by Wayne Lutz, December 31st, 2000
You bolt upright in bed with a scream lodged in your throat - it was only a dream. But what a dream! A team of red-jumpsuited commandos kicked in your front door in the middle of the night. One held your family at gunpoint while the others ransacked your kitchen - you'd been ratted out to the BATFFF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Fatty Foods) and they'd come for your Twinkies.
You watched in terror as they stuffed fat-laden foods into evidence bags. Your antisocial eating habits constitute child abuse - your children were lead off by a social worker who bribed them into silence with sugar-free all day suckers. Fortunately, they are still young enough to be reeducated.
How did they know? Who reported the mozzarella sticks?
Your wife smiles sheepishly. No, you didn't, you couldn't. Why?
They said it was for your own good. They said you were a bad man. And besides, I needed some Christmas money.
Perhaps the worst nightmare that an American, born into freedom, can have is of an Orwellian society in which police have unlimited powers of search and seizure, where no property is private, and where you must be eternally suspicious of friends and even family lest you be sold out to the State.
In what was West Germany before Regan brought that obscene wall crashing down, the three public television channels would at regular intervals show the image of an analog clock on the screen. The one station in East Germany did the same, but there were subtle differences in the appearance of the clock face.
In the State-run East German schools, teachers were occasionally instructed to have the children draw a picture from memory of that clock face.
Those hapless kids who drew the West-German style face had unwittingly tattled on Mom and Dad who, obviously, were watching Western television - a decided no-no.
But Americans are too fond of their liberties to ever allow that sort of thing to happen here. Any Cuban in Miami will tell you that.
The nature of creeping socialism is all the more insidious for its incremental approach in which this little, inconsequential freedom over here is taken away in exchange for that great big snuggly security blanket over there.
The most abhorrent of these assaults on liberty, to my mind, are those that pit one American against another in an effort to aid the State in identifying dissent.
Which brings me, in my roundabout way, to the city of Baltimore.
As a new way of "fighting crime", Baltimore police have put a bounty of $200 on each tip that leads to the arrest of anyone who may have a gun and the seizure of that gun.
In fact the method is not new at all, as we've seen in our East German example - or as could be seen in the former Soviet Union, North Korea, Communist China, Cuba. (Nor will it fight crime, as with most gun control blunders that affect only law-abiding gun owners.)
As odious as the concept itself is the attendant propaganda campaign featuring such catchy new-speak phrases as "a gun in their hands means $200 in yours" splashed across some 5000 posters and on the sides of busses, along with radio and tv commercials and 150,000 cards which explain how to claim the money in three languages. One can only assume that that the jingles are displayed across a background of the benevolent eye of Big Brother.
The "Neighbors for Dollars" program, as I've affectionately dubbed it, ostensibly targets illegal guns but in reality will do no such thing, as could have been learned from the example of countless failed "gun buyback" programs if anyone involved had just taken a moment to think.
As Baltimore Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris cynically noted: "People will give up their mother for $200."
If momma's packin' heat, she'd best not tell junior - 'specially if junior needs a fix.
On a refreshingly sane note, the Supreme Court ruled in March that an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun "without more information of criminal activity" is insufficient grounds for an officer to search a suspect.
God Bless Justice, but Justice is vulnerable and must be guarded - she's all that stands between you, your momma, and tyranny.