From My Cold Dead Hands – Seriously?

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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.

From My Cold Dead Hands

From My Cold Dead Hands

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.

From My Cold Dead Hands!

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.


  1. SueN

    December 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Very well stated. It’s refreshing to read something intelligent and well-thought out, not to mention well-written. The internet is awash with bad grammar and worse. Thank you for your thoughts. It’s a subject that screams for mindfulness and restraint.

    • Pat Henry

      December 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Thank you very much Sue! I really appreciate that and hope you will visit us again.

  2. Northern Raider

    December 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Damn and here was me hoping and preying this place was not going to turn into yet another gun crazed fest of American testerone, America is slaughtering its own people in the thousands each year, millions of ordinary people are so afraid of absolutely everything they dare not venture outdoors unless armed to the teeth, going to the mall, going to school, walking the dog, having a BBQ on the beach etc all require being armed before setting out. what a terribly sad way to live your life fearing anything and everything including your neighbours, schoolmates, work mates and fellow dog walkers.
    Guys face up to it we Brits are not going to come back and burn down your White House again and that was what your founding fathers meant when they talked about bearing arms, even the Canadians promise not to come back and invade you 🙂
    Still I know and understand you guys will never change and your going to continue down the same old road with children stealing moms gun, or the guy sacked last week will grab his Bushmaster and the slaughter will go on and on and on and on, all because your national psyche whilst warm, caring, generous and friendly is overwhelmed by a blind irrational fear about violence.
    I’m off to walk the dog now, no gun, just a flashlight.
    Later dudes

    • richie

      December 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Poor widdle guy is so scared of the spree shooter boogeyman he can’t feel safe unless big brother takes everyones guns first.If anyone is scared it’s the gun control tards broski

      • Northern Raider

        December 14, 2013 at 6:32 am

        Your missing the point Richie, we Brits aint afraid to open the front door and go out unarmed, we enjoy our lives free from the paranoia and blind terror that blights so many American lives. You guys are afraid of everything, bosses, work mates, federals, your kids, your neighbours you see boogeymen everywhere. And we still have plenty of legally held guns for hunting, vermin control etc , we just have enough rules in place to prevent most ( but never all) tragedies.
        And the gun control supporters are not retards Richie, most of them are families of gun crime victims sick of seeing pointless massacres of children, families and workmates by big ass NRA members taking out their frustrations on innocent people with assault rifles.

    • jim

      December 14, 2013 at 9:53 am

      if you have a fire extinguisher in your house are you terrified about a fire? No. Do you get health insurance because your terrified about getting sick. It’s just an insurance policy for something that could happen.

    • Carl Hartup

      January 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Thank you for your interest. Now take your LIMIE ASS back where you came from. We will handle our own problems without your 2 cents worth

  3. Northern Raider

    December 13, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    There is always someone with a bigger gun than you, there is always someone with a quicker draw than you, their is always someone luckier than you, there is always someone better at stalking than you, there is always someone better at cammouflage than you, there is also someone more desperate than you, there is always someone meaner than you, there is always some nut with a grudge that you 200,000,000 gun owners have not cottoned onto. So long as their are so many variables and options and chances you folks NEED some sort of sensible gun control measure. Hey theres over 1.5 million highly trained cops, detectives, security officers, peace officers and ordinary folks who have done advancec skill at arms and yet there still over 10,000 Americans shot each year. Its both naeive and foolish to think and individual or small group of citizens can resist the overwhelming might of the Federal government. The way to secure yourselves from it is via the ballot box not the ammo box.

    • Pat Henry

      December 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks for your comments as always Northern Raider.

      I think you missed the point of my article or are simply arguing one point that wasn’t my intended theme. Maybe I didn’t do an adequate enough job of framing my argument but the 2nd Amendment wasn’t the focus for me. Rather, that was a launching off topic for my larger point, which was more or less the cavalier attitude of a lot of us toward going out in a hail of bullets.

      You bring up topics worthy of entirely separate articles, that I thought I wrote about already. If not I may have to do that sooner than later. 🙂


    • John

      December 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm


      The 2nd amendment wasn’t put in place to stop the Brits from burning down the Whitehouse again (although I wouldn’t get in the way if you tried at this point). It was put there to recognize that free men have the right and means to defend themselves from all enemies. Yesterday maybe it was the British, today in many ways it is our own over reaching and out of touch government and all those well armed and semi trained law enforcement personnel you mention. It is becoming more and more that if you aren’t a cop you must be a criminal. That is wrong. Lastly, I conceal carry any where I go. Even walking the dog or grocery shopping:) I don’t do this because I am scared. I do this so that when some nut looses a football game or other some such nonsense that I will be there to stop them from harming others. You never know when or where crazy will strike. But I damn sure plan to be between them and my wife and kid and armed with more than harsh words. Gun control takes guns out of the hands of the law abiding 99% of the time. An armed society is a polite society.

