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Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 00:57:20 -0500
To: email@example.com (Matthew Gaylor)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Gaylor)
Subject: WHY GUNS? -- by L. Neil Smith --
From: "L. Neil Smith" <email@example.com>
Subject: Please Pass It On ...
-- by L. Neil Smith --
From the "Webley Page" <http://webley.zq.com/lneil/>
Over the past 30 years, I've been paid to write almost two
million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the
issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I've thought about the
issue a lot, and it has _always_ determined the way I vote.
People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single-issue
thinker, and a single-issue voter, but it isn't true. What I've
chosen, in a world where there's never enough time and energy, is to
focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably
demonstrates what any politician -- or political philosophy -- is
made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.
Make no mistake: all politicians -- even those ostensibly on
the side of guns and gun ownership -- hate the issue and anyone,
like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because
because it's an X-ray machine. It's a Vulcan mind-meld. It's the
ultimate test to which any politician -- or political philosophy --
can be put.
If a politician isn't perfectly comfortable with the idea of his
average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking
into a hardware store and paying cash -- for any rifle, shotgun,
handgun, machinegun, _anything_ -- without producing ID or signing
one scrap of paper, he isn't your _friend_ no matter what he tells
If he isn't genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent
stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a
coat and walking home without asking anybody's permission, he's a
four-flusher, no matter what he claims.
What his attitude -- toward your ownership and use of weapons --
conveys is his real attitude about _you_. And if he doesn't trust
you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust
If he doesn't want you to have the means of defending your life,
do you want him in a position to control it?
If he makes excuses about obeying a law he's sworn to uphold and
defend -- the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights -- do you
want to entrust him with _anything_?
If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or
defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil -- like
"Constitutionalist" -- when you insist that he account for himself,
hasn't he betrayed his oath, isn't he unfit to hold office, and
doesn't he really belong in _jail_?
Sure, these are all leading questions. They're the questions
that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest
and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician --
or political philosophy -- is really made of.
He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who
shouldn't have a gun -- but what does that have to do with you? Why
in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for
the misdeeds of others? Didn't you lay aside the infantile notion
of group punishment when you left public school -- or the military?
Isn't it an essentially European notion, anyway -- Prussian, maybe
-- and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?
And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense
to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them?
Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is
about _you_, and it has been, all along.
Try it yourself: if a politician won't trust you, why should
you trust him? If he's a man -- and you're not -- what does his
lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If
"he" happens to be a _woman_, what makes her so perverse that she's
eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy
streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she
says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health
care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn't want
you to have?
On the other hand -- or the other party -- should you believe
anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag
their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to
own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real
motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group
trade agreement after another with other countries?
Makes voting simpler, doesn't it? You don't have to study every
issue -- health care, international trade -- all you have to do is
use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their
empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you.
And that, of course, is why they hate it.
And that's why I'm accused of being a single-issue writer,
thinker, and voter.
But it isn't true, is it?
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of _Bretta Martyn_, _The
Probability Broach_, _The Crystal Empire_, _Henry Martyn_, _The Lando
Calrissian Adventures_, and _Pallas_. He is also an NRA Life Member
and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus.
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