Monday, December 31, 2012

A Line in the Sand

When liberals talk about "gun culture" . . . It isn't about the guns really, though gun control culture is worried about having that much personal autonomy in the hands of people who don't share their values and like their independence, it's about rural America. And rural America, like guns, is another symbol that stands in for traditional America.
--Daniel Greenfield, Sultan Knish Blog: Gun Culture and Gun Control Culture

Molṑn labéis ( Molon Labe) is a classical expression of defiance reportedly spoken by King Leonidas I in response to the Persian army's demand that the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. . . So what does molon labe mean? Well, it is an invitation -- and a challenge -- all rolled into one. From the original Greek molon labe means: "Come and take 'em."
-- JD Longstreet, Right Side News Blog: Americans Won’t Give Up Guns, Law or Not

As we end the year here in the rump end of flyover country, we have been talking about the new and even more insidious threats to our liberty and our way of life.  

Americans of a certain bent are fond of talking about “wars” that are not shooting wars. From the Obama administration we have heard that if we do not like our tax money going toward someone else’s contraception, we are perpetrating a “War on Women.” Ronald Reagan brought us the “War on Drugs” (which has become a shooting war down on the border), and LBJ brought us the “War on Poverty” all those years ago. We do not appear to be winning either of these ersatz wars. I am sure there are other “wars” that are not wars out there, and as a Libertarian, I am deeply suspicious of “wars” on inanimate objects or conditions, because they are generally used as an excuse to limit our liberties.

In rural America, however, we have known for some time that the executive branch of the federal government has plans to wage a war on our way of life. It started in 2008 when presidential candidate Barack Obama told his supporters at a San Francisco fundraiser about rural Americans bitterly clinging to “guns and religion.” ( This war isn’t only about guns and religion, both of which the progressive leftists of the Obama administration despise, it is also a war on rural small holders and is being waged by the government against us with bureaucratic weapons such as land use policies, sweeping EPA regulations, and farm bills such as SB 1050, which set the stage for regulations on what we can sell and even what we can consume from our own farms and ranches. 

But the war on “flyover country”—that vast interior of the North American continent that is terra incognita to the progressive city dwellers on the coasts—is heating up because of the fear this administration has of law-abiding, armed citizens. Their maps are not labeled “Here there be Dragons” in fancy, medieval print; rather they say: “Here there be GUNS.” And as Daniel Greenfield pointed out at the Sultan Knish Blog (quoted above), those guns are a symbol to the progressives. They represent  people who do not need or want federal government help, and who often refuse it, knowing from bitter experience that when the Feds come marching in, local interests are no match for the interests of outsiders such as environmentalists and bureaucrats. In the rump end of flyover country we understand that government “help” really means government interference, the destruction of our local economies, and ultimately, tyranny by a metro-majority that doesn’t know a thing about our way of life, fears it, and wishes to force us to conform to an alien and un-American standard.

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in suburban New Jersey is the incident that Obama, his progressive administration, his media sycophants, and the metro-dependent control freaks have been waiting for. Never mind that the shooter was not a legal gun owner, and as Daniel Greenfield wrote, was not part of what the ubiquitous they call the “gun culture.” They were all indecently salivating to confiscate guns before the little bodies of the innocent were even removed from the classroom. Never let a good crisis go to waste, as their mentor Saul Alinsky liked to say.

Since the 2008 election, Americans have been anticipating that Obama and his minions would be coming for our liberties. Some of us paid attention to what he said before he was elected, and we knew who his mentors were and what political philosophy they bequeathed to him. During November and December 2008, gun sales rose dramatically, and ammunition fairly flew off the shelves of gun shops and sporting goods departments. In Spring 2009, many of us formed and joined Tea Party organizations  and 9-12 groups, banding together to protest the economic consequences of Obama’s socialist political creed. Some of us woke up to the threat to our liberties for the first time. As election day 2012 neared, gun and ammunition sales picked up again, following the same pattern as in 2008. We were aware that with the need of re-election behind him, Obama’s campaign against liberty would likely pick up speed.

