R. Cort Kirkwood’s article, “Jack Bauer, Agent of Anarcho-Tyranny, U.S.A.,” (Views, May) is the best article on the subject of encroaching tyranny I have ever read, bar none.

Frankly, when I first glanced at the May issue’s cover, and the title of the article itself, I thought, “Not another yahoo condemning a great edge-of-your-seat show, and one that even seems to give a nod to patriotism!  There are, after all, those who must do the tough jobs of protecting millions of innocents under dire circumstances, even if the job is not pleasant or nice.  If a biological or nuclear attack was imminent, I’d want someone like Jack Bauer.”

Mr. Kirkwood gave me a whole new perspective.  Without denouncing or disparaging 24 or its viewers, he explains why the show is compelling, just what it is about Jack Bauer that makes people like me who abhor torture and war games keep on watching.  Kirkwood’s short answer is that we are so tired of being pushed around, that we want our own Jack Bauer.  Meek, compliant citizens are the only faction that has no lobbyist and no protector.

Kirkwood deftly explains why real killers, maniacs, rapists, dope-runners, and so on, seem to get a free pass, while compliant Americans who carry only aspirin in their pockets keep getting hassled by agents of government.  Even in the era of Woodstock, most of us Baby Boomers did nothing remotely unlawful.  We didn’t demonstrate, picket, smoke dope, march, talk back to school administrators or teachers, sleep around, or any of that stuff.  We just went to school, made our grades, went to work, and got married.  However, when we Boomers went to rear our children, it was as if the whole world fell in on us!  Every stupid, nonsensical rule someone could think up was thrown in our faces—and often by the very same Boomer-age folks who once hooted at following rules.  Today, we spend so much time fighting bureaucrats that we hardly have time to make any money, much less rear kids.

Kirkwood nails it: We “are ensnared in an increasingly complex web of petty restrictions and oppressive and intrusive laws that code, trace, and curtail [our] activities.”  His quotations from the late Samuel Francis are right on target and bolster his argument.

As an author and speaker, I often have people approach me, quite puzzled, because they simply cannot reconcile an encroaching, tyrannical police state with the fact that large factions of repeat troublemakers never seem to pay the price.  There is always some organization (the ACLU, CAIR, etc.) that ensures the truly lawless and troublemakers get a free pass.  Officials seem frozen in inaction, afraid to pursue the real “bad guys” for fear of ending up like the two border patrol agents who shot a Mexican drug-runner: They are in jail, and the drug-runner not only is free but is suing.  Our President has refused to pardon the agents, one of whom has been grossly molested in prison.

How is it that motorcycle gangs on the Beltway are, every weekend, careening in and out of traffic at 120 mph, scaring every other driver to death, while a tiny two-block stretch nobody travels has four agents every morning monitoring a speed trap?  How is it that police are busy trolling for seat-belt violators when, right up the street, a woman is raped in a grocery-store parking lot and a house is burglarized?

In the Leninist-Stalinist era, the gambit was to create so much confusion and lawlessness that anybody who would restore order would be welcomed.  Armed henchmen marched right in.

Americans don’t believe anything like that can happen here, because the same conditions that existed in places like czarist Russia or 1930’s Germany appear to be absent.  Thanks to R. Cort Kirkwood’s excellent analysis and wry wit, readers will now think twice.

        —Beverly K. Eakman
Kensington, MD