"Armed contention has advantages; armed contention has risks." -- Sun Tzu (544 BC - 496 BC), The Art of War, the Linyi manuscripts.
Arne Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Education
Lyndon Baines Johnson DOE Building
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202
re: Kenneth Wright Terror Raid, Stockton CA
I realize you are not used to being addressed so informally by one of the "bitter clingers," but I figure that someone who is stupid enough to send a militarized federal SWAT team to enforce the student loan laws doesn't deserve a whole lot of deference and respect that words like "the Honorable" or "Mr. Secretary" imply. In any case, this is not a letter about policy arguments about why the Department of Education should even have a SWAT team nor is it a call for justice on behalf of Mr. Wright and his three terrified children. My intention is to bring home to you some down-home truths about the dangerous situation you have created by having your paramilitary jack-boots muck around with "dynamic" raids on innocent citizens.
I note from your bios here and here that you are from Chicago, got a sociology degree from Harvard, and completely lack any military education or experience.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. (Apparently as stupid as he looks.)
This is unfortunate, because having troops, you are now a general (ad hoc) whose little army of federal freebooters is flying the banner of the Department of Education -- surely the first time the direct application of violence has been offered under the rubric of "education." These ersatz troops of yours are playing on a potential battleground of civil war and they, and the people who send them, are in some danger of having their heads blown off as a result.
I am a small "r" republican. I believe in the small, limited and largely safe government of the Founders' Republic, and for the past twenty years I have been fighting a rear guard action of my own against the forces of the Imperial Federal Leviathan, in whose cause you have enlisted. If I were a propagandist of the sophistication of Paul Revere, I wouldn't be writing you at all, but would be merely thankful that you had provided such a powerful argument of your own delegitimacy. As it is, however, I am trying to prevent a civil war, not spark a revolution, so I present to you the Sun Tzu quote above. For you, and the administration you represent, "armed contention has risks."
A little over two years ago, I warned your fellow cabinet member, Eric Holder, that we live in the 21st Century, not the 20th and that consequently there would be no more free Wacos.
At the time, a friend of mine, an innocent man whose only sin was that he had successfully testified against the ATF in court cases as an expert witness, was being targeted for a dynamic raid of the sort that your troops inflicted on Mr. Wright, with the exception that my friend was not expected to survive the encounter. Among the things I told Eric at the time, and which I firmly believe apply to you now:
I know how agencies can spin out of control if not properly guided by upper management. So do you. I'm sure that you saw the television images out of Texas on 28 February and 19 April 1993. I think you would agree with me that neither of those days likely represented the official policy of the Clinton administration. Yet, they happened.
Subsequent to that, citizens formed self-defense militias, millions more of your hated "assault weapons" were imported and sold before the ban and we spent the next seven years staring uneasily at one another, waiting for the next government-issue bloody shoe to drop. Oh, yes, and your party lost control of the Congress, with even President Clinton blaming it on the passage of the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban. The Law of Unintended Consequences sure sucks, doesn't it?
But, the other shoe didn't drop.
Yet, there's something you should understand about that whole process. As an amateur historian and keen observer of current affairs I can see it without difficulty.
You only get one free Waco.
If the statistics on the sales of firearms and ammunition tell you anything, you ought to understand that the same dynamic is at work now and yet from your point of view you haven't DONE anything to deserve it. Oh, you've muttered occasional threats to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, but no one believes politicians when they speak anyway.
So why, you may ask yourself, is this happening?
Like I said, Eric, you only get one free Waco. It was your original sin. The botched raid, the massacre, the cover-ups, we've been through them already. You may remember that no one was held to account for that -- not very reassuring to the citizenry. And if, as is apparent, someone in the Department of Justice hasn't learned the lessons of the first Waco, we, the millions of "bitter clingers" out here in fly-over country, have. We have no reason to be trusting of your motives. For we, and you, have been here before.
So, let me explicate the obvious: There are no do-overs, not when it comes to your employees killing American citizens for bad reasons. Look around, count the guns, estimate the billions of rounds of small arms ammunition in private hands, and consider that the latest Janet has already declared most of the rest of us, including veterans, "domestic terrorists" anyway. Do you think we have not noticed? Do you think we do not remember the misdeeds of the last administration you were a part of?
In addition, recent government misconduct -- bureaucratic, legal and judicial -- in the Wayne Fincher and David Olofson cases (the same kind of chicanery that rightly caused you to overturn the conviction of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens) has convinced many of us that there is no percentage in betting on a fair trial if the ATF sets their sights on us and we are not part of the Mandarin class.
If we are no longer under the rule of constitutional law but are merely subject to irreversible bureaucratic diktat and we do not fancy being railroaded in a patently unfair federal trial where expert witnesses are denied access to evidence, then our options when approached by ATF agents are rather limited. It is plain, in the absence of the right of a fair trial, that a target of ATF investigation has little to lose by resorting to the right of an unfair gunfight. This may be an unintended consequence of those cases. It is nonetheless real.
Wake up and smell what your administration is shoveling from downwind, where we are forced to stand. And please understand the predicament you've put yourselves in by your present and former bad behavior.
There will be no more free Wacos.
Please, for all our sakes, counsel your employees, who apparently seek to curry your favor by misquoting you, that replicating 1993 is neither good policy nor is it your intention. We don't need any more itchy trigger fingers in this country.
The last free Waco.
Your "educational" stormtroopers, Arne, are blundering about on a cold-war battlefield that they apparently barely understand, threatening to turn it into a hot civil war at their next accidental deadly idiocy.
Now I understand that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and when you're a jack-booted thug, every door looks like it is begging to be kicked in, but the fact of the matter Arne is that one day your pathetic little army is going to kick in the wrong door at the right time and someone who knows what they are doing will, in righteous self-defense, lay that raid stack all out like so much dead meat -- all in the name of "education."
Is that what you had in mind?
So I beg you to reconsider the utility of force when it comes to education. Actually, there isn't any. The only potential that your little army has is the potential to spark a civil war. Now I suppose that would be "educational" in the crudest and bloodiest of senses, but it is not what the taxpayers expect for the billions they waste on your unconstitutional department every year.
Besides, you don't want to be in hearings, depositions and trials the rest of your life, do you? You know, like the Gunwalker scandal that is poised to bring down the Attorney General?
I hope this missive has opened your eyes to the larger area of operations your little army is playing in and the awful potential unintended consequences if, at your orders, they blunder us all into civil war.
To put it bluntly, sir, you are no general. You, sir, are a sociologist and educational bureaucrat (which may itself be a contradiction in terms). If I may kindly suggest, it is best to retire from the military field now before you learn from bitter experience the wisdom of Sun Tzu.
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Pinson AL 35126