelled from Iran by the Ayatollah and sought refuge in Iraq, where it allied itself with Saddam Hussein. MEK cadres participated in cross-border raids in support of Saddam’s U.S.-abetted invasion of Iran. 

American victims of the MEK, 1975.
The MEK’s official doctrine, explained Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations (hardly an “isolationist” group) in congressional testimony, fuses Islamic “values” with Marxist ideology: “From Lenin they embraced the importance of a vanguard party committed to mass mobilization, and from Third World revolutionaries they took the primacy of guerilla warfare as indispensable agents of political change.”

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration rebuffed an offer from Tehran to exchange al-Qaeda suspects in Iranian captivity for MEK operatives in “liberated” Iraq. Since that time, MEK agents have been used to carry out terrorist attacks in Iran, and the group’s sensationalistic claims about the Iranian nuclear program have been retailed by Washington’s propaganda apparatus

Until September 2012, the MEK was inscribed on the State Department’s official roster of international terrorist organizations. Prior to that time, under federal statutes, it was considered a felony to provide “material assistance” of any kind to the organization – which can include agitating for the State Department to repeal the group’s designation as a terrorist organization. 

(Click to enlarge.)
Rohrabacher’s defense of the MEK reads like a variation on WWII-era Popular Front propaganda. Insisting that the MEK has “changed,” he points out that “Iran’s Mullahs target [the] MEK [for] death,” which illustrates one occupational hazard of being part of a murderous Islamo-Leninist cult. 

Those who don’t leap to the defense of the MEK “side with [the] Mullahs,” declares Rohrabacher in a rhetorical flourish worthy of a petulant High School sophomore. Not surprisingly, Rohrabacher is willing to take the side of terrorists as long they direct their violence at people who oppose Washington’s imperial foreign policy.

During an April 17, 2007 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights, European legislators and human rights activists offered testimony condemning the Bush administration’s practice of “extraordinary rendition. This is the extra-judicial kidnapping of suspected terrorists, who were imprisoned and tortured within the CIA’s global archipelago of “black sites.” 

Rohrabacher’s view was that anybody seized and interrogated by the CIA should be considered subject to summary execution without due process – a position that anticipated the Obama Regime’s “targeted killing” program.
Rohrabacher’s arrogance and hostility prompted heckling from a handful of protesters in the audience. This, in turn, provoked a bilious eruption from the fetid depths of whatever substitutes for Rohrabacher’s soul: “I hope it’s your family members that die when terrorists strike.” 

When I challenged Rohrabacher about that comment, his first reaction was to whine that he is the victim of a “lie the left uses because it doesn’t want to honestly debate the points I actually make.” He then admitted to wishing death on people who opposed Washington’s global system of abduction and torture, which he considers appropriate punishment for such improper thinking.

 “That they feel [the] impact of what they advocate [would] not [be] bad,” the Congressman told me. The violence Rohrabacher wishes on his political opponents would actually be the lethal blowback from policies that he has advocated. 

To Rohrabacher, defending the rule of law and due process as applied to suspected terrorists is akin to treason – as is refusing to support actual terrorist groups when they are retained as assets of the U.S. government.

When talk radio bulimics fall prey to ideological double-think of this kind, the results are disagreeable but not particularly harmful. Owing to Rohrabacher’s position, however, his delusions have played a significant role in visiting destruction and death on hundreds of thousands of people in distant countries, and he expects those who have survived his eccentric brand of humanitarianism to be abjectly grateful for the attention lavished on them by Washington.

During a 2011 visit to Iraq, Rohrabacher – his Chickenhawk plumage on full display – insisted that Iraqis area indebted to the United States forthe invasion and occupation that left their country a shattered ruin. Noting that the U.S. is mired in an ever-deepening economic downturn – brought on, in large measure, by decades of militarism and imperial meddling abroad – the Congressman demanded that “some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars we have spent here…. We could certainly use some people to care about our situation as we have cared about theirs.”

Taken literally, Rohrabacher’s suggestion would require that some large, wealthy foreign power – such as China, perhaps – invade and occupy the United States after imposing a murderous-decade-long economic embargo to soften us up. That’s the same kind of “caring” Washington inflicted on the Iraqis, who understandably weren’t interested in paying for that supposed privilege. 

