Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19th - A Day to Remember

Do you know today is?

April 19th.

What sort of things have happened on April 19th?

Well, for one, it was the day of the “shot heard ‘round the world”, as the first battles of the American Revolution were fought. April 19th, 1775.

British soldiers…government agents…were making a move to seize a cache of weapons in Concord, Massachusetts. Old King George, it would seem, was a strong supporter of gun control. Like all tyrants, he prefers his subjects to be disarmed and helpless to resist his whims.

It is also the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, when Jews destined for death camps revolted, and fought a courageous, but short-lived, battle for their lives. Jews in Nazi Germany had long been deprived of the right to keep and bear arms. The Fuhrer, it would seem, was a strong supporter of gun control. Like all tyrants, he preferred his subjects to be disarmed and helpless to resist his whims. That began April 19th, 1943.

It is also the anniversary of the Waco Massacre, when the federal government used a tank to partially demolish David Koresh’s compound, leading to a fire that killed over 80 men, women, and children. April 19th, 1993.

Ironically, the whole affair began as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…government agents…were making a move to seize a cache of weapons allegedly stored inside the church. (The government propaganda machine likes to refer to the wooden structure as a “compound”…makes the boogeyman-of-the-day sound more threatening.) Old King Bill, it would seem, was a strong supporter of gun control. Like all tyrants, he prefers his subjects to be disarmed and helpless to resist his whims.

(As an aside…can anyone tell me why we have a law enforcement agency specifically focused on three legal products?)

Ironically, King Clinton would reprise this vile act in the year 2000, when government agents, armed with machine guns, raided a home to kidnap a six year-old Cuban boy, and sent him back the glorious socialist republic of Cuba. April 19, 2000.

It is also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, when Timothy McVeigh (and fellow conspirators?) carried out the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah building. April 19th, 1995.

The Murrah building was the location of the field offices for the FBI and the BATF where the Waco affair was planned. McVeigh, a former US soldier trained in explosives during the first Gulf War, stated that his goal was to strike back at the government that massacred its own people. When questioned about the 167 people, including many children, that were killed that day, McVeigh simply referred to them as “collateral damage” – a term for incidental casualties incurred during a military operation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending McVeigh’s actions in the slightest. (Violence never accomplishes anything productive in the long run.) But many are quick to vilify and dismiss McVeigh without examining his motives. Since 9/11, it’s become politically incorrect to suggest that our own government is at least partly responsible for terrorist actions like the OKC bombing. But honesty demands we take a hard look at the policies of our government, and ask hard, tough questions. Has our government become oppressive and tyrannical? Does it trample our rights? Does it endanger our lives, our liberties, and our property each and every day?

We should always remember the significance of April 19th, and what it means for liberty. And just as those men stood on that bridge and took up arms against their own government; just as those Jews stood up and resisted their own government; and, just as McVeigh, in his own sick way, thought he was standing up to his own government; we should endeavor to recapture a little of the revolutionary spirit, that inspires men to stand up and say “no more!” That spirit which recognizes often our worst enemy is ourselves, and that the only thing standing in the way of what we want is what’s in our own minds. Contrary to President Bush’s claims, Al queda, or Saddam Hussein, or “islamofascists” can never take away our liberties – only we can surrender them. We lose our liberties when we allow fearmongers to scare us into surrendering them, turning each of us into slaves, eventually to be marched off to the death camps if “the good of the nation” calls for it.

We don’t need to be disarmed if we aren’t willing to fight.

So, look at the history of this day. April 19th is a day that all lovers of liberty should remember.

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