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How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, Other Foreign and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals with 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles.
October 16, 2001 12:46 AM   Subscribe

How the Gun Industry Armed Osama bin Laden, Other Foreign and Domestic Terrorists, and Common Criminals with 50 Caliber Sniper Rifles. "Therein lies an object lesson in the danger of unrestrained civilian sales of weapons of war like 50 caliber rifles. Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda has acquired at least 25 Barrett 50 caliber sniper rifles. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how many more 50 caliber rifles Al Qaeda has obtained from Barrett or from its many competitors. No one keeps track of them." At the risk of chilling the patriotic rush to buy firearms, SUVs, gas masks, flags and Cipro (got to keep American rolling!), ya really gotta read this study of America's moral superiority in controlling "terrorism" around the world.
posted by fold_and_mutilate (60 comments total)

 
Speaking of SUVs, I hope everyone remembers where all that gasoline comes from. It ain't Texas.
posted by Loudmax at 12:53 AM on October 16, 2001


Since the 50 cal was a legal firearm (debatably it still is), able to be bought by anyone, I don't see the big deal. I'd guess that there are many around the planet.
posted by HTuttle at 1:23 AM on October 16, 2001


As a teen, I remember seeing this weapon as the Cobra Assault Cannon in RoboCop. Considering how the fictionalized weapon is used in the movie(blowing up cars, etc.) I can only imagine that the real Barrett M-50 is less explosive, but still devastating.
posted by JDC8 at 1:34 AM on October 16, 2001


It ain't Texas.

No, you're right.

It's Alaska...

You know, I've been thinking a lot. We all, and the world, knows that the U.S. is the largest exporter of arms in the world. That's a Bad Thing™.

So we should stop doing that, right? Right.

But what happens to our own army, and our own munitions then? Sure, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need the latest and greatest because we're not arming the world, but what happens if someone else takes up the slack? If the world is armed from elsewhere and we've deprived the defense industry and the arms manufacturers from selling to the markets they are used to selling to, they lose R&D funds and we produce sub-par weapons.

Now, I know that that seems like a really fux0red thing to think about. That's mainly because it is. With this argument, you're worried about, on one hand, creating more peace by creating less violence and on the other you're worried about still being able to kick some major ass.

Wacky... I toil with these thoughts in my own head...
posted by fooljay at 1:51 AM on October 16, 2001


That international treaty on money laundering earlier this year? The Bush administration handstrung it. That UN conference on international small arms trading earlier this year? Same again. Does it really have to take such horrific events to suggest that the rest of the world wasn't pushing for multilateral deals just to spite the Americans?

(fooljay: with a combined military might that dwarfs anyone else in the world, I suspect that the US will be keeping its defence contractors in R&D funds for a good few years to come. Having fewer rudimentary, easy-to-maintain rifles and SMGs sold to guerrilas around the world won't bankrupt Raytheon.)
posted by holgate at 2:08 AM on October 16, 2001


Do you think Al Qaeda got a bunch of t-shirts thrown with the 25 guns deal?
posted by knutmo at 3:31 AM on October 16, 2001


I guess the fact that the Second Amendment protects our rights to firearm ownership is still not good enough. I guess that the fact that the First Amendment has been held up to protect such things as, say for example, the right to print and distribute instructions for producing stable anthrax spores is now an issue also?

Frankly, I support both as the price of freedom. If you'd rather live in bondage, go ahead. Freedom involves risk, those who founded our country realized that - why can't we?

I suppose you also support banning airlines as they are obviously weapons of mass destruction?
posted by RevGreg at 3:46 AM on October 16, 2001


Frankly, I support both as the price of freedom. If you'd rather live in bondage, go ahead. Freedom involves risk, those who founded our country realized that - why can't we?

I suspect you're not from Belfast, otherwise you'd have a somewhat different view of what entails "bondage".

Anyway, you're missing the point by turning this into a Second Amendment issue. As I said in an earlier thread, this isn't about domestic rights, so much as the acknowledgement that domestic rights must acknowledge their domesticity, and not presume a universal applicability. The right to smoke in public doesn't mean that it's legitimate for Big Tobacco to underwrite cigarette smuggling in the developing world. Similarly, whatever you think about current legislation on gun ownership within the US, it's frankly idiotic to believe that it translates into the right to look away when small arms are being dumped into the most militarised parts of the world. The Second Amendment exists within a social and legal framework that holds people accountable for the proper defence of that right. And while it constitutionally precedes the legal codes that regulate responsible gun use, it wouldn't exist without them. (The US constitution, after all, has always been interpreted within the common law tradition, right back to the earliest Supreme Court judgements.) That framework stops at the border; and it's generally accepted that border controls require a different set of laws from those within the state proper. The US needs to export its domestic stability (of sorts, depending on whether you're from the suburbs or the inner-city) before it exports its guns.

