All posts by Thomas L. Knapp

2015: A Look Back at the Center’s Work

Our primary mission at the Garrison Center is to produce libertarian op-eds and place those op-eds in “mainstream” newspapers and non-libertarian political publications. We are, in that sense, an outreach project for the libertarian movement.

So, how well did we do our job in 2015?

The first Garrison op-ed was published on January 29, 2015, so our “first year” was effectively 11 months long. During that time, we placed, as best I can tell*, 545 op-eds in those other kinds of publication. That’s 1.6 op-eds per day, every day, seven days a week, for 11 months.

Based on our “blue sky” budget of $250 a month***, that’s a per-placement cost of $5.05. And since placements trended upward over the course of that 11 months, the per-placement cost is actually coming down.

Personally, I’d say that’s VERY cost-effective outreach. If you think so too, I hope you’ll support the Center’s work.

How can you support the Center’s work? Well, we’re not a 501(c)(3) organization that can accept tax-deductible donations. In fact, we’re not an “organization” at all as such. You support the Center by supporting its authors. And since I pay other authors an up-front fee when they submit op-eds that are published under the Center’s banner (an occasional thing that I’d like to do more of!), the easiest way to do that is to support me. You can do that from the sidebar at my personal blog, KN@PPSTER. Thanks in advance!

Now, the notes on those asterisks above:

*  I haven’t found any good WordPress plugins to let me keep track and count of “media pickups.” I track them down, note them at the bottom of each column, and keep count of them “by hand.” At the end of 2015, I went through the 140 or so Garrison Center posts one by one, totaling up the “pickups” as I went. I did that three times. Each time I ended up with a different number. The lowest number was higher than 540; the highest number was lower than 550; and one number was, in fact, 545. So that last is the number I am reporting to you. There are likely more “pickups” out there which I never identified; some small newspapers do not put their print content on the web even today. I would say 545 is slightly low, but I didn’t want to be dishonestly high. And of course you are free to go through all those columns and verify the “pickups” for yourself it you don’t trust me 🙂

** $250 per month is my personal funding goal for running the Garrison Center and other things (including my blog and my weekly podcast). For nearly a year, an “angel donor” has funded me at that amount while I try to ramp up crowd-funding to the $250/month level. At some point, the “angel” will let go and I’ll sink or swim (as will the Center). Currently, crowd-funding comes to right at $50 a month. So once again, I’d appreciate your support, which can be delivered via Patreon, PayPal, Bitcoin or Litecoin from the sidebar at my blog, KN@PPSTER.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Director and Senior News Analyst
The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism

Disband and Defund the Touchy, Stealy Administration

A TSA officer inspects a piece of luggage. Source: Wikipedia

“Inappropriate.” “Invasive.” That’s how Kevin Payne of San Diego, California describes a Transportation Security Administration employee’s “patdown” of his daughter Vendela at the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina airport. He’s unduly kind. The “patdown” — which Payne captured on cell phone video — was a sexual assault which, in any sane society, would have ended with the perpetrator’s arrest.

The TSA’s response? The assault “followed approved procedures.” Turning every airport terminal in the US into the functional equivalent of one of Uday Hussein’s “rape rooms” is apparently a feature, not a bug, in America’s post-9/11 “security” software.

It’s time and past time to permanently disband TSA and let airports and airlines go back to providing for their own security.

After 13 years of operation, with an annual budget of nearly $7.5 billion, the TSA has yet to demonstrate its usefulness in stopping terrorism aboard airplanes. It routinely fails tests in which inspectors smuggle weapons past its security checkpoints. So far there’s been not a single verifiable instance of TSA foiling a terror plot. And it’s invariably local law enforcement, not TSA, which  effectually responds to security incidents at airports (as in the 2013 LAX attack, in which a TSA agent was killed before local airport police shot the gunman, and the 2014 New Orleans incident in which a deputy sheriff shot a man who was chasing a TSA agent with a machete).

The only thing the organization appears to be any good at is empowering its employees to ogle and feel up travelers and steal goodies from travelers’ luggage.

As for the costs, that $7.5 billion budget doesn’t even begin to touch them. According to the US Bureau of Transportation statistics, there were 685 million airplane passenger boardings in the United States between October 1, 2014 and September 2015. Assuming an average wait time of 10 minutes to get through the TSA’s screening line, that’s 1.1 million hours of lost time for passengers — hours they could have spent working, or shopping, or getting to where they were going, instead of waiting to find out whether or not they’d win the TSA lottery to have their genitals fondled or their laptops swiped from their checked luggage.

Yes, I get it. 9/11 was a horrible day and the urge to “do something” to prevent future attacks is entirely understandable. But the Transportation Security Administration is clearly not up to the task. It doesn’t make us safer. It just inconveniences, assaults and steals from us.  Let’s end this nonsense.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


“Gun Control” — Can Someone Please Make That Man a Ham Sandwich?

Gun photo from RGBStock

On January 5, US president Barack Obama unveiled his first major policy action of the new year: A  batch of new victim disarmament — or, as its supporters  call it, “gun control” — measures which he intends to impose by executive order.

The response from Republicans in Congress is, pardon the pun, weak tea. They merely accuse him of “executive overreach,” claiming that the powers he claims lie with Congress, not the presidency. He retorts that the orders are “well within [his] legal authority.”

Both sides are wrong. The language of the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment is clear and its intended meaning is well-documented. The framers of that amendment — who had just emerged from a long war against the world’s most powerful army, a war won by an armed citizenry — understood the right to keep and bear arms as a right “of the people.” They specifically and intentionally barred the president, Congress, the state legislatures, your local city council, ANYONE, from infringing it. Every “gun control” law now on the books is unconstitutional and therefore, per Madison v. Marbury, void.

Not only is Obama’s executive order sortie, taken in conspiracy (“consultation”) with the Attorney General of the United States and other government functionaries, not within his legal authority, it’s a crime.

Under US Code Title 18, Section 241, “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same … They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section … they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”

I’ve heard it said that a grand jury will, if asked to do so by a prosecutor, “indict a ham sandwich.” Is there a prosecutor and a grand jury in the US brave enough to bring Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch and their co-conspirators before the bar of justice?

Probably not. But with 300 million guns in the hands of 100 million Americans, it’s unlikely that this regime’s attempted depredations can be made effective. Like Walt Whitman said, “resist much, obey little.”

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.