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