The telling phrase here is "No one keeps track of them." You can track down a car with a licence plate number; you can track a parcel with its barcode; you can often trace a person's movements through his credit card number. The US vetoed the introduction of similar standards for guns, to root out the crooked dealers who serve as middlemen for smugglers, and to plug the leaks in the supply chain. None of this impinges the right to bear arms.

I assume you'd support controls on the transfer and supply of nuclear materials, yes?
posted by holgate at 4:21 AM on October 16, 2001


(or, in short, there's a reason why the right to keep and bear arms was placed in the context of a "well-regulated militia".)
posted by holgate at 4:39 AM on October 16, 2001


Well, at least this time f&m remembered to mention the SUVs. Thanks!
posted by darukaru at 4:57 AM on October 16, 2001


Slightly chilling: I found Google's cache of the Ultimate Jihad Challenge training course that was offered in the US.
posted by tpoh.org at 5:10 AM on October 16, 2001


I guess the fact that the Second Amendment protects our rights to firearm ownership is still not good enough.

This article is incredibly heavy-handed (I quit around the fifth time the author used the word "apologist" to describe people who disagree with him). However, if the U.S. can regulate the sale of machine guns, and these .50-caliber rifles can pierce an armored tank, shouldn't we regulate their sales more closely?
posted by rcade at 5:30 AM on October 16, 2001


Well written piece, holgate. As someone who comes from a land with almost no firearms around, I find the view of some Americans that I am 'in bondage' or deprived baffling. I actually feel free-er(?) than if I knew that everyone around me was armed.

It is worth repeating that according to the FBI/DoJ's stats (the link is elsewhere in MeFi), there were 15,000 homicides in the US in '99, 10,000 of those firearms incidents. That's 5000 every 6 months - the same as were killed (give or take) on Sept 11. A war on guns would seem to be a good use of effort by politicians at the moment.
posted by snowgum at 5:39 AM on October 16, 2001


I love how the author tries to link the gun industry to the September 11th attacks.

The article is very one-sided and very biased (shocker!).
posted by da5id at 5:39 AM on October 16, 2001


I look forward to this author's next chilling expose, How Toyota Supplied Foreign and Domestic Terrorists and Common Criminals with Moving Vehicles.
posted by aaron at 5:40 AM on October 16, 2001


I think that compared to the quantity of arms sold by the U.S. government to the rest of the world every year (estimated to be in the trillions of dollars--by far our #1 export), these civilian sales are marginal. John Ralston Saul has an excellent discussion of how we started arming the world and the ramifications of that policy in Voltaire's Bastards. Our economy has become so dependent upon the arms trade, that it would be a major shake-up to try even to scale it down significantly. We exist on war profiteering and death, in a sense. Very disturbing stuff.
posted by rushmc at 5:58 AM on October 16, 2001


The telling phrase here is "No one keeps track of them." You can track down a car with a licence plate number

Wrong. Only cars to be used on public roads require that. It is the entry in the shared public sphere that triggers registration.

you can track a parcel with its barcode

Not by any legal mandate, and again only once you released it into the shared public sphere.

you can often trace a person's movements through his credit card number

Not through any legal mandate applied to payment in general (in fact the only type of payment that must be accepted carries no tracking (legal tender for all debts public and private)), and again this is triggered by entry into the public sphere.

Nice Godwin, holgate. Tactical thread copping?
posted by NortonDC at 6:19 AM on October 16, 2001


SMGs sold to guerrilas around the world

Sarah Michelle Gellars?
posted by tolkhan at 6:30 AM on October 16, 2001


I think this article glosses over the real issue: Do you have any idea how many boxcutters are sold EACH DAY by those death merchants at Home Depot?!?
posted by whuppy at 6:30 AM on October 16, 2001


another look at the 'military economy' (article written 1991)

'The effects of the military economy don’t stop there. Having abandoned most consumer manufacturing, Americans have had to borrow from abroad in order to finance their purchases of foreign consumer goods. The result: they have the biggest national debt in the world.'

