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Sunday was the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Two months after those attacks I went to D.C. for the annual Federalist Society National Lawyer’s Convention. It was my first real exposure to real power. They also featured a frequently open bar.

It was either Thursday, November 15th or Friday the 16th. Let’s say it was the 16th. A few hours before Ted Olson gave the inaugural speech in honor of his wife Barbara (deceased on 9/11/2001 on American Airlines flight 77), the Fed-Soc hosted several luncheon mini-seminars. Everything was at the Mayflower.

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The Mayflower, Washington.

I cannot recall which group I stumbled into nor what I had for lunch. We’ll just say Administrative Law & Regulation: Aviation Security with Tara Branum of Fulbright & Jaworski. And chicken – always a safe choice.

Of course, given that year’s main event the subjects of terrorism and hijackings dominated the discussion. Two days earlier I had flown into Reagan National under very tight security. Washington proper looked like an armed camp – fences, soldiers, Humvees – the whole nine yards.

Much of the talk centered on increased security. That and there was a debate over profiling Muslims at airports. I remember thinking, wondering how 19 savages with only box-cutters could have pulled off what they did. (At the time I had not considered outside and inside assistance). Also, most of the commentary then and there seemed irksome to me. I grew incredulous.

Finally, I raised my hand and was given the floor. Thus began my habit of making profound if off-beat comments at Society functions. Note: the “red wine incident” later that night does not count … what I recall of it…

I began by rhetorically asking the crowd exactly how such a tragedy could have happened in America of all places. I noted that we were (were especially now – past tense) a strong people. We had the Second Amendment. We had guns and lots of them. We carried them. Except, since the 1970s we were prohibited from carrying them on commercial airliners. That was where I found fault. I still do in spite of everything else odd about 9/11.

Americans, I said, had become conditioned to do nothing in such circumstances. “Just let the hijacker take the plane where he wants. Give him some money. We’ll be fine. The police will handle it.” Bull. One Monday morning turned all that malarkey on its head.

I said, sarcastically but firmly, that the headlines that day should have read: “Nineteen Hijackers Shot Dead.” That’s what should have happened and little more. The following cartoon could have been my visual exhibit:

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Scott Bleser, 2001.

An armed America could send its people onto any plane without worry of attack because they could defend themselves. Thus, gun control helped facilitate 9/11. And gun freedom will go a long way towards making sure it never happens again.

Most of the people at lunch that day nodded along (some with alarm at the prospect). Then there was nothing. Many in attendance made their livings off of regulations and laws. Laws are good for that and little more – certainly not good for freedom and security. My comments essentially died right there.

Fifteen years later and we still have the same gun control on planes. And we have a much less freedom-friendly society in general. Once clear of intrusive yet useless airport security and in the absence of an Air Marshal (frequently missing) passengers are still sitting ducks. My money says they will act the part too.

Passivity in the face of danger rarely works out well. Gun control never does. Remember that the next time they tell you disarmament is for your own good. Blame it on me if you have to.

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