Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Smith-Suprynowicz Freedom Test

I found this in the current issue of the online magazine, The Libertarian Enterprise.

* Would [you] support the right of a nine-year-old girl to walk into a hardware store and, without signing anything or producing identification of any kind, pay cash for a submachinegun, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a supply of morphine? If [you] wouldn't, then whatever [you're] in favor of, it isn't freedom.

When I first read this, I muttered, "Huh? What would a nine-year-old girl want with a submachine gun?"

Then, recovering, I reasoned that as long as she doesn't use it to initiate force against me or someone else, it really isn't any of my business. Or anyone else's.

Same reasoning goes for the morphine.

One of the biggest things we can do to enhance the police state that now governs us, is to believe that what other folks do that we may not like or understand (in the absence of initiation of force) is something that needs to be controlled.

I justify this by means of the requirements of man's life qua man, but if you want to justify it by means of the Second Amendment, all you have to do is read it. The right isn't limited by age, race or gender. Arms can mean guns, knives, swords, truncheons, brass knuckles, nunchuks or anything else. As long as they're not used to initiate force.

There is no limitations mentioned as to where one might bear arms. If one has the right to be in a place, one has the right to defend oneself there.

As for morphine, there is no mention in the Constitution anywhere that allows government to tell one what he may or may not ingest.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


T. F. Stern said...

Hard to fault your logic; but in the back of my mind I'd be a little more curious and wish to document such a sale for future reference, knowing that such documentation might be helpful in the event that these items became the focus of a criminal act later on down the line.

I do the same sort of documenting when making keys for a vehicle; identify the customer with driver's license, proof of ownership and above all that is my gut feeling based on a life time of dealing with people.

Kent C said...

t.f. says:
"Hard to fault your logic; but in the back of my mind I'd be a little more curious and wish to document such a sale for future reference..."

But isn't it that type of thinking that the Col. refers to here?

"One of the biggest things we can do to enhance the police state that now governs us, is to believe that what other folks do that we may not like or understand (in the absence of initiation of force) is something that needs to be controlled."

It is this 'inspection before the fact' that begins the police state or a state where gov't 'knows best' and ends up controlling everything. Guns aren't the only things that can be used as weapons, so where do you draw the line?

Basically you've said 'it sounds good in theory but won't work in practice' better known in these parts as a 'false dichotomy' where ideas are disconnected from reality, yet the idea that one has a right to life and therefore a right to defend it, is quite consistent, in theory and in practice.

That isn't to say that if such a gun was used in an initiation of aggression, that there wouldn't be an investigation, but to do so 'preemptively' violates the presumption of innocence way ahead of time and begins the slippery slope of regulation. Most, if not all the 'bad effects' people want to stop with sweeping 'regulation' can be handled more directly by swift and predictable prosecution. That way you're only imposing on the criminals not regular citizens.

T. F. Stern said...

If we do not use the experiences gained from a life time of observing life and how folks conduct themselves then I would say we set ourselves up for major problems. My experience has shown the need to document transactions, even simple stuff, because we cannot remember details later on when it becomes important to have accurate information. If this is your idea of a police state then you need to make your definition a little more clear.

Col. Hogan said...


'Fraid I'll have to come down with Kent on this one. It's a long-held tradition in American law that we're innocent until proven guilty. By government record-keeping in this or any other area, government says "you're potentially guilty" and "we need to keep a dossier on you."

We don't keep records on those who buy claw hammers, even though it's very possible to do murder with one.

The second reason is: by allowing someone the power to keep such records, we confer 'pon him power over others. What gives that one individual the wisdom that's not possessed by others? Who's to guarantee that he'll use that power justly?

Now, as you say, it's not a bad idea to record the transaction within the auspices of one's own business, as long as he informs his customers beforehand--as might the gun seller. However, in a free society, at the disclosure of his intent to record my name, I'll likely take my business elsewhere.

How many guns, how much ammunition, how many claw hammers I have, and what kind of locks I use to secure them is no one's business but mine.

KentC said...


When you say: "If we do not use the experiences gained from a life time of observing life..." this is exactly the objective inspection of reality that leads to good principles like - a person should have the right to defend their life without interference from third parties (as long as they aren't _initiating_ force). The founders, I think, knew this (through _their_ life experiences) which is why the amendment offers no limitations. And it 'works' best, they thought.

What hasn't 'worked' is not having predictable penalties for offenders. When there's always a possibility of getting off by offering up some bigger fish, or by claiming to be a victim of society, and this _despite_ all the licencing and regulation some deem 'prudent' ;-)

Point remains, there is no break in the theory and practical when the theory is grounded in reality.