NB article shorter than 'Voltaire's Bastards' (618pp), in fact shorter than a review of 'Voltaire's Bastards'!
posted by asok at 6:34 AM on October 16, 2001


...there were 15,000 homicides in the US in '99, 10,000 of those firearms incidents. A war on guns would seem to be a good use of effort by politicians at the moment.

And with over 41,000 fatalities in either 1999 or 2000, a war on automobiles would be a good effort as well......
posted by nwduffer at 6:44 AM on October 16, 2001


war is the real culprit. let's bomb everyone who's at war. only then will all the war deaths stop.
posted by tolkhan at 6:50 AM on October 16, 2001


The Church Universal and Triumphant owns 10 sniper rifles? I guess regardless of the flavor - religion produces militants.
posted by wfrgms at 6:52 AM on October 16, 2001


Nice Godwin, holgate. Tactical thread copping?

Pardon? The quotation's in the post itself. Let me clarify that "you", just because you're being obtuse, to "the relevant legal authorities": something that should have been obvious from the discussion of legal enforcement in the previous long paragraph.

As for invoking Godwin: how dare you accuse me, you fucking Nazi.
posted by holgate at 6:53 AM on October 16, 2001


Don't leave out abortions. They get lonely.
posted by NortonDC at 7:13 AM on October 16, 2001


Oh, yawn. Yet another attempt by the gun-phobics to ban those "big, evil .50 caliber SNIPER rifles".

As an owner of a .50 cal, let me tell you a few things.

.50 cals cannot penetrate modern armor of any type, even when using penetrator-type sabot ammunition. In fact, the last attempt to use kinetics to pierce modern armor was the 20mm Swiss Solothurn cannon, and it was a museum piece before they got off of the assembly line. That was in the '50s.

In order to penetrate armor you need shaped-charge shells. You can't buy those domestically, and you can't make them yourself. .50 BMG might work against a WWI Mark IV tank. Anyone using those now?

It's just a big rifle. That's all. Nothing special or magical about it. Also, add to this the fact that it weighs a LOT for a rifle (a minimum of 22 pounds, but I've seen over 40) and it is HUGE, it makes for a very impractical weapon for anything illegal. Plus, most of them are bolt action, and don't even have built-in extracters. You want a semi-auto? Expect to spend about $5,000 (at least), and the scope will cost nearly that much.

This is simply another attempt to demonize the largest gun out there so that they can move down the ladder. What's next? "Oh, that's not a .30-30 deer rifle - it's a SNIPER RIFLE!".

What utter crap.
posted by hadashi at 7:43 AM on October 16, 2001


more guns, less crime? yeah, but also scary nightmare police state! (summary executions included :)


posted by kliuless at 8:05 AM on October 16, 2001


Hadashi,

Two points on your post:

1) Sabot rounds use the principle of kinetic energy to destroy their targets. HEAT rounds (which are less effective against heavily armoured vehicles) use a shaped charge (I think. Armour training was a long time ago for me).

2) Just out of curiousity: why did you feel the need to own a .50 cal weapon? Is there anything left of the target when you use it? (I'm not being snide, just don't understand why a smaller caliber rifle wouldn't do the same job).
posted by smcniven at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2001


I bet it is fun to shoot! but expensive... Just like owning a .50 Dessert Eagle... very impractical for any real purpose, but sure as hell fun to shoot.
posted by da5id at 8:25 AM on October 16, 2001


aaron jokes:

How Toyota Supplied Foreign and Domestic Terrorists and Common Criminals with Moving Vehicles.

The problem with that logic is that motor vehicles are not specifically designed as killing machines. 50 cal sniper rifles are not made for anything other than killing people whereas cars are made for transportation and only in rare circumstances are used as murder weapons.
posted by gen at 8:26 AM on October 16, 2001


Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit calls bullshit on the Violence Policy Center.
posted by whuppy at 8:34 AM on October 16, 2001


Hmmm... my hunting knife wasn't designed for killing either, but I sure as hell could slice someone's throat with it.

It was designed to "clean" an animal.

My kitchen knife could do the same.

It doesn't matter what the item was designed for, it is what it is actually used is what matters.

I could take an iron and use it to kill someone. Even my computer keyboard makes a good pummeling weapon...
posted by da5id at 8:42 AM on October 16, 2001


Just out of curiousity: why did you feel the need to own a .50 cal weapon? Is there anything left of the target when you use it? (I'm not being snide, just don't understand why a smaller caliber rifle wouldn't do the same job).

