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Read these classic
rebuttals to "Gun Control"
Lee Silverman defied company policy. He walked right past "no guns" signs and carried a sidearm into his office. It's a good thing he did. If he hadn't, who knows how many people would now be dead?
Silverman -- Dr. Lee Silverman -- is a psychiatrist at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania. On Thursday morning, July 23, 2014, a patient who had just been escorted to the doctor's office by social worker Theresa Hunt pulled a gun of his own. The patient murdered Hunt. But as he turned on Silverman and fired at his head, Silverman drew his own firearm and put three shots into the killer.
Silverman survived with a grazed temple. The murderer went to the hospital in critical condition.
Nobody knows how many lives Silverman's disobedience saved. The murderous patient had "issues" with the doctor, so maybe Silverman and Hunt would have been the only victims. On the other hand, plenty of horrific rampages have begun with a grudge against one individual -- a former spouse, a boss, a teacher, a classroom bully, a co-worker -- and ended with mass deaths. The fact that the creep at Mercy Fitzgerald went first for Ms Hunt says he didn't much care who he killed. He just wanted to deal death.
Silverman and his rule-defying firearm put a stop to that.
Earlier this month, a van full of Iowa Boy Scouts was "detained" (a seriously misused word that implies mild inconvenience but in reality describes burgeoning tyranny) at the border between Canada and Alaska. Four vanloads of Boy Scouts, troop leaders, and other adult volunteers were on a 23-day trip. One scout in one van snapped a photograph of a U.S. border guard.
That got everyone in his van "detained" for four hours. Guards threatened the offending boy with a 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine while tearing into the troops' possessions as if they were all a bunch of suicide-bombing, drug-smuggling international fugitives.
According to troop leader Jim Fox, one guard even pulled a gun on a scout who was merely helping pull luggage off the roof of the vehicle so it could be searched. The Border Patrol denies pointing any guns at any scouts and say they have video to back that up. Nevertheless, these innocent adventurers were held captive and terrorized by their own government -- for something that isn't even a crime. It is not forbidden to photograph a government agent standing in plain sight in a public place.
The pumped-up Barney Fifes of the Border Patrol somehow failed to know the law. They were merely applying to themselves the ancient royalist policy of lèse-majesté ("injured majesty"), in which any insult, offense, or uppitiness against a monarch or the agents of monarchy is a grave crime.
These days, taking a photograph of an agent of government (as we have seen all too often) is considered a threat or an interference or even a danger to some badge-endowed bureaucrat -- even when it is 100 percent legal. That's ridiculous and against any sane concept of freedom.
But the saddest thing about the abuse of these scouts isn't the abuses a gang of unchecked petty authoritarians committed against them. It was what an Iowa BSA official commented afterward. Charles Vonderheid, with the Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts of America, said the tyrannical encounter was good for the kids: "We want to make sure they follow the rules. A Scout is a good citizen. It would be a great lesson in civics for that young man and that troop."
Wow. A civics lesson. Obedience to tyrants.
True, that encounter at the border could have turned into a good civics lesson had the adult volunteers calmly asserted their rights -- had they, for instance, asked the offended photo subject to show them the law that makes it a federal felony to snap a picture. It might have turned into a good civics lesson had the adult volunteers submitted but used their four-hour "detainment" to explain the Bill of Rights to the boys and point out that this is exactly the type of outrage that doesn't belong in a free country.
It would have been a great civics lesson had they done either of those things and the Border Barneys said, "Oh, I'm sorry, sir; we were wrong." It would have even been an effective (though terrifying) civics lesson had the adult volunteers stood calmly for rights and reason while the agents of government flipped out and did the usual things armed agents of the state do when anyone questions their authority.
I do understand why the scout leaders chose not to defy the guards. I'm not criticising their choice to go along to get along, especially given that they were entrusted with several vanloads of other people's children. I'm only questioning the value and long-term effects of the BSA's idea of a "civics lesson."
The abuse at the border could still become a valuable civics lesson if the scouts and their leaders pursue justice, get an apology from the Border Patrol, get the agents involved fired, force the Border Patrol to give Bill of Rights training to all its agents, and somehow ensure that the agency actually enforces the Bill of Rights.
But sending the message that you should always submit passively to any show of Authoritah and any claim of power no matter how bogus ... well, that's a "civics lesson" that belongs in the old Soviet Union. Or a John Carpenter movie.
If Dr. Lee Silverman had submitted to his employer's rules, he would be dead now. And it's impossible to say how many victims' families would be grieving. The Boy Scouts didn't die at the hands of the armed bullies at the border, but the only lesson they learned was Submit and Obey.
Freedom is not won -- or preserved -- through submission and obedience.
Freedom is won and kept by breaking rules -- not only by questioning authority, but outright defying authority when authority itself aims to make the rules on the spot and to rule others through threats and intimidation.
Oh, certainly in any civilized society, free or otherwise, people get along by adhering to certain norms, mores, or whatever you want to call them. In any society there are going to be laws and rules to define what's acceptible and discourage what's not. Merely breaking rules for the sake of rule-breaking is dumb (as many an overdosed rock star or Darwin Award candidate has discovered).
But in any free society, laws are 1) few, 2) understandable to all, and 3) merely "restrain men from injuring one another," as Thomas Jefferson wrote.
Once any rule or law actually becomes harmful to life or liberty, then the proper course for a free person (and a free nation) is to break it. Ignore it. Defy it. Agitate against it. Laugh at it. Fight it. Get rid of it. Kill it and bury it at the crossroads on a moonless night. NOT submit to injustice or obey to whatever simian thugs or cubicle-dwelling bureaucrats attempt to enforce anti-freedom, anti-life diktats.
And if the force of unjust laws, obscure regulations, arbitrary enforcements, and monarchial attitudes becomes unstoppable by all the means of free and peaceable people, then -- to borrow from Mr. Jefferson again -- it is time to be "Absolved from all Allegiance" to such false authority.
As a nation the U.S. may not be there yet. As individuals, we must always be "there" if we truly are free.
Claire Wolfe hit the Internet back in 1996 with 101 Things to do 'Til the Revolution, which was followed by several other books. She came to the attention of JPFO's founder, Aaron Zelman, and became one of his main writing partners for seven years. Together they authored The State vs the People and the young-adult novel RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone. She is the author of The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook (successor to 101 Things), writes a monthly column in S.W.A.T. magazine and blogs regularly at Backwoods Home. The Claire Wolfe Archive