On the Tuesday before Sandy Hook, the Catron Kid and I were in Cope Reynold’s Southwest Shooting Authority in Arizona to purchase some ammo and look over a new rifle for shooting coyotes and other small varmints on the ranch. (In rural America our guns are tools, and are most often used to protect livestock from predators. They are rarely drawn against another human being. It is not necessary because we value one another’s life, liberty and property way out here). You may recognize Cope’s name and establishment, because his gun shop has become famous or infamous (depending on your politics) for the sign he posted on his shop’s door:
Cope No Obama Sign
(See story at The Blaze).

As we looked at the coyote rifle, and as I mock-aimed an AR-15 and an AK-47, feeling them out on my shoulder, we talked about the possibility of an “assault” weapons ban. At that point, Nancy Pelosi was talking about reviving the ban that had been rescinded in 1994, with some new and worrisome restrictions, but not including outright confiscation. The Catron Kid wondered aloud if, should we be threatened with confiscation, we ought to hide our guns. SWSA employees responded that at that point, we would be facing civil war. We talked briefly about how Arizona would respond, and I allowed as to how we should have bought property at least 11 miles west, over the border in Arizona. The conversation turned to why Jews, Blacks, American Indians and Mormons should not be against gun control, and then we make our purchases and went on with our day. As we continued our errands, I realized that I reacted to the thought of civil war differently than before. I did not deny the possibility, nor did I feel regret that I might oppose my own government, because I now believe that my government has made me its enemy. It was another line in the sand that I had crossed in my own mind, like joining the Tea Party, registering Libertarian, and signing the Articles of Freedom. For the record, I will defend the Constitution against all enemies, but I prefer to do my fighting with the pen and at the ballot box. A shooting war is the last thing I want.

Four days later, when the news of Sandy Hook broke, and almost immediately the press began attacking the Second Amendment, we went on the offensive in the social media, correcting the obvious ignorance of the press and the administration, and making it clear why a so-called “assault” weapons ban would not have prevented Sandy Hook or anything like it. It was in a post on a social media site in which someone opined that patriots cannot be serious about the “need” for the Second Amendment, that we certainly can’t be thinking in “these modern times” of protecting our rights against our own government. And she referenced civil war. A commenter replied: “We are already in a civil war,” elaborating that the culture wars against the founding American values, against our liberties and against rural America amount to exactly that.
“We are already in a civil war.”
That statement rings true to me. It is not at all the same as during the late 1850's because this is not a regional battle, like the one that the Mason-Dixon Line defined. Neither is it about the false ideology of “state’s rights”--we know that only individuals have rights, and that governments have delegated powers--although I think it is time long past due for the States to enforce  the Tenth Amendment against the Feds. Nor is the object to deny freedom to others or to institutionalize racism. The culture wars—the war on our way of life here in flyover country—is about our individual rights, the ones that are threatened by an out-of-control federal government.

We are already in a civil war.
But it is not a shooting war. And I would rather that it never become one. However, this government has been whittling away at our rights and attacking our values for a very long time. Obama is only the latest and greatest threat in a century-long series of executives determined to stamp out individual liberty, make our Constitution meaningless, and aggregate power to himself.

Each of us, those who value life, liberty and property, must ask ourselves where is the line past which we must resist, physically if necessary? Each of us needs to know for ourselves where is the line in the sand. Where does tyranny stop? And at what point are we willing to give up our lives in order to preserve liberty for ourselves and our children?