      Nice article Pat. There is a great article that Max Velocity wrote detailing the outcomes of door to door confiscations and swat team visits to your home in general. This is a situation I know I wrestle with a lot.

      • Pat Henry

        December 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm

        Thank you very much John and that is pretty much how I look at it also. Hope you are doing well!


      • Northern Raider

        December 14, 2013 at 5:36 am

        Another school campus shooting yesterday in CO, thats 43 school shootings since 2010 dont see you concealed carry types doing much preventing?

        “Lastly, I conceal carry any where I go. Even walking the dog or grocery shopping:) I don’t do this because I am scared.”
        Rubbish John, pure rubbish if you were not afraid of the unknown you would not feel the need to carry a gun. Your just looking for the boogeyman round every corner.

        • John

          December 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

          That is because there are laws that make it a crime to carry anywhere on or in some cases near a school campus. So I must break the law should I try to protect myself or child at their school. Again.. gun control laws only favor criminals since they hold themselves to no laws. We also aren’t permitted to carry in Federal buildings. Other places vary state by state. I don’t “feel the need” to carry everywhere I go. I choose to exercise my right to carry. Many men have died to preserve our bill of rights and many more will still. For the record, we Americans like the freedom to choose if we carry or not. We have no desire to end up in a nanny state like the UK. I don’t need a government to feed me, house me, and wipe my ass. Self reliance and personal responsibility are the order of the day here.

        • ryan

          January 31, 2014 at 10:13 am

          statistics show that crime went up in great Britain after its people gave up their arms. you didn’t stop crime by making all the law abiding people turn them in, you just made the criminals the only ones that are armed. you may not hafta worry about a mass shooting, but odds are higher of getting mugged, stabbed, or beaten in the UK. So don’t act like Britain is this rainbow picture of peace because your citizens cant defend themselves.

  4. Northern Raider

    December 14, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Morning chaps looks very much like your 200,000,000 guns have not prevented this weeks school shooting in the US, Just watching the news of the school shootng in Colorado.

    • Pat Henry

      December 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

      That is true, that nobody with a gun prevented this from happening (in this case), but the reverse isn’t true either that not having guns would have prevented some nut from killing people. Even in your neck of the woods, you have murders. Ignore the method for a second. Look at the counts of murder not the numbers of gun incidents and the stats get more interesting.

      Remember the two guys who ran their car into a solder and then cut his head off with meat cleavers? They were stopped by someone with a gun weren’t they?


      You might say that only police officers should be trusted with firearms and that in my opinion is completely false and dangerous. Several times in history you have a genocide is when the people are disarmed.

      This is too complicated a subject to debate in comments really but I do appreciate your willingness to say what your opinion is and have a debate. Maybe I need to splain myself better in another post on the subject.

    • ryan

      January 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

      why is it foreigners care what are laws are? worry about great Britain raider, well worry about our country.

  5. Gino Schafer

    December 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

    How’s that Sharia law working out for you in the UK, Norther Raider?

  6. AZDevilDog

    December 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Always good to read your posts Pat. I for one caught your intent. Thank you and keep up the good fight.

    • Pat Henry

      December 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Thanks AZDevilDog! You do the same.

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  10. Charles Hyde

    September 26, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    This is probably one of the best thought out and written pieces that I have read, and I read many posts and discussions about this highly volatile subject. Having said that, I have spent time “on the battlefield.” In our valley we have quite a large vet community, and most of us got a lesson very early in our lives that there is darned little glory in looking across your sights at another human being…or even worse seeing them peer at you across their sights. We learned that you will never know how you will act when faced with those situations. I consider my family, and I include my wife’s family, as the greatest blessing that God has given to me. Along with the joy comes the responsibility to care for and protect them. If a foreign power were to come armed into my community, I would be one of the first to take up arms. I have never voided the “blank check” that I wrote to my country, and I never will. When and if that unlikely event occurs, my family will be in even more danger if I do nothing. This is a decision that we will have to make by ourselves. The only absolutes in my life are God, family, and country, in that order. Guns are merely things and can be replaced. People are not. Think carefully before you utter those words. Thanks for letting me rant.

    • Pat Henry

      September 27, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Thank you Charles for reading the article and your comments!

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