Homer’s Tale of an ATF Agent’s Fondest Dream

October 5, 2017

— by Homer

Once upon a time, there was a ageing agent, who worked for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the ATF. He was 63 years old, and very near to his retirement. One morning, he awoke from a glorious dream. He smiled as he sat up, stretched his arms, and rubbed his balding head. He had dreamed of a fantasy version of what would have been the apex of his career.

This agent had been at Woodstock with an older sibling. He had many fond memories of the hippies and the 1970s.

When he was young, he had believed that the government was “the man” and had hated authorities. Although he had not always liked the government, he matured. He believed in government, and that it was the government that could force the world to be a better place.

He enthusiastically voted for Barack Obama for President, twice. He fervently believed that Obama shared his dream of using government to transform America back to the direction it had been going in the 1970s.

Everything was great before that bastard Reagan tilted America in the other direction. It was just those damn conservatives and deplorable redneck racists, who kept stopping the wonderful ideas of the Age of Aquarius from becoming reality.

It was funny how he ended up carrying a badge. After he got out of college, he was looking for a career. He knew that he was not interested in working in a business or being a capitalist. This led him to seek out government work.

Eventually he became a special agent in the ATF. He liked having a badge and going after rednecks that made moonshine, or grew pot plants, or had guns. He did not hate the guns themselves. He just thought that only people like him, people with badges, should have them. Still, he hated local sheriffs and small town police, who he saw as “rubes”. His hatred for them was built on decades of being professionally frustrated by the local yokels.

For most of his career, he worked undercover in the firearms enforcement part of the ATF. He actually knew a lot about guns, and became very good at using and talking about them. While undercover, he pretended to be friends and to agree with all those rubes and rednecks. He would mingle with them at gun shows, hiding the deep disgust he had for them. In places across America, he pretended to be their friend, for months and sometimes years. He infiltrated their communities until he could identify all of their friends, families, and associates.

Sometimes, he and his ATF colleagues opened gun shops in cities across America. Their goal was to entrap the gun-loving rubes. He knew the law. He was always careful that things were arranged so there could be no “entrapment” defense. He knew that, in court, he would merely need to demonstrate someone’s pre-existing attitude before the entrapment “sting” operation.

On countless occasions, he talked the rubes into slightly modifying a firearm, to make it illegal. He got them to saw off a shotgun so that its barrel was 1/2 inch too short for regulations. Or he got them to put enough foreign made replacement parts on a rife, to make it an illegal weapon. He implored them to do him a huge favor, by going to a gun store to buy a gun for him that was on sale “because he couldn’t get there before the store closed”. That quickly made them “straw purchasers” and felons.

The 1968 Gun Control Act, the 1986 National Firearms Act, the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, and other older laws, as well as laws about what could or could not be sent by mail, were great tools. Their intricacies provided him with countless opportunities to persuade an ignorant or careless “sting” target to commit a felony. Once the targets committed a violation or several of them, he and his ATF team could then swoop in and make the arrests.

He arrested more NFA (National Firearms Act) special licensees than he could remember. Even though they underwent background checks, were fingerprinted, and were often licensed gun dealers, he loved to set them up for arrest. He just got to know them and pretended to be their friend. He then persuaded them to violate some small part of the highly complex technical laws, “just for him, because they know he’s not a criminal”. He then cheerfully had them arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

After decades of frustration, he really hated the gun collectors. In his view, nobody except the federal government should have that many guns. These collectors were usually middle aged or old men, who were wealthy or upper middle class. They could afford their expensive hobby. They did not commit any crimes that created a criminal record. So, under current law, they could own as many guns as they liked.

He loathed the gun collectors in particular, because he couldn’t look down on them like he could the rednecks. Further, they usually hired decent lawyers and made it more difficult for him to railroad them into some felony. Hanging a felony on them was all he could usually hope for with these types of people who had no prior criminal record to offend a judge. His objective was usually to railroad gun owners into some felony, so that they could not legally own a gun anymore.

He personally despised the way gun owners used the Second Amendment to get guns that they should not have. In his view, the Second Amendment meant that the only people who should have guns were the military, the National Guard, and government agents like himself, people with badges that the government could control.

He spent decades of resentment and frustration with the reality that the populace could not be disarmed. This was due to unfortunate limitations of the existing laws, the impossible political climate that seemed to be getting worse for restrictive new gun laws, and having to always do things “by the book” because of judges and civil libertarian attorneys.

In this dream, he had finally gotten his fondest wish.

He dreamed that he found one of those wealthy old gun collectors. The old man was bitterly angry about the 2016 presidential election and that his candidate Hillary Clinton lost. He actually agreed with the old man, and felt a kindred spirit with the sting’s target. This was a necessary part of being a good undercover agent.

He dreamed that he befriended the old man and slowly coaxed him into massively increasing his gun collection. He supplied the old man with all the types of guns that he believed needed to be outlawed, but that were not yet outlawed because of the myopic Republicans in Congress. He went with the old man to stores and gun shops.

He pointed out for the old man and got him to purchase some of those legal loophole evading devices that had bedeviled him for 25 years. The best thing was the old man was able to afford the weapons with his own money. Finally, he “sold” to the old man a couple of real machine guns, without a license. His dream was exactly as he had done on countless “sting” operations in real life.

In the dream, just like in real life, he helped with the planning. He provided supplies. He succeeded at convincing the target to take just enough steps beyond the planning stage that the target could not later claim it was all just a fantasy or wishful thinking.

Usually, in real life, when he and the ATF had done this type of thing, he had encouraged his target to plan some act of terror or to murder someone. The ATF would usually nab the target at the last moment, so that the judges and prosecutors would be more incensed and give the target a real sentence instead of just a probation plea offer.

Throughout his decades-long career, the ATF would then make the arrest. Not in the dream. In his dream, he made no effort to arrest or stop his sting target from carrying out the attack. He even made sure the act was carried out against a country music festival. The festival was full of those damn rednecks, rubes, and racist flag wavers, that he hated who always voted against restrictive new gun laws.

It was one of those dreams where his perspective switched back and forth. In one moment, he got to actually be his sting target, machine gunning down the rednecks. In other moments, he was himself, the ATF agent, salting the crime scene with his fantasy selection of all the guns and devices that he would like to see demonized and outlawed by a scared and angry America.

He dreamed of himself shooting the old man instead of arresting him, long before local police got to the scene. He dreamed that he did it so that the old man could never reveal his and the ATF’s involvement. There would be no courtroom or lawyers for this old man, he thought to himself with great satisfaction.

In the dream, he finally got to do his job the right way. The way it always should have been done.

Best of all, he saw how the politics played out after the massacre, empowering the ATF in the way it always should have been. This was what the ATF’s “Fast and Furious” operation should have been.

He then woke up from his dream. He had that feeling of anticipation. He looked forward to arresting all those bastards with their private arsenals, that he had not been able to touch legally all those years.

The fact that those country music-loving rednecks and Second Amendment types were the only casualties in the massacre was the icing on the cake. He smiled at the thought that he had made their deaths into the very tool that would be used against their own cause.

In his pajamas, he made his morning cappuccino, looked at the calendar date marking his retirement from the ATF next month, and sighed that it was, unfortunately, only a dream.

 

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