Dr. Know, you disappoint me when you half-know. In the event of MARTIAL LAW in our Civilian Republican form of government and the Posse Comitatus, all sheriffs will equal the rank of a Major General. Any extra stars they wear boost only their own egos. —Semper Fidelis

I hesitate to disagree with you, Semp, I really do. For starters, I can tell from your letter that you are both heavily armed and insane. However, your theory that, under MARTIAL LAW, every two-bit sheriff will outrank every one-star general isn't true.

If anything, it will be just the opposite, with even the highest-ranking police officers taking orders from low-level Army grunts. That's the whole point of martial law—all city, state and county officials would have to defer to military rule.

Except it doesn't matter, because it's not going to happen.

The imminent establishment of nationwide martial law is a cherished hobbyhorse of the wack-right.

It's pretty much exactly like when evangelicals bring up "Armageddon" or when hippies talk about "The Revolution"—they're all big, scary events that, any day now, will reorganize the world in such a fashion as to teach a harsh lesson to everyone except the speaker and a few of his closest co-religionists. When martial law comes—the story goes—there'll be nothing to stop the feds from coming to take your guns, your six-year supply of MREs, and all but one of your wives. Then we'll see who's sorry!

Of course, you and I know it won't come to that. The very idea! Still, it couldn't hurt to put some tape over that built-in laptop webcam—just in case.