The question should be, why shouldn't he have one if he wants. Some people LIKE guns. Just for the sake of being guns. They collect them like some collect stamps. So what exactly is wrong with that. I LIKE cars. Old ones, that go really fast, and have large inefficient motors. Thats my perrogative.

If you ban 50 cal, next its going to be the next size, and so on and on. It needs to stop.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:46 AM on October 16, 2001


smcniven writes:

2) Just out of curiousity: why did you feel the need to own a .50 cal weapon? Is there anything left of the target when you use it? (I'm not being snide, just don't understand why a smaller caliber rifle wouldn't do the same job).

Well, I guess the answer is "I liked it." It's not like I can come up with some sort of excuse; Self defense? Against what? If I've got enemies that require that sort of firepower then I've got way too many problems. I guess that puts me in the "collector/enthusiast" category.

.50's are not for everyone. The muzzle blast is tremendous. Double hearing protection is standard practice. You can find used ones easily because most people fire them once, say "Ouch!" from the recoil and sell them.

For most plinkers a smaller rifle will do just fine. I've got an old Polish M44 7.62x54r bolt action that I paid $60 dollars for, and it's actually a lot more fun than the .50 cal. Plus, if you bring someone along to shoot with you can talk to them without yelling yourself horse just to be heard.

And, to answer your question: No, there isn't much left of the target when you hit it. That's kind of the point... :)
posted by hadashi at 9:27 AM on October 16, 2001


It needs to stop.

It is stopping. Gun sales have gone through the roof since 9/11; I've seen reports ranging anywhere from 50% to 500% higher (though obviously the latter number is too wild to be believed). And studies consistently show that once someone becomes a gun owner, gun control almost always becomes one of their top three make-or-break political issues. In the 2000 election, 47% of the people that bothered to vote were gun owners. That's why Gore, and the DNC in general, never brought up the gun control issue at all during the campaign; they knew that every time it came up, they lost votes. And if Gore's name hadn't already been synonymous with the issue in the eyes of so many people before the campaign started, he probably would have won. The only place gun control has any momentum at all is in the most liberal of states, like New York (where it's already so repressive that there's not really any further they can take it) and California, where Grey Davis just signed a new gun control bill into law yesterday. And even there people are speculating about whether or not he just gave a major boost to the GOP by doing so. Everywhere else the pendulum has already been swinging in the other direction for over two years.

The problem with that logic is that motor vehicles are not specifically designed as killing machines.

In the context's of the VPC's argument, it works fine. This guy is trying to blame Barrett for the fact that the US GOVERNMENT bought some rifles from them - 25 whole guns, ooh ahh - and then gave them to the rebels, one of whom eventually went nuts and turned on us years later. It's exactly as stupid as trying to blame a car company for making a product eventually used as a getaway vehicle by a bad guy.
posted by aaron at 9:39 AM on October 16, 2001



more guns, less crime? yeah, but also scary nightmare police state! (summary executions included :)
posted by kliuless at 8:05 AM PST on October 16


Huh? How does greater private ownership of firearms lead to a fascist state? If anything, it makes such a state more difficult. Your userid is apt.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2001


aaron, I heard on the radio this morning that the applications for ccw permits has tripled in Texas, since 9/11. Which reminds me, i need to go print out that form.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:29 AM on October 16, 2001


um, it doesn't? fascists lead to fascist states :)
posted by kliuless at 10:36 AM on October 16, 2001


um, it doesn't? fascists lead to fascist states :)

So anyone who owns a gun is a fascist. That's a rational argument.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:44 AM on October 16, 2001


Some people LIKE guns. Just for the sake of being guns. They collect them like some collect stamps. So what exactly is wrong with that.

Some people LIKE anthrax. Just for the sake of being anthrax. They collect bacilli like some collect stamps. So what exactly is wrong with that?

Replace with "tigers", "nuclear warheads", "slaves" ad infinitum.

All your guns were a lot of use for that "defence of freedom" stuff on 11th September. And sadly, you can't shoot a bioweapon down with a .50. But such weapons can and are being spread around the world like Big Macs, turning political disputes into nice profitable wars while you enjoy your precious Second Amendment rights. Emigrate to a war zone and export those rights, please. Lobby Charlton Heston to set up an NRA theme restaurant in Mogadishu. Just don't claim to be human rights defenders, you ignorant cloistered fuckwits.

So anyone who owns a gun is a fascist. That's a rational argument.

Well, it's your own argument, so it must be, mustn't it?
posted by holgate at 11:47 AM on October 16, 2001


Just don't claim to be human rights defenders, you ignorant cloistered fuckwits.

