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Independence Day

by Kurt Amesbury, J.D.

The six of them sat around the fire, watching the flames dance in the darkness, fighting back the evening chill. It had been a long day of hunting - but productive. The youngest had gotten his first deer, and two other kills ensured a good supply of venison for the family. Talk of the hunt had dwindled and all now stared into the dying flames without speaking.

"Father", one of the older boys asked, "Was it like this when you were my age?"

The two adults looked at each other, then gazed back into the flames.

"No son, not exactly."

"Why not?"

"Well, when I was your age, there was a war on."

The youngsters stirred, then settled in more comfortably. That their father had played a part in the war for liberty always made them proud. Each retelling brought new details, and each young man imagined what role he might have played if he had been alive in those times.

"I was about your age when the shooting started in what turned out to be the great war for independence. The government had been pushing the people, taxing them heavily, ignoring their rights. There were even incidents where the government troops had massacred innocent people, and the government abuses were getting worse all the time."

He stopped and prodded the fire, sending a shower of sparks skyward. After a thoughtful moment, he continued.

"The people took it for a long time. Longer, perhaps, than we should have. Even when the fighting broke out, there were a lot of people who were against it. The government was uneasy with us 'rebels' always agitating for better representation and complaining about taxation. Of course, we were uneasy about the government too, so we organized into militia groups that could respond at a minute's notice to any alarm. We all agreed we would have arms and ammunition in case things got bad. And eventually, they did.

"The day finally came when the government actually tried to take our guns and ammunition. Sent troops marching right into the city to seize them."

"And that's when the shooting started?", asked the youngest.

His father nodded his head slowly and spoke in an absent voice. "Yes. That's when the shooting began. None of you were even born then. Some have called it the 'shot heard round the world', but I wish it hadn't come to that. A lot of good people died on both sides. But it couldn't be helped. The government had passed laws saying we could not have guns within the city limits. They had a list of places where they thought arms were stored, and they sent the government troops to seize them."

"But you were ready, father?"

"Yes son, we were. We knew the government troops were coming. And we knew that the time had come to stop them."

"They marched in like they thought they owned the place. We could see their breath in the cold night air and hear the crunch of snow under their boots. They marched right out in the open, as if they didn't have anything to worry about. We hid and waited until just the right moment, then opened up on them with everything we had. We killed many of them and wounded many others, then we melted away like spirits into the night. The government called up reinforcements, but they didn't know who we were. Word of our daring spread quickly, and we soon found our ranks swelling with other citizens who believed in the cause of liberty and wanted to fight along side of us."

"We came damned close to losing. The government of course had professional troops - not only the military, but foreign troops imported just to fight us. Mercenaries. We almost missed our last chance to remove the boot of tyranny from our necks, to throw off the heavy yoke of unconscionable taxation. We almost lost our last chance to be free."

"But then the militia began to catch up with the politicians who were behind the heavy taxation and the attempt to disarm the citizens. In one night, all four senators from California and New York - all of whom had worked so hard to disarm the people - were caught and executed - by firing squad. In rapid succession, more than 27 congressmen, and another 13 senators were tried for treason and executed."

"And that's when things got really interesting. The House was composed largely of people sympathetic to the cause of freedom, but there were so many traitors in the senate if they'd all been killed, there wouldn't have been a quorum, so some of them were frog-marched into session for a series of votes. In a period of 24 hours, Congress repealed all gun control laws, the entire IRS code, all illicit drug laws, eliminated the entire drug interdiction system and defunded 90% of all Federal government agencies. HUD, BATF, FBI, EPA - all gone overnight. We withdrew from the United Nations and gave all U.N. delegates 24 hours to get out. Then we eliminated all foreign aid. The last item was approving the new budget - which came in at just under $100 billion. Then we took the traitors out onto the front lawn and executed them. The next day, we dynamited the U.N. building. Brought it right down in one huge pile of dusty rubble."

"All those blue helmets we'd been shooting at, along with the vehicles and arms and the foreign troops who carried them were surrendered to us. Some units decided to fight on, and they were hunted down and destroyed. We shipped the captured U.N. soldiers home - stripped to bare skin and packed into the hold of a cargo ship. They took nothing with them but water, oatmeal and enough fuel to get them to Africa."

"We bought our freedom with blood. Over 300,000 men died in the fighting before it was all over."

"We thought the rest of the world might go crazy, but it didn't. Sure, the stock markets took a pounding for a little while, but since we had already announced a return to the gold standard, the market actually rebounded and stabilized in less than a year."

"The president signed every one of the new bills into law and gave a speech about the power of the people, freedom and the first Declaration of Independence. As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, one of his last acts was to impose a uniform standard of fitness on all branches of the military. Twenty-three percent of the military was discharged within the week for lack of fitness. He then instituted a policy providing for a confidence vote of the officers by the men - resulting in the ouster of more than 75% of the general staff. Those officers who had been playing politics at the expense of military readiness were discharged without retirement benefits. A few were court-martialed for treason and shot. Thirty days later, the president resigned."

