what he calls the BLM’s “SWAT-teamrnmentality.” “I’ve got a group of BLM officersrncarrying guns, enforcing laws, doingrnwhatever,” he said. “I don’t mindrnthem helping if they’d help, but if myrndeputies treated people the way theyrntreat people, I’d have stomped them in arnmudhole and then wrung their necks.”rnThe Posse Comitatus Act, which wasrnenacted over 100 years ago to prohibitrnmilitarv personnel and equipment fromrnbeing used against Americans, has alreadyrnbeen whittled down in the name ofrnthe war on drugs. An exception has beenrnmade to the Posse Comitatus prohibitionrnin cases where federal police want tornuse the military in a drug bust. BarbararnKcnnelly (D-CT) has proposed legislationrnthat would establish a 2,500-manrnrapid dcplovment attack force. Whateverrnthe name, this is still a military group.rnBut since the rapid deployment forcernwould not be under the control of thernmilitary, the Posse Comitatus Act doesrnnot apply (wink, wink).rnThe President, along with RepresentativernCharles Schumer (D-NY), immediatelyrnsaw the hysteria about thernOklahoma City bombing as a primernopportunity to buttress federal controlrnover local affairs. It was an opportunityrnto dcmonize all gunowners and militiarnmembers and to accuse law-abidingrngunowners of being no different fromrnthe murderous bombers. It is doubtful,rnthough, that the President would welcomerna comparison of the Weathermenrnwho bombed a building at the Universityrnof Wisconsin with antiwar protesters likernthen-student Clinton. Lawful, constitutionallvrnprotected action should notrnbe equated with criminal activity justrnbecause it is unpopular.rnIf the President receives the additionalrnpowers he seeks in the name of “counterterrorism,”rnhe will be able on his own,rnwith no appeal permitted, to classif’ anyrngroup as a terrorist organization. Itsrnphone calls could then be monitored andrnassets confiscated by the government.rnOf course, such legislation would havernbeen denounced if directed against thernciil rights or the antiwar movements ofrnthe past, or the environmental movementsrnof the present. Surely the right tornorganize and march does not end becausernmilitants and murderers chose tornutter some of the same words used byrnpeaceful groups operating lawfully—rnecn if they are gunowners.rnClearly, if America is to be a landrnwhere the people govern themselves,rnthen the civil government will be smallrnand a servant of the people. But if Americarnis to be like the other countries of thernworld, then an elite will be our masters,rnand the police their enforcers.rnLarry Pratt is executive director ofrnGun Owners of America in Springfield,rnVirginia.rnTrespassing inrnthe Cityrnby Paul KirchnerrnAmedieval European ventured outsidernhis walled city warily, knowingrnthat robbers lurked in the wilds beyondrnthe reach of the feudal order. In latern20th-century America, we have turnedrnthis around—for most of us, it is onlyrnwhen we venture into the city that wernconcern ourselves with the lawless. Thevrnthri’e there, provided for and protectedrnby the liberal welfare state; without itsrnindulgence, they would starve to deathrnor be exterminated by the law-abidingrnmajority. Like most people who can affordrnto, I live safely in the wilds outside arndecaying city and enter it only when Irnhave to, usually during daylight hours.rnThis time it was after dark. I enteredrnthe elevator in a downtown hotel, headingrndown to the parking lot. I was joinedrnby three of what the newspapers refer to,rnbenignly, as “youths.” Thev didn’t lookrntheatrically menacing—I didn’t detectrnthe “feral gleam” that Bernhard Goetzrndescribed in his assailants’ eyes. Thernimpression thev gave was of an overallrndroopiness: droopy pants, droopy posture,rndroopy eyes and lower lips. As therndoors closed and we descended, the onernstanding by the control panel asked thernothers if he should press the emergencyrnstop button, so that we might ha’e a littlernmore time to ourselves. I could barelyrnunderstand his speech, or that of thernothers. This was their world and it wasrnforeign to me.rnI stood with my back to the wall oppositernthe control panel, watching the threernof them. I was fascinated and, in a way,rnamused, because I had a secret. M}’ rightrnhand was in the pocket of my windbreakerrngripping my revolver, my index hngerrncurled lightly around its trigger. I haverncarried a Smith & Wesson airweightrn”Bodyguard” model .38 Special for somern20 years now. It has a cowling over thernhammer which permits it to fire its fivernshots through the pocket of a coat withoutrnsnagging on the cloth. Even if thernthree of them had 9 mm. automaticsrntucked somewhere under their baggyrnT-shirts, I doubted they would be able tornget them out fast enough.rnBack in the days when Hollywoodrnheroes fought fair, thev always tauntedrnvillains who got the drop on them with arncontemptuous, “You wouldn’t be sorntough without that gun in your hand.”rnWell, of course. Without the gun, Irnwouldn’t have a chance against threernathletic young men, or even one. That’srnwhy I carry it.rnThe fellow eyeing me from the backrnwall nixed the operation. As the doorsrnopened on the ground floor, the one byrnthe buttons suggested gleefully that theyrnmust have “scared the sh-t out of me.”rnAs the youths raucously made theirrnwav up the hallwav to the back door tornthe parking lot, I followed behind them.rnThis was probably unwise. Had anythingrnhappened, a D.A. might have suggestedrnthat I was being provocative—that I wasrnlooking for an excuse to shoot them—rnand a jury might have agreed. I mightrnhave been asked why I didn’t go back tornmy room at the first sign of trouble. Irncould only answer that I had intended torngo to my car and didn’t see wh’ I shouldrnchange my plans. I don’t suppose itrnwould have helped to bring up the examplernof Rosa Parks, who refused to sit atrnthe back of the bus. That too might havernbeen considered provocative. There arernrules of engagement as we manage diversity.rnWe are not all equally free to assertrnour dignity.rnWe are told that poor black youthsrnresent the assumption that they arernpredators. I can understand that. As arnmiddle-class white, I resent the assumptionrnthat I am prey. We often hear ofrntheir sense of powerlessness, yet in thisrnsituation they were confident of theirrnpower, reveling in the fear they thoughtrnthey were inspiring. It was the same evenrnif they were just pulling a prank, and I realizernthat mav have been all they intended.rnAn improvisation on a typical sitcomrnscenario where the white guy has to berntaken down a peg, with all of us stereotypicallyrncast. In either case, for real orrnfor fun, I’m not willing to accept myrnassigned role.rnI was glad I had the gun. It meant Irnhad to surrender nothing. At the samerntime, I was glad I didn’t have to shoot,rnDECEMBER 1995/45rnrnrn