The mail thundered down. It came in floods, waves, deluges and tides
in the days after WorldNetDaily ran my column “Before they come for the guns”. I’d expected it, in a way.
I’d expected to take a kick or two for talking about freedom lovers
“plotting” to take their freedom back.
What came wasn’t what I’d anticipated. Not one of the hundreds of
e-mails that cascaded over the dam of frustration (more mail than I’ll
ever be able to answer, to my regret) said, “No. That’s crazy. That’s
irresponsible. That’s wrong.” A friend or two wrote, “Better shut your
mouth, Claire.” And a few writers disagreed on details. But what flooded
in was one huge cry of, “YES!” from people around the world.
I had quoted nameless working-class American guys standing in a gun
store, talking the kind of talk you hear every day here in the West. The
words of peaceable people who — like German Jews of the 30s — see
themselves being legislated against, exploited, blamed, deprived of
earnings and possessions, and gradually being driven to defend their
very existence as full, free human beings.
E-mail after e-mail said, “Next time, Claire, portray that same
conversation among businessmen at the country club. It’s happening
there, too.” “Show doctors talking about when we might have to fight for
freedom; believe me, here at the clinic, it’s what we think about every
day.” “Scientists, Claire.” “Entrepreneurs. Housewives. Students. Count
us in.” One cubicle dweller, whose letter was published in
WorldNetDaily, wrote of corporate “Dilberts” who whisper of that
desperate day in chrome-trimmed lunchrooms, and who buy weapons they
never thought of owning — until the ever-more-threatening government
threatened to deprive them of the ability to do so.
Many writers remarked, “Thank God someone said it. I thought I was
alone.” “I thought I might be nuts, feeling that way when the media
keeps telling me how good everything is.”
And everywhere I go, I keep stumbling into these conversations.
Readers are right; it’s not only at the gun stores and gun shows. It
happened again yesterday in a pretty little shop in the city, filled
with flowers and antiques. There they stood behind the counter, the
entrepreneur couple who’d spent a career politely doing everything
right. We’d been talking no more than five minutes, about nothing in
particular. Someone made a remark about the government long ago dropping John Kennedy’s casket into the sea. Nothing more than
that — a chance reference to an old cover-up — when the man burst out,
“Sometimes I’ve thought we just need a revolution to wipe away all this
… all this government. I’m sorry. I’m out of line. I shouldn’t
say that. But. …”
Whatever it was with this quiet, middle-aged man — whatever had been
building inside him — it was so close to exploding that it burst in
front of strangers, triggered by nothing. It isn’t just about guns, as
my column was. But about tyrants threatening the core of individuality
core of freedom. How much more pressure can ordinary, good people bear
before the dam bursts? Before talk is no longer “just talk”?
One reader, Sonny Diehl, asked:
My only question, and I know that it is a rhetorical one,
is: “Why can the powers-that-be not see this?” They overlook the fact
that more Americans want their freedom today than were willing to fight
for it in the eighteenth century. Why are they willing to risk the
bloodbath that must come if they continue? Are they really the nitwits
And haven’t you wondered? As you listen to NPR or watch NBC News and
hear nothing but assumptions that we need more intrusive government,
haven’t you wondered what’s really going on in the reptilian brain stems
of those devouring our freedom?
Do those who wish to control us actually believe their own
propaganda? Do they imagine all is well in Happiland? Do they think all
that’s required to put the finishing touch on their Utopia is a few more
laws, regulations, executive orders, judicial fiats, presidential
decision directives and
canisters of CS gas? Do they — folly of follies — ultimately imagine
that a few million abused freedom lovers simply don’t matter?
In a way, it doesn’t matter what they think. Something has changed in
the last few months in the way many of us, the freedom lovers,
think. We’ve stopped believing in illusions. We’ve stopped chasing
chimeras, stood still and taken stock. It’s been coming for a long time
years — for some, even decades. But just recently — in a way that
millions suddenly feel, but few have yet articulated — the freedom
movement has reached a critical mass of disillusion. Maybe it was the
sickening gyrations of the Senate and the NRA in the wake of Littleton.
Maybe it was long before. But millions of us have irrevocably lost hope
in all the institutions and methods we’ve looked to for years.
And it’s a good thing we have.
Because that means we can quit wasting our time on what doesn’t work
— on being polite and begging our would-be rulers please, please,
please don’t take our freedom away quite so quickly. Go a little more
slowly. Tread a little less roughly on our hearts.
Yes, I know there are millions still doing it. Begging, writing,
pleading. I receive their URGENT! LEGISLATIVE! ALERTS! everyday. They
urge me to urge my readers to join NOW! in the latest,
newest, desperate, most-important-ever-ever-ever SAVE! OUR! RIGHTS!
Beg-A-Thon to Congress. And while they blow their priceless energy on
touching Civics Class exercises, control freaks snicker and freedom
But enough have now stopped doing the useless. We can get on with
what actually works. Ultimately the only thing that can work is
for millions of good people to become ungovernable. To live our freedom
for ourselves. And to do that, we don’t need a majority. Mainly, we need
our hearts — plus a lot of courage and just enough numbers that tyrants
arrest or kill us all.
Easy? No. But necessary. Time for each of us to start finding our
In the end our determination to be free may mean having to fight
tyrants with weapons, as well as wits. I hope not. I don’t want it. I
don’t call for it. I’d a thousand times rather use wits alone — wits
and truly free spirits and creative disregard for unjust laws. The monkeywrench can be a more
powerful weapon than the M-16, in the right circumstances. So can the
pure, ungovernable, hellraising soul. But like a lot of others who’d
rather just be left alone to live free, I’m becoming convinced that
freedom lovers who don’t simply leave for freer pastures will
have to stand and fight
No threat. Just a realistic assessment.
Leave if you can. If your
heart allows. Find a place with a less imperial government and a means
of making a living there. But if you stay here, prepare to live your
freedom, regardless of what the government does. No one is going to hand
you liberty, no matter how much you beg or threaten. No matter how many
letters you write, marches you march, rallies you raise, e-mails you
fling or articles you read or write. No matter how many times you
replace Reptile A in Congress with Reptile B, freedom ain’t gonna happen
It’s too late — if it ever could have worked at all.
One way or another, if you want it — if you really, sincerely want
freedom and don’t just prefer to whine about its loss — you’re going to
have to take it back yourself. In your own life. In your own attitude.
In your own actions. Pray you can do it with your wits, in your own
uniquely, peacefully intransigent way. But know that you are the only
one who can do it.
And let’s get on with it, making freedom, ourselves alone.