"Some thought other countries would see the drive for liberty and the decline in military numbers as an opportunity to attack U.S. interests. Some actually tried. They were punished with a fury that hasn't been seen since the U.S. flash-broiled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One particularly belligerent country lost over a hundred thousand troops in a single afternoon - but they were warned and didn't heed the warning. After that, no one dared to mess with the USA. Our forces were meaner and leaner than ever, and they weren't under the control of a commander-in-chief who owed his presidency to foreign interests. Military morale was at an all-time high. Enemies and allies alike just hung onto their seats with knuckles turning white while we cleaned house and restored freedom and everyone waited to see how it would all turn out."

"With their pay cut by 75%, their perks and status gone, many of the remaining members of Congress hung their heads and went home. They knew that they had failed to fulfill their oath of office and that their greedy dreams of power were over. Some found real jobs. Others committed suicide. A few, some of the good ones, stayed on and began the rebuilding process, but most of the vacancies weren't filled for a couple of years. A lot had fled for fear that they might be called to account for past votes."

"We found out we didn't really need a federal government - not like we thought we did. Even the poor were better off. Americans discovered real charity again, and communities began to pull together. People could begin to see that their neighborhoods were really theirs... not something on loan from the Federal government. Sure, a lot of welfare bums had to get jobs. I didn't shed any tears over that. Some of the mothers who kicked their husbands out found life considerably changed. There were no more government payments, and the state stopped enforcing alimony. Some ran short on food until they learned to go to the local church and ask for it. They seemed shocked at the idea that they were no longer 'entitled' to a living. But they adjusted."

"Americans rediscovered freedom and liberty, and vowed they would never again let their government rule them. Eventually Congress rebuilt. In its new trimmer form, it was something of which the Founding Fathers might have been proud. And the idea of being a career politician? It sort of got lost along the way. These days people seem to understand that politicians serve for the good of the country, not the good of the politician."

"The general tension in the country subsided quickly. New laws were passed that made the person who filed a bad faith law suit responsible for all costs, plus damages, and for the first time, courts started awarding those damages. A lot of lawyers wound up standing in soup lines. Can't say it hurt my feelings any. Medical costs plummeted. Do you know how much doctors used to have to charge just to get insurance coverage for unfounded malpractice claims?! When all the minorities and hyphenated Americans realized that they weren't going to be compensated for hurt feelings, they quit agitating and made a greater effort to be part of society, instead of trying to tear it apart. Jackson and Sharpton finally got on the boat and went back to Africa. Seem to recall one of them was killed when an angry mob strung him up."

"Entire segments of the insurance industry collapsed as people realized that they didn't need coverage for the imaginary ills of others. This by itself brought a measure of freedom. People weren't afraid to have a party and invite friends over. It seems hard to believe now that there was once a time when someone who drank too much could blame the person who served him for injuries sustained in an accident, but it's true!"

"Law schools went into deep decline. To be sure, there was still a need for lawyers. But the practice of shunning came back into vogue and nowhere was it practiced with more ardor than when shunning a lawyer who served himself above his clients."

"The media giants staggered. The Federal government began charging for the use of the People's airwaves and contributing the charges towards the cost of running the country. With the reduced government, and the charge for use of public resources, the need for Federal taxes disappeared."

"There were a lot of changes. The Feds were barred from keeping records on law-abiding Americans. Social Security paid out what was owed to the people who contributed, and then it was shut down. We were free to plan for our own futures."

"But that first engagement - that was the day we looked back on as the day our freedom began anew. That frosty night, as we waited on the roof tops and behind the trash dumpsters for the U.N. troops to come and try to take our firearms. We declared our independence in .30 caliber lead."

Stirring from deep thoughts, the man's wife looked with respect and affection at the grizzled old man who was her husband and her hero. "Of course, they rewrote the Second Amendment", she said, "It wasn't the same back then. They added a line. Before the war for independence started, the Second Amendment said, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It wasn't until 2011 that they added, "Any person who questions this right in a legislative body may be shot without consequences." The change was enacted exactly four years after that first encounter with the U.N. troops, on the day when ordinary citizens took their firearms into the Nation's capital and came back with our freedom... Independence day, September 6, 2007."

"You know," the father said, "I was just thinking. In all of human history, there was never before a country like ours. We were given a gift of incalculable value by men in 1776, and in a little over 200 years, we nearly ruined it. I wonder how long it will be before people start to let their rights slip again? How long will it be before they forget again, the price that was paid for their freedom?"

There was no answer but the slow crackling of the dying embers.


Printer Version

If a man neglects to enforce his rights, he cannot complain if, after a while, the law follows his example. —OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

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