And I probably should have mentioned that when it comes to a business, as you point out, in keeping their own records (many times because they could - wrongly - be held responsible) I fully agree. It is just with gov't 'tracking' where I have the problem.

MK said...

You know CH, i've been thinking about that exact same scenario for a long time. As you know i'm not in favor of gun control, however a while back i still held the belief that they should be licensed and there should be some restrictions on who can own a firearm of any sort like the age of a person. But then i started to think more about it and realised what if i had a 13 year old daughter and she walked home from school every day and some asshole decides to take an unhealthy interest in her and doesn't quite understand the meaning of NO. Or what if we hear of some serial rapist in the next county who abuducted a teenage girl and then raped and killed her. So in all honesty i cannot deny my child or anybody else's child the right to defend themselves when it's as plain as the nose on my face that the criminal out there can easily get a gun or a knife or a hammer.

I also used to think that licensing is a good idea, but the experience of others in this world has taught me that that's just the first step, then it'll be waiting periods, the type of gun, how many, the number of bullets, renewals, fees and eventually you'll be limited to one gun and then one day it'll turn out to be no gun. Having said that, i don't think a 9-year old should be traipsing around town by herself or with other 9-year olds, they should have an adult accompanying them who is armed. I also don't think that a machine gun like the one you pictured is the best weapon for self defense, i'm sure it would be rather awkward to carry around everyday, but none the less, if that's what people want to carry, then it's their inconvenience to bear.

Yeah, in terms of the businesses keeping records, they can keep em for publicly stated purposes, for example warranties, if the customer doesn't want the serial number recorded or something to that effect, then don't come back if the trigger breaks or something goes wrong with the gun. That sort of thing, letting the government in, big no-no.

Col. Hogan said...


Above all, children need protection. Yet, we can't keep them in the nursery forever; children will never grow up to become independent, responsible individuals unless they get to get out in the "field" and apply what they've learned.

They should tackle new levels of responsibility as soon as they can handle them.

Children are small, weak and inexperienced. Their job, as children, is to become big, strong, capable and responsible.

Self defense is one of the more important areas in which they must become proficient. In today's society (or perhaps in yesterday's: today's seems to be deteriorating), one's last line of defense is oneself, and one's abilities.

Children's education should include various means of self defense, from martial arts to firearms--as soon as they can handle the responsibility. I regard martial arts training as a very good precursor to firearms training. I wish my parents had thought along those same lines, as things learned in one's youth are better learned.

As soon as a youth can handle the great responsibility of carrying a handgun, he should be able to carry one.

The scatterbrained little animals we see on the streets and in the children's prisons are the way they are because their parents, and the children's prisons, have abrogated their responsibility to teach them properly.

Sorry i ran on.....

KentC said...

The Col. says:

"Above all, children need protection."

So true. I figure if a parent keeps a child safe until @18, they've done their job. If they gave them a few lessons along the way, good! :-)

And I don't know if there's a rise in child abductions or just a rise in the reporting of them on Fox news, but I imagine the same 'Florida effect' that the gun carry laws had on Florida criminals - ie. made them 'gun shy' - might have the same type effect on child abductors, if they thought there was a possibility of an armed 9 yr. old girl - or that a few perverts were shot by 9 yr. olds and it was as widely reported as the abductions have been.

Col. Hogan said...


The best, most poetic justice is when the would-be murderer is killed by his intended victim.

MK said...

Indeed it is CH, something the gun grabbers simply cannot get over.

The Wine Commonsewer said...

Huh? What would a nine-year-old girl want with a submachine gun?


BTW, Jake wants to know who the girl is.

The Wine Commonsewer said...

So what kind of a scary ass weapon is that?

Great photo, btw.

Col. Hogan said...


Tell Jake this is an unknown girl from a hobby photographer's blogsite. She's firing a Thompson M1928 submachine gun.

KentC said...

Thomson 45. We had one gun dealer who sold one in the old violin case ;-) I really should have bought it at $1200 back in the 80's. The guy was the number 2 guy in the Hungarian Army during the time when the Soviets were keeping the Baltic states 'under the Red Thumb'. The Hunkies kicked their butt out of the country but the Soviets came back with the whole Red Army. He left on January first in 1956. He's the best gunsmith I ever met.

Col. Hogan said...


They can be legally sold (in semi-auto) in most states (not Stalag California). There are always one or two for sale on and they can be bought new from

I've been thinking about buying one, but if I did, I'd have to keep it under wraps. I couldn't shoot it anywhere in the Stalag without risking confiscation, fines or worse.

The bastards!

The Wine Commonsewer said...

Thanks, guys.

I've heard that all you need to own one of those in most states is a federal firearms license.