Boy, if there's one thing we can count on in life it's that when Holgate is confronted with a few people of the opposite viewpoint the insults aren't far off.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:03 PM on October 16, 2001


you ignorant cloistered fuckwits

Such intelligent responses always make good arguments and logic.

And sadly, you can't shoot a bioweapon down with a .50

Actually, I can... when I see the mailman coming down the sidewalk or in their little white van, I can put the crosshairs on them... I mean, that is how the Anthrax is being spread isn't it???

And it is our DAMN Second Amendment rights that protect your DAMN First Amendment rights... Ever think of that???

Probably not... no one ever questions the need to revise the First Amendment. Why is that? What makes it that much more special then the Second??? Nothing in my book... ALL the Amendments are equal in my eyes, and should be left alone.

And actually, no, these such weapons are NOT being spread around the globe like Big Macs. I think that category belongs to the AK-47, which is produced by Russia and China.
posted by da5id at 12:03 PM on October 16, 2001


you ignorant cloistered fuckwits.

Nice one. You are now dismissed.
posted by jbelshaw at 12:24 PM on October 16, 2001


hey, i was just thinking the solution to the whole problem is to only arm the Good Guys and not the Bad Guys.

excuse me while i work on this character illustration...

...

okay.
posted by kliuless at 12:57 PM on October 16, 2001


Boy, if there's one thing we can count on in life it's that when Holgate is confronted with a few people of the opposite viewpoint the insults aren't far off.

Actually, my mood only suffers when you're spreading your verbal manure around MeFi, so I've been sweetness and light for the past few months. But all good things come to an end. As opposed to your arguments, which never quite come to a beginning amidst the personal abuse.

And it is our DAMN Second Amendment rights that protect your DAMN First Amendment rights... Ever think of that???

See, this proves my point: ignorant and cloistered. (I apologise for the "fuckwits"; my spleen was up.)

You presume that the DAMN rights that apply to you, apply to me. So, what DAMN rights are those, precisely, given that I'm one of those in that curious thing called "the rest of the world" that has to cope with the outpourings of the military-industrial complex?

I really don't care if US citizens carry concealed fully-automatics to defend themselves against other Americans. (As long as I can get my girlfriend out before the shooting starts.) Go ahead. Please, within your borders, defend your constitutional rights in whatever manner you see fit. Have fun doing so. I certainly won't complain. But don't presume that the rest of the civilised world is deluded because it doesn't embrace them, and don't be surprised at complaints about your proselytising the right to bear arms, when the US is the world's largest exporter of said weaponry. That's like the JWs defending the right to buy the Watchtower. You're preaching to the unconvertible. Go and play with your guns, and be glad that you have no real reason to use them for the purpose they were designed.

I'll say it again: the US can export its wealth, export its (generally) happy sheltered existence, and then export its ballistic playthings and its pioneer mentality to bring a little bit of excitement to the world it has pacified.
posted by holgate at 1:12 PM on October 16, 2001


As opposed to your arguments, which never quite come to a beginning amidst the personal abuse.

Are you looking into a mirror while typing this? The personal abuse is emanating solely from your direction, and I'm not the only one to point that out.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:18 PM on October 16, 2001


Some people LIKE anthrax. Just for the sake of being anthrax. They collect bacilli like some collect stamps. So what exactly is wrong with that?

Nothing. That's why you can buy all sorts of bacilli and other fun stuff from biological supply houses. And the ones you can't get, you only can't get because merely possessing them presents a direct threat to public health.

Nice try, though.
posted by aaron at 1:21 PM on October 16, 2001



But don't presume that the rest of the civilised world is deluded because it doesn't embrace them

Like you presume we are deluded simply because there are more citizens living in countries that have banned guns than in those that haven't?
posted by aaron at 1:24 PM on October 16, 2001



Pardon me for assuming you were a fellow American... I didn't take the time to check your profile and see that you were from England.

But does that make me ignorant? I don't think so.

when the US is the world's largest exporter of said weaponry - And you know this how? Where are your figures?

Last article I read on weapon's exports, Russia and China were by far, the largest exporters of Weapons in the ENTIRE world.

You don't see the Taliban holding M-16s do you? How about Palestinians? Koreans? Africans? Iranians? Iraqis? How about Indonesians? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and NOPE.