As JD Longstreet (quoted above) wrote in Right Side News Blog:

To those on the political left and those pushing gun control -- in the childish naivete -- You need to understand two things: One -- Americans are NOT going to give up their guns! That's one. Number two is this: If you really want to begin a civil war in this country, continue your efforts to take those guns and you will most certainly have one, and I do not think you have any idea, any inkling, of just how ferocious and brutal such a war can be.
We know that Pelosi’s new, draconian measures are not about gun safety. We know that these power-mongers inside the beltway are using the deaths of 20 children for purposes of their own, and those purposes are aimed at our liberties and our ability to defend them.  We know that Diane Feinstein and Harry Reed are both hypocrites—both are or were gun owners who had concealed-carry permits—and they wish to deny the same to us. And we also know that in the advancement of tyranny and totalitarian rule, the confiscation of guns comes before the violation of free speech. An unarmed citizenry has no opportunity to resist the loss of freedom of speech and press and assembly. We know that these rights are already under threat by the Feds, who use pretexts such as security and political correctness to work their nefarious designs. We know that for many of us, the line in the sand may well be confiscation of our rifles. As Longstreet continues:
The government will, as Charlton Heston famously stated, have to "pry the weapons from their cold dead hands." Heck, the government might actually get away with a couple of such encounters before the backlash begins.
But it will begin -- and when it does, there will be hell to pay. In the end, it will be the end of the United States as we know it.
Understand. There are some states that will move to secede rather than obey federal laws that force their citizens to disarm. Other states will arrest and incarcerate federal officers attempting to disarm that states citizens within the physical boundaries of that state.

Understand. These things are already being discussed in states and counties where governments and sheriffs understand their primary duty is to protect the rights of the citizens who elected them. There are many places in flyover country where state and local governments understand that Tenth Amendment pushback against the overweening power-mongering of the federal government is long overdue. Arizona is one.  There are many states and counties in which constitutional sheriffs (CLEOs) take the SCOTUS Printz v. United States (1997) decision seriously, in which SCOTUS held that:

. . . Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State's officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policymaking is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.

I agree with Longstreet that the Feds are dangerously out of control, and that their cheerleaders in the media and among people in the street are not thinking with their brains, nor are they aware of the cold reception of their totalitarian agenda (for our own good, of course) by the people who live outside of their vivid blue enclaves. The use of emotion by politicians and the media to whip the populace into mob action against citizens, unjustly and unrighteously threatening to violate a fundamental right by confiscation of firearms from law-abiding citizens, will create a response, but not the one the perpetrators envision. Mob rule is contrary to our values, our Constitution and our way of life. There will come a point of firm, determined resistance.

Minuteman Concord

We do not want civil war. We did not seek this war upon our values and our way of life. We want only to be left alone to live our lives. Many of us fervently wish that those who disagree with the Constitution as written, and who dislike our liberty, would remove themselves to a country that has laws and customs in keeping with their progressive values. As Sam Adams wrote:

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

These were strong words at the time, and they are strong words now. There is a point at which there can be no more discussion and no more debate about the encroachment upon our liberties. We have been coming close to that point over the past four years, as ordinary Americans have been waking up to smell the bitterness of a government that has long ago lost touch. We know that our elected servants believe that they are the masters, and want to discard the Constitution for a tyranny by the majority,  thus forsaking forever the republican values of liberty and individual rights written in that charter by which they were elected. We recognize that this government is now led by an executive who is unfamiliar with our values and our way of life. He has shown nothing but contempt for us, lying to us by whim, and using every event to dismiss our Constitution and erode our liberties. That he was re-elected by a narrow margin of the popular vote does not give him any other mandate than that assumed by every President of the United States: “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

There is war upon our way of life, against our liberties and our individual sovereignty. We did not seek this war, and thus far we have patiently used peaceful remedies to avert it. This attack is upon the heart of our values as Americans, and rural America is the place where it has begun, but it is not where it will end. This is a battle that we did not seek. But this is a war that we intend to win, in order to secure the lives and liberty of our children and their children. We intend to win it peacefully.
But we will win it at the cost of our lives, if necessary.

To those who intend to force me to surrender my arms, I say: μολὼν λαβέ!
And I am not alone.