In fairness to Rohrabacher, the demand he made of the Iraqis displayed a certain consistency between his abhorrent public policy views and the squalid conduct of his private affairs.

In August 2012, Rohrabacher moved out of a luxurious Costa Mesa rental home, stiffing the landlord out of a week’s rent. After moving in, the Congressman had changed the locks and prevented the owner, Robert Polyniak, from carrying out agreed-upon annual inspections. When the landlord’s girlfriend, Darlene Whitsell, finally gained access to the abandoned home, she found that it had been well and thoroughly trashed.

“Massive black stains and muck covered the carpet throughout the home,” recounted the Orange County Weekly. “Sticky grime encased damaged, rusted appliances…. Walls inexplicably contained odd holes, nail polish, and some smelly substance that may have been feces…. A second-floor suite used by Dana’s wife, Rhonda, as her bedroom contained a huge, mysterious, lubricant-like stain – something you might expect on the floor of a Hollywood sex club – that had seeped through thick carpet and padding to tarnish a hardwood floor.” 
An example of what greeted Dana's landlord.
Repairing the damage cost nearly $26,000. Polyniak deducted Rohrabacher’s $6,700 security deposit and sent him a bill for the remainder. A year later, the Congressman – who had already stiffed Polyniak out of a portion of the last month’s rent – filed a lawsuit against the landlord, demanding $21,000 for not refunding his full security deposit. 

Rohrabacher’s occupancy of Polyniak’s property was a microcosm of the US occupation of Iraq – and in both cases he seems to think that the occupier is entitled to compensation from the victim. 

The political class consists largely of people unfit for civilized company, and among his reprehensible peers Rohrabacher has distinguished himself. Assuming that prison cells should exist, Dana Rohrabacher richly deserves to occupy one, not only for abetting terrorism and mass murder but also in the interests of public hygiene.

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eeek! An Armed Citizen!

Guns in the wrong hands: A member of the coercive caste harasses an armed citizen.


The right to buy weapons is the right to be free. – A.E. van Vogt, "The Weapon Shops of Isher"

The presence of a single, non-violent citizen openly carrying a firearm is sufficient to cause panic in people habituated to the evil idea that only state functionaries should be armed. So acutely alarmed  do such people become that their first reaction is to call the police, thereby inviting the intervention of additional armed strangers who – owing to the indoctrination they've received, and the “qualified immunity” they enjoy – are immeasurably more dangerous than the first.

The actual presence of armed citizens is not necessary to induce a panic among hoplophobes. All that is required is public discussion of the right to armed self-defense.

On May 16, the Idaho Republican Liberty Caucus and the Boise State University chapter of Students for Liberty sponsored an event at the BSU Student Union building devoted to the right to keep and bear arms. 

The featured speaker that evening was Dick Heller, a resident of Washington, D.C. whose lawsuit resulted in a Supreme Court ruling recognizing (albeit ambiguously) that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms. (Full disclosure: I was also on the program as one of several preliminary speakers.)

Unfortunately, the event was sparsely attended, which isn't all that surprising for a Friday evening during graduation season. In fact, the police officers deployed outside the auditorium nearly equaled in number those who attended the speech.

Just hours before the event, BSU officials demanded that the sponsors pay an additional $510 to hire extra security in the form of 20 additional police officers, who were on hand for the specific purpose of harassing any attendee who was exercising the right being discussed and celebrated at the event.

The Idaho Statesman reported that the police had been sent to watch “for people trying to open carry guns into the Special Events Center,” and to turn away any armed citizen who refused to divest himself of his weapon.

“Boise State's policy prohibits guns on university grounds,” observed the Statesman, dutifully – and, I'll warrant, thoughtlessly – retailing an official lie: That policy only applies to members of the non-coercive segment of society, who are prohibited from carrying guns on campus.
At least they didn't bring their MRAP.
BSU's administration thus did its part, however modest, to advance the Progressive vision in which the most dangerous elements of society – private criminals and public agents of state-authorized violence – would cartelize firearms ownership. 

