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Many of us who value our 2nd Amendment rights have heard and perhaps even shouted the phrase Charlton Heston seems to be responsible for making famous “From My Cold Dead Hands”. He may not have been the first to say this and he will most certainly not be the last, but it is a powerful statement that many people like me choose to say whenever we are confronted with the threat of some form of Gun Confiscation. The clear vision of someone having to kill you in order to disarm you is visceral and matches the fervor that most of us gun owners have when it comes to this subject.
You may have heard recently of the opinion piece on Esquire’s website from a Lt. Col. Robert Bateman. Col. Bateman was motivated to write the following words he says because of a news headline in which a woman allegedly killed another woman over something as senseless as a football game.
Col. Bateman describes the situation and then opens with “People; it’s time to talk about guns.” I disagree on that first point completely. In my opinion it’s time to talk about idiots watching football and loosing their crap because someone lost a stupid game. Who the hell cares? Had he said that, he would have had my unflinching support.
However, that is not what he said and the rest of his article was built on the premise that the 2nd amendment was only about Militias and how us common people should not be allowed to have firearms unless they are for hunting. He talks of the weapons he would allow, the taxes he would levy on ammo and restrictions on gun sales. The most incendiary of his “suggestions” was the phrase “We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers.” To be fair this man did not seem to suggest killing anyone for their firearms, just that they would be confiscated when they died, “hopefully of natural causes”. This has caused more than one blogger to write about this and I can see the usefulness in taking this man head on because I for one think he is an idiot, he is dead wrong and I am embarrassed to know he made the rank of Lt. Col in the Army. I am worried that this man who swore to uphold the Constitution believes it is flawed and that he in his wisdom has a better idea.
What it does give me a chance to do though is to challenge each one of you who, like me have said this phrase before. “From My Cold Dead Hands!” What does that mean really and are you sure you will be able to say that when the time comes with the same zeal? The reason I ask is that if you seriously consider what this phrase means and more importantly how your life and the lives of others could be impacted if we are ever forced to put our money where our mouths are, you could possibly think of situations where that steadfast belief in this cause might be swayed. Your firm and avowed pledge to hang on to your guns no matter what comes your way, could be put to the test and I wonder if all of us would be up to the challenge.
It’s very easy to say something as an absolute. “I would never do that.” Or “You can’t get me to eat broccoli.” or “you always leave that light on.” “I would never steal from someone”, or “I could never hurt anyone”. These sound great but if you were put in the right situation each of us could easily steal if we felt our survival depended on supplies. Any one of us could kill if it meant the lives of our family would be spared even for one day. Saying that they can take your guns when they pry them from your cold dead hands is another absolute. Molon Labe is the more modern version that translated means Come and Take (them). Molon Labe is reportedly the phrase that King Leonidas I of Sparta said to Xerxes when the Persians decided to invade at the onset of the famous Battle of Thermopylae and on the battlefield it makes perfect sense. On the battlefield you have to be prepared to die. Actually, I would assume, though I have never been on the battlefield, that you have to resign yourself on some level to death in order to make it through. I know that there are those who think they are bulletproof but I myself might look at it from the other angle and that is that God knows when I am going to die, so why worry?
Like I said, in Battle that statement makes perfect sense and there is nobility in making a stand like that. There is honor in laying down your life for your country (when the cause is just). But the majority of people who say “Come and Take it” aren’t on the battlefield thousands of miles away. You aren’t in a war and your family is safe back at home far away from the conflict. What will you do if the battle comes to your state, city, neighborhood and eventually front door? You won’t have 300 other highly trained and dedicated warriors behind you willing to fight to the last. You will very likely have children, a wife and the family dog. Will you be as defiant when they have a gun to your little girls head and she is crying for Daddy?
I fully understand that if we as a country come to a collective moment that so many fear, we will be on the battlefield. That battlefield will be in our backyards though and things are different. I am pretty confident that if I was a single man or my family could be temporarily transported to another planet for safety, I could and would stand my ground and fight to the last to secure the blessings our forefathers fought and died for. If my family was threatened by my actions, I would have to pause and would probably cave. How many of you would sacrifice the blood of your children for an ideal in that moment?
I will still say Come and Take it as well as From My Cold Dead Hands, but it is with the realization that every situation is different and I will try to act in the best interests of my family at all times. If we have to go to war, I am ready to lay down my life. If my family is involved I am still ready to lay down my life, but I will never be ready to lay down theirs. Does that make me weak? Perhaps. I just wanted to write down some thoughts about this phrase and how it spurs me to plan for a day when we might have to make hard decisions. Maybe it will keep me from talking in absolutes all of the time. Hopefully I will never be in a situation where I will have to eat those words I can so easily say today.
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