Gia Cosindas is the publicist for Port Townsend publishers Loompanics Unlimited, whose mail-order-only catalog constantly challenges the limits of the First Amendment, with subject headings ranging from the banally illicit Tax Evasion to the slightly more daring Murder, Death and Torture.
Have you received any phone calls from the FBI since September 11? "We haven't had any direct repercussions from the feds over September 11. However, we had a book that arrived that same week called Waging War from Canada. It tells how Canada is a good place for terrorists to operate: lax immigration laws, inept law enforcement, etc., and after that book came out we had a call from someone who wanted us to give them a list of all the terrorist organizations we were in contact with. As if! 'Sure, just let me consult my Rolodex, and I'll send it right over.' Other than the new anti-terrorism legislation that gives the feds expanded authority to search business records--including the titles of books purchased by customers--and the fact that you can't publicly object, since the new law includes a gag order that prevents you from disclosing 'to any other person' the fact that you have received an order to produce documents, it is business as usual."
What titles are doing well after September 11? "We did notice that we are selling more books like Boxing's Dirty Tricks and Outlaw Killer Punches and How to Be an Ass-Whipping Boxer. I guess folks are figuring that if it comes down to them and a terrorist on a plane, they'd better have a handle on self-defense. It also appears there is a bump in sales of survivalist books, similar to the millennium, as people start to realize that they should be prepared for disaster and the breakdown of services at all times. It's a new world out there. I think we, as a people, are just starting to 'get' that in a large, full-scale disaster we aren't going to be able to count on the usual organizations to get us by."