That cartel is a very unequal partnership: The state's privileged purveyors of officially sanctioned violence pose a far deadlier threat to the lives and property of the innocent than do their private sector counterparts.

Taken together, all of the non-state criminal syndicates known to history have failed to compile a body count that represents a significant fraction of the death toll compiled by governments in the 20th Century. Yet advocates of civilian disarmament – which is the expression honest people use to describe what collectivists call “gun control” – are perversely determined to provide the most dangerous element of society with a monopoly on the use of force.

All political constitutions are designed to ensnare the kind of earnest and credulous people who believe such documents can restrain the ambitions of those who consider themselves entitled to exercise authority over others. People who display such pathological impulses generally won't allow constitutional “limits” on their powers to interfere with their plans for the rest of us.

However, just as Stalin preferred to hold public trials and extract confessions from people he was going to execute in any case, those who are determined to disarm the American public would prefer to exercise “legal” authority in doing so. This explains a proposal by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to subtract rights by adding five words to the Second Amendment: “...when serving in the militia.”

Stevens, a long-time opponent of the right to armed self-defense, insists that proponents of armed self-defense misrepresent the clear intention of the Framers by saying that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own firearms. However, he also insists that the same Framers somehow neglected to make that intention clear in the plain language of that amendment. 

Exhibiting the peculiar generosity for which Progressives are renowned, Stevens has offered to fix the defects in the Framers' handiwork by re-writing it to reflect what he pretends is the true meaning of their words.

Thus he suggests that the phrase, “when serving in the Militia” should be added to the Second Amendment, which would then read: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

In this way, Stevens says, government would be able to enact measures “designed to minimize the slaughter caused by the prevalence of guns in private hands.”

Like most people of his persuasion, Stevens believes that firearms are endowed with peculiar properties: In the unhallowed hands of private citizens, they are implements of murder and mayhem, yet when touched by the blessed hands of the state's anointed enforcers they are transmuted into instruments of peace, harmony, and goodwill.

That point of view was expressed very candidly in “Armed to the Teeth: The World-Wide Plague of Small Arms,” a 2000 propaganda film produced by the United Nations.” In familiar fashion, the UN agitprop film retailed the sympathetic fallacy, depicting firearms as objects endowed with an innate capacity for malicious evil: “Small arms are not fussy about the company they keep. They can murder indiscriminately. The gun that killed in Africa can murder again in Latin America, or in Asia.”

Rational people understand that a gun is a tool that can be used to murder human beings, or used to defend the innocent. The UN's anti-gun film seemed to concede as much – while insisting that guns should be denied to everybody but designated agents of the state. Private ownership of firearms is “illegitimate,” the presentation insisted, and can only bring “insecurity, pain, suffering, and devastation.” The only “legal” firearms, the film insisted, are those “used by armies and police forces to protect us.”

This arrangement is part of what the UN describes as its program for “human security,” which envisions, among other things, “norms of non-possession” of guns by citizens. Each national government would claim and exercise a territorial monopoly on force, overseen by the UN's peacekeeping apparatus.

During the 2001 UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Isaac Lappia of Amnesty International's chapter in Sierra Leone offered one of the few dissenting voices regarding the world body's vision of “human security.”

In his address to the conference, Mr. Lappia pointed out that “small arms and light weapons” – that is, firearms that are commonly owned by private citizens – “are now the principal weapons” that are used “to facilitate serious crimes by law enforcement personnel – including police, prison authorities, paramilitaries, and the army – where they commit persistent human rights violations including torture, rape, `disappearances,' and arbitrary killings.”

Seven years before the UN held its first global civilian disarmament summit in 2001, the world body presided over a lurid demonstration of its “human security” program in central Africa. The result was the Rwandan genocide, in which between 800,000 and 1.1 million people were slaughtered over the course of 103 days. The indispensable prelude to that bloodletting was a UN-conducted mission to disarm all Rwandans except for the army, police forces, and government-aligned militias.

For decades, Rwanda had been the scene of cyclical inter-ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis. When the killing began in April 1994, the government was controlled by a “Hutu Power” faction. Obviously, most of the victims of were Tutsis, but the rampage also claimed quite a few Hutus who were seen as traitors by the “Hutu Power” regime.