The majority (and I stress the word majority, as I am sure there are a few M-16s floating around out there) of these 3rd WORLD countries utilize the AK-47 as thier weapon of choice. Where is the AK-47 manufactured? Let's see... USA? Nope. UK? Nope. RUSSIA? YES China? YES

Cloistered??? Do you think your country is somehow Virgin Squeeky clean when it comes to exporting weapons??? HAH!!! Dream on! The Pot calls the Kettle Black!

The sale of arms to foreign countries is big business - and Britain is the second biggest exporter of arms in the world. Two of the biggest buyers of British arms are Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, both with poor human rights records. The two account for 25% of UK arms sales.

Taken from:

British Policy on Arms Sales

Talk about ignorant and cloistered.
posted by da5id at 1:29 PM on October 16, 2001


Well, Holgate is right on one count... The US is the world's largest exporter of weapons.

But guess who is #2????

Yup! You guessed it! The UK!

Year 2000 Exporters
posted by da5id at 1:38 PM on October 16, 2001


And lookie what opinion just came down today!

"The government steadfastly maintains that the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Miller, 59 S.Ct. 816 (1939), mandated acceptance of the collective rights or sophisticated collective rights model, and rejection of the individual rights or standard model, as a basis for construction of the Second Amendment. We disagree."
posted by aaron at 3:35 PM on October 16, 2001


Do you think your country is somehow Virgin Squeeky clean when it comes to exporting weapons???

Did I say that? I think not. You think it makes me proud to see the scandal that is "export credit guarantees" in the UK? Hardly. I was lobbying against the arms fair in London at the end of September. At least I make an effort to learn about state hypocrisy and act against it. Join Amnesty and open your mind.

Talk about ignorant and cloistered.

Really, it's just tiresome and futile to discuss things with someone who has to punctuate!!! everything??? like!! this??? to show that he's making a point.

and ljr: good to see you've lost none of your appetite for kitchenware chromatic similitude.
posted by holgate at 4:38 PM on October 16, 2001


no one ever questions the need to revise the First Amendment

Apparently, some do: Ari Fleisher, George W. Bush, John McCain...
posted by rushmc at 4:39 PM on October 16, 2001


Are you looking into a mirror while typing this? The personal abuse is emanating solely from your direction, and I'm not the only one to point that out.

So you are inane!
posted by crasspastor at 4:55 PM on October 16, 2001


aaron--Two news reports on the new decision:

U.S. Court Upholds Ownership Of a Gun as Constitutional Right (Washington Post)

Appeals court upholds gun control law (CNN)
posted by NortonDC at 6:25 AM on October 17, 2001


Really, it's just tiresome and futile to discuss things with someone who has to punctuate!!! everything??? like!! this??? to show that he's making a point.

No less tiresome than your threadbare arguments and silly insults, really.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:22 AM on October 17, 2001


there's also a plastic discussion on it... looks like it's going to the supremes.
posted by kliuless at 7:24 AM on October 17, 2001


Threadbare? The Libertarian Emperor has no clothes.

Wearily for the record, since people have been quibbling about the small arms of choice around the world: hundreds of thousands of M16A1s have gone to war zones around the world, including to the Bosnian Muslims; those Stinger missiles toted by the Taliban started life in the US; and when guerrilas have wanted the easy maintenance that comes with an AK-47, the US has been only too happy to provide:

The "secret" U.S. arming of various mujahideen factions fighting in Afghanistan against Soviet invaders began in 1979. Before it ended in 1991, the CIA had shipped, via Pakistan, some 400,000 AK-47 assault rifles; an undisclosed quantity of Stinger portable anti-aircraft missile launchers and missiles; vast quantities of Italian-made anti-personnel mines; 40-50 Swiss-designed anti-aircraft guns; Egyptian mortars; "Blowpipe" surface-to-air missiles from Britain; 100,000 Indian rifles; and from Turkey, 60,000 archaic rifles, 8,000 light machine guns, and more than 100,000,000 rounds of ammunition.

It's like Gun Nut Heaven. And of course, the right to keep and bear arms has done wonders to protect ordinary Afghans from the dangers of a fascist state.
posted by holgate at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2001



Threadbare? The Libertarian Emperor has no clothes.

Well, I'm sorry I don't live up to the your high standards. It takes quite a fine intellect to throw around well thought out statements like "ignorant cloistered fuckwits." Bravo.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:51 PM on October 17, 2001


holgate, your assessment requires that the Afghan people had a government-affirmed right to keep and bear arms before the Taliban came into power. You have provided no evidence for that prerequisite.

Your assertion is wholly unsupported.
posted by NortonDC at 6:08 PM on October 17, 2001


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