Whenever the subject of gun control comes up, I like to suggest reading the book: Unintended Consequences by John Ross, which discusses the evolution of gun control and the accompanying erosion of personal freedom. It is one of my personal favorites and is packed with historical data about gun laws and events that shaped the 20th century.
John’s website can be found here. In theory, you could follow the links to his publisher’s website and buy the book, but the book seems to be out of print indefinitely. Scribd shows to have a pdf copy here. The following is a teaser from the front of the book and is meant to be for entertainment use only.
It was late afternoon when he finally heard them coming to kill him. The wind was blowing gently towards him, and it carried the sound well. Two choppers, he judged from the pitch of the engines, possibly three. Henry realized that his first emotion upon hearing the sound of rotor blades approaching was an overwhelming sense of relief. The waiting was over.
His next thought concerned the relatives of the men that were about to die. The widows will never understand that their husbands died because the government got a little too heavy-handed after June of 1968. He scanned the sky until he spotted the aircraft approaching from the north.
That isn’t quite right. The Kennedy and King killings weren’t the first links in the chain that dragged us here. No, the death sentence was handed down before World War II. Henry settled in behind the big Solothurn and checked his field of view through the weapon’s optical sight. The gleaming example of Swiss craftsmanship had been manufactured in 1939. The irony was not lost on Henry Bowman.
In March of that year, the U.S. Supreme Court had heard a case involving a moonshiner who had been arrested in 1938. A Federal District Court had thrown out the charges as being unconstitutional, and the government had appealed. At the hearing, something very unusual had happened. Neither the moonshiner nor his lawyer had seen fit to appear before the Court to argue the case. They didn’t even bother to file a brief on the moonshiner’s behalf. The Court ruled for the government, judicial precedent was set, and the issue was never again heard by the Supreme Court. The 1939 ruling became the foundation on which many additional laws were constructed.
Supreme Court’s been ducking that issue ever since Henry thought as he strained to hear a change in the approaching noise. Well, guys, the tide has turned. It’s time you thugs had a little history lesson. I don’t suppose you’re familiar with what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. A small smile appeared on his lips, as Henry remembered something. It’s just like the story Uncle Max told me when I was a kid; about Billy Dell, pulling a Paul Bunyan.
Henry Bowman’s right hand tightened around the walnut grip of the Solothurn S18-1000. The weapon had been a present from his father, given to him on his fourteenth birthday in 1967. Cost $189.50 back in the sixties Henry thought irrelevantly. I thought that was a steal. Dad’s friends thought it was astronomical. Wonder what they’d think now.
As he followed the progress of the helicopters through the binoculars, Henry Bowman reflected that the 1930’s era weapon would now likely cost over ten thousand current dollars to manufacture. It had been made in a time when production methods and philosophies were much different. Fewer than 500 of the obsolete Swiss guns had been imported over a ten-year period in the ’50s and ’60s, before the law change.
Pay attention here, guy Henry chided himself as he focused on the problem at hand. You don’t get any practice runs with this one. Henry twisted his head methodically and arched his back as he lay there on his stomach, working the stiffness from his body. He had lain prone for over an hour with his face pressed against a pair of binoculars, and he needed to be loose for what he was going to have to do.
The helicopters appeared over a ridge that Bowman had previously determined was a little more than two miles distant. They were following a heading that would take them to the spot that he had selected, next to the water-filled quarry pit. He steadied the binoculars by resting his right wrist on the top of the Solothurn’s receiver and cranked the zoom control from ten power all the way up to twenty. The binoculars amplified the heat waves in the air that are invisible to the naked eye, and called ‘mirage’ by competition shooters who use high magnification optical sights.
The boiling, shimmering image in the glasses gave a surrealistic appearance to the approaching choppers, but Henry could make them out well enough. Three of them. Bell turbine model. Jet Ranger or its descendant. A door gunner with a belt-fed machine gun poking out of the right side of each one. Possibly the Belgian MAG-58, but more likely M60s, he thought with derision.
They should have brought armored Apaches carrying napalm, he thought. Or nukes. A grin split his face.
Oh, those poor bastards.