“So in the Libyan fable it is told that once an eagle, stricken with a dart, said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, ‘With our own feathers, not by others’ hands, are we now smitten.'”
My wife and I were in Nanning, China when a midnight phone call from my mother-in-law told us the world had just turned upside down. When the FAA closed all U.S. airspace to non-military traffic, we didn’t know how or when we were going to get home. I felt very proud to be American, and very worried to be stuck so far from home.
9/11/01 was a day that will never be forgotten by anyone then alive, and twelve years later the footage of the towers still hits me like a kick in the stomach. But you’ll have to excuse me if I remember it in my own way and don’t join in the flag-waving for ‘Patriot Day.’ The courage of NYC police and firemen, and of the passengers of Flight 93, reminded us why we’re still exceptional. But our freedoms have suffered in the dozen years since that dark day. With one small exception.After the vile Patriot Act, twelve years of ineffectual war, legalized torture, indefinite detention, assassinations, and the creation of a pervasive Stasi-like surveillance state in our own country (all ostensibly in response to the atrocity of September 11), we should be mourning much more than the 3,000 innocent souls lost twelve years ago.
We should also be mourning our fallen servicemen and women, sacrificed in foreign adventures which left two countries much the same as we found them: chaotic, violent and assertively anti-modern hellholes.
We should also be mourning the freedoms we’ve given up in the name of security. As one of my friends (himself a naturalized immigrant from the Soviet Union) noted “It’s amazing how thoroughly effective that single act of terrorism was at getting us, as a nation, to unconditionally defeat ourselves in the wake of it.”
Freedom from unreasonable searches? Gone. Freedom from indefinite detention without charges? Toast. Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment? Why should we coddle ‘suspected terrorists?’ The right to keep and bear arms? That depends what state you happen to live in.
But many Americans are at least a little bit more free now than they were twelve years ago, in one small area of their lives. Thanks to the shrewd and tireless efforts of Knife Rights and the American Knife & Tool Institute, many states have repealed absurd laws prohibiting the carry or possession of knives.
Arizona, Utah, New Hampshire, Georgia, Kansas, Alaska and Tennessee all passed knife-law preemption statutes, protecting their residents from haphazard patchworks of conflicting local knife laws. New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, Alaska, Indiana and Texas all legalized the possession and carry of automatic knives, and Washington legalized assisted-opening knives. Anti-knife bills in Washington, Nevada, New Jersey, and Florida were defeated, and the Federal Switchblade act was amended and seriously weakened.
One step forward, five steps back.