AOH :: LEVER01.TXT|
More anti gun control by Neil Smith
The Atlanta Declaration: Every man, woman, and responsible child has a
natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and
Constitutional right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed,
any weapon -- handgun, shotgun, rifle, machinegun, \anything\ -- any
time, anywhere, without asking anyone's permission.
L. NEIL SMITH'S \LEVER ACTION\ LETTER NUMBER 01b
SUPPOSE YOU WERE FOND OF BOOKS ...
Suppose you were fond of books.
Suppose you liked their leather bindings, their fancy endpapers,
the way they speak of other times and places, the way they feel in your
hand. You even liked the way they smell.
Naturally you were aware that books are dangerous.
They give people ideas.
Over the long, sad course of history, they've resulted in the
slaughter of millions -- books like \Uncle Tom's Cabin, Das Kapital,
Mein Kampf\, even the Bible -- but you had too much intelligence, and too
much regard for the right of other people to read, write, and \think\
whatever they please, to blame the books themselves.
Now suppose someone came along who agreed with you: books are
dangerous --\and something ought to be done about it!\
Nothing you couldn't live with, of course: serial numbers should be
stamped inside them, a different number, not just in each kind of book,
not in each title or edition, \but in each and every individual\ book.
"We can keep track of 'em better that way."
"It'll help you get 'em back if they're stolen."
But wait ...
Isn't the right to freedom of expression, the right to create,
exchange, and collect books -- without a trace of government harassment --
to read, write, and \think\ whatever you please, supposed to be guaranteed
by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?
No matter who thinks it's wrong?
No matter how "sensible" their arguments may sound for taking that
You tried to defend your rights, but nobody would listen.
You appealed to the media. They were even more dependent on the Bill of
Rights than you were, and American journalism had always gloried in its self-
appointed role as watchdog over the rights of the individual.
But the truth was, during its long, self-congratulatory history, it was
a lot more like a cur caught bloody-muzzled time after time, savaging the
very flocks it had been trusted to protect.
You were alone.
You pointed out that books don't kill people, \people\ kill people.
They laughed at you and told you that people who read \books\ kill people.
Time passed ...
Still they weren't satisfied.
They wanted the numbers written down in record books.
They wanted your name written down beside the numbers.
Along with your address.
Your driver's license number.
"\Because we gotta right to know who's reading all these books!\"
Soon they were demanding that all book stores and dealers must be
Then they forbade you to buy books by mail, or in another state.
They passed a law requiring that your bookseller report you to the
government if you bought more than one book within a five day period.
And another law requiring you to wait five days, a week, three weeks,
even a month, before you could pick up a book you'd already paid for --
at a store subject to unannounced warrantless inspections and punitive
closure by heavily-armed government agents.
In some states -- Massachusetts and New Jersey -- the mere possession
of a book meant an automatic year in jail.
At one point they offered to spend tax money to buy your books.
"You have too many of 'em, and this is a purely voluntary measure
anyway --for the time being."
Now they want to confiscate any of your books that they think are too
"No honest citizen \needs\ a book with that many pages!"
Your taxes will be spent to burn them.
Somehow, you have a feeling that this is just the beginning, that
some dark night, no matter how peaceable or agreeable or law-abiding you are,
you're going to hear that knock on your door ...
Sure, books are dangerous.
They start holy wars and revolutions.
They make people dissatisfied with their lives.
But this is ridiculous!
Is it a nightmare? Another Gulag horror story? A bloodsoaked page from
the history of fascism?
No, it's just the everyday oppression people suffer when they feel
about \guns\ the way you feel about books.
Okay, maybe that feeling's hard to understand. But just try justifying
your own love of books to a Jerry Falwell or an Ayatollah Khomeini. The
requirement that you must -- a violation of your civil rights -- will make
you inarticulate with rage.
Gun owners laugh at the notion of civil rights, because they have none.
Sure, guns are dangerous.
Like books, the right to create, exchange, and collect them -- without
a trace of government harassment -- is supposed to have been guaranteed. No
matter who thinks it's wrong. No matter how "sensible" their arguments may
sound for taking your rights away.
What makes you think your books are any safer than your neighbor's guns?
Whether you like guns or books the issue's the same:
WHEN ANYBODY'S RIGHTS ARE THREATENED ...
\EVERYBODY'S\ RIGHTS ARE THREATENED.
L. NEIL SMITH'S \LEVER ACTION\ LETTER NUMBER 01b
111 EAST DRAKE ROAD SUITE 7032
FORT COLLINS, COLORADO U.S.A. 80525
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 16 novels including
\Henry Martyn, The Crystal Empire, BrightSuit MacBear, Taflak Lysandra,
The Probability Broach,\ and the forthcoming FORGE OF THE ELDERS
trilogy, beginning with CONTACT AND COMMUNE.
Your contributions to this effort, while extremely welcome, are not
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