The overwhelming majority of the victims were hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants. It is possible to outrun someone carrying a machete. However, behind the people armed with machetes stood agents of the government-aligned militia with machine guns.

“They take us from this building, this church,” recalled survivor Jeanne Niwemutusi, referring to the Hutu militias. “They have guns and knives and machetes, the people from the Government party, so we can't fight back. We don't have arms.”

Niwemutusi managed to survive because someone had broken the “law” by providing her with a hand grenade, which she used to frighten off several thugs who intended to hack her to pieces.

At least some of the citizens who participated in the defensive action acted in defiance of Nigeria's firearms laws, which – in keeping with UN mandates – established “norms of non-possession” by civilians.

Like armed citizen defense organizations that are coalescing in Mexico to deal with government-allied criminal bands, the Nigerians weren't willing to prolong the pretense that the police and military were interested in protecting them.

Advocates of civilian disarmament routinely perform arias of outrage over a social problem they dishonestly call “gun violence.” Properly defined, the problem is aggression, which has no necessary connection with morally neutral inanimate objects called guns. If “gun control” of some variety is to be undertaken, the proper approach would be to deny that tool to people who advertise their intention to commit aggressive violence – which is why police should be the first to be disarmed.

“A gun is not a defensive weapon,” insists Emeryville, California Police Chief Ken James, who is a prominent supporter of civilian disarmament. James, who strikes me as someone whose mind boggles easily, said that his mind is “boggled” by the idea that guns could serve a defensive purpose.

“That is a myth,” he continues. “A gun is an offensive weapon used to intimidate and used to show power. Police officers do not carry a gun as a defensive weapon to defend themselves or their other [sic] officers. They carry a gun in order to do their job in a safe and effective manner, and face any oppositions [sic] that we may come upon.”

Chief James’ candid assertion of the privilege to commit aggression underscores the wisdom of the arrangement described in A.E. van Vogt’s classic science fiction novella The Weapon Shops of Isher. That quasi-utopian story depicts a distant imperial future in which the dictatorial ambitions of the ruling empress are held at bay by armed citizens who enjoy a prohibitive advantage over the government’s police and military forces.

The guns designed by the weapon-makers of that era can destroy all matter within the range of its owner, which means that “whoever possesses one of our weapons is more than a match for any soldier of the empress,” a weapons maker proudly explains to a time-displaced visitor from the 20th Century. Understandably, he continued, “such a potent weapon cannot be allowed to fall, unmodified, into irresponsible hands. Accordingly, no gun purchased from us may be used for aggression or murder.” This is why no gangster, soldier, or police officer was permitted to obtain one.

The objective was “to ensure that no government every again obtained complete power over its people,” explains weapon maker Lucy Rall. “A man who felt himself wronged should be able to go somewhere to buy a defensive gun” – one that was indestructible, “tuned” in such a way it could only be operated for defensive purposes by its purchaser.

It wasn’t necessary that every individual be armed: “What counts is that many millions of people have the knowledge that they can go to a weapon shop if they want to protect themselves and their families. And, even more important, the forces that would normally try to enslave them are restrained by the conviction that it is dangerous to press people too far. And so a great balance has been struck between those who govern and those who are governed.”

That “balance” could be described thus: The “rulers” pretend to govern, and we allow them to indulge that fantasy as long as they don’t attempt to coerce others into playing along.

Regrettably, a personal energy weapon of the kind described in The Weapon Shop of Isher isn’t currently available. The advent of open source 3-D printed firearms does suggest, however, that ere long it will be impossible for aspiring rulers to impose a firearms monopoly.

That prospect should be as heartening to those who love freedom as it is horrifying to people, like the execrable Charles Schumer, who believe they have the right to rule others.
Tom Woods Show 

I recently had the tremendous honor of being interviewed by Dr. Tom Woods on his radio program. In addition to being one of our most significant contemporary scholars, Tom is a terrific guy and shares my enthusiasm for progressive rock. We discussed the evils of identity politics. 


If you can, please donate to help keep Pro Libertate on-line. Thanks, and God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!