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by L. Neil Smith

September 18, 2001


The catastrophic events of the morning of September 11, 2001 are being described now as unprecedented in American or world history, although comparisons have been made to the morning of December 7, 1941.

What came to my mind, however, once the bleakly undeniable fact had penetrated to the depths of my being, that the events I was seeing were neither movie special effects nor some kind of horrible accident, was another "day that will live in infamy", the morning of April 20, 1999, the date of the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado.

There are similarities. Both were despicable acts of criminality or terrorism (and there are fewer distinctions between the two in my mind than there may be in the minds of others) carried out by a small number of sociopaths or fanatics (ditto) against innocent and helpless individuals.

Both were -- and are still being -- mercilessly exploited by the carrion-eating mass media, partly, it is to be charitably assumed, for the sake of ratings and advertising revenue, but primarily for the benefit of socialist politicians and the evil, despotic, anti-freedom agenda that they -- both mass media and politicians -- unswervingly serve.

But the most important resemblance that the two events, Columbine and Bloody Tuesday, bear to one another is that both had precisely the same cause: illegal denial by the government of the fundamental rights of ordinary people -- particularly the right enumerated by the Second Amendment -- the unalienable, individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right of every man, woman, and responsible child to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon, rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything, any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.

I said it at the time: Columbine happened, not because there were too many guns at the school that day, but because there were too few. Twelve people died because there were too few guns, and now the same error has cost the lives of five thousand unique, irreplaceable human beings. This is the price we've paid -- the butcher's bill -- for gun control. And now it's plain for anyone to see, in letters of fire written across the sky, why the proper name for gun control is victim disarmament.

Something else is plain, as well. The claim governments have been making for six thousand years that they protect us -- at an enormous and increasing cost to us in money and freedom (which is why the claim has to be made) -- has now been proven by both of these events, beyond any possible lingering shadow of a doubt, to be utterly, murderously fraudulent.

Over just the past two hundred years, we have paid out trillions in taxation, sacrificed our liberties as well as those of our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, for exactly nothing. For worse than nothing, in terms of the lives that could have been saved (not to mention what some of those lives might have accomplished) if they had not been cruelly and illegally denied adequate tools for self-defense.

This time, it's gone too far. This time, the malignant con-game of government protection has deprived our civilization of more than 5000 precious lives, snuffed out on a single day because there was no one -- and no tools -- to stop the killers. And what do the con-men -- the mass media and the politicians, their vile fingers still dripping with the blood of their innocent and helpless victims -- want to give us now to make up for that? Less freedom, of course, and more government protection!

A diffuse threat, whether it's everyday crime or terrorism, can only be deflected by a diffuse defense -- like a well-armed citizenry. Until the 20th century (with occasional shameful exceptions here and there) the fundamental right of Americans to carry weapons on their persons was unquestioned, and until the 20th century crime was so rare that even to this day we remember the names of individual 19th century criminals.

Does anybody doubt now that a single, determined individual, armed with a five-shot .38 (let alone a high-capacity semiautomatic pistol in a larger caliber) could easily have defeated a handful of fanatics wielding box-cutters, preventing the destruction of the World Trade Center?

Does anybody doubt now that certain knowledge on the part of such fanatics -- that individuals regularly fly with weapons like that under their jackets or in their purses -- would have prevented the thought of hijacking commercial aircraft from ever entering their minds?

We see the effect every day: initially in Florida, where a small change in the law, making it slightly easier for people to carry guns, cut violent crime by forty percent; in other states that have followed suit with similar results; in Vermont -- the safest state in America -- because it is the only state that acts lawfully, in accord with the Bill of Rights, and has no law, and never did, against carrying whatever you want, whenever and wherever you want, in any way you want.

The simple, undeniable fact is that both events, Columbine and Bloody Tuesday, would have happened very differently or -- what's far more likely -- never have happened at all, if the right of individuals to own and carry weapons had been stringently and energetically enforced.

That's why, no matter how bizarre or radical the proposition may sound to an ignorant and frightened majority, indoctrinated all their lives by the public school system and the socialist mass media, it's necessary to insist -- to demand -- that, instead of this stampede to fascism we see all around us, the Bill of Rights be enforced. We must continue to insist -- and continue to demand -- until it is inevitable that the Bill of Rights will indeed be enforced, if not sooner, then later.

If sooner, then that will be wonderful. The Fourth of July will mean what it did once again, and December 15th -- Bill of Rights Day -- will be something to celebrate, as well. Fireworks on new-fallen snow.

But if it's later, then those who presently stand in the way of it being sooner must eventually find themselves being prosecuted, both for illegal suppression of the rights of the American people, and for aiding and abetting, before the fact, the murderous criminality of creatures like Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and the World Trade Center hijackers.

And any politician or bureaucrat -- especially any member of the media -- who advocates restricting the rights of Americans (or anyone else, for that matter) using as an excuse the atrocities of Bloody Tuesday, should be viewed in the same light as those who perpetrated them.

L. NEIL SMITH is the award-winning author of more than 20 novels about individual liberty and the right to own and carry weapons. Read more than 80 articles and speeches: buy LEVER ACTION: ESSAYS ON LIBERTY, for $21.95+$6 S&H from

Order Neil's latest novel, HOPE (with Aaron Zelman), get free stuff and a special offer: click on: or read about MAKING A MOVIE OF The Mitzvah the action-adventure thriller by Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith -- and maybe even help get it done! -- click on

Watch for L. Neil Smith's long-awaited THE AMERICAN ZONE plus a new trade paperback edition of The Probability Broach from Tor Books, respectively, in November and December, 2001.

AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of Lever Action, Hope, Forge of the Elders, Henry Martyn, and a few others (sorry, supplies of The Mitzvah are sold out) are available from the author. For details, write to Neil at


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The right of the people to keep and bear...arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country... James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789.

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