WS>> Why Did it Have to be ... Guns?

Carl cwsiv_2nd at HOTPOP.COM
Thu Jul 28 09:51:14 MDT 2005


                       by L. Neil Smith
                     lneil at

  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 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 you.

  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

  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 him?

  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?

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