TREE of LIBERTY

May the lessons of the Spring of 2020 give us wisdom, encourage us to use our own common sense and embolden us to stand for what we know to be right.

               If you enjoy writing, like I do, there are times when something comes to mind and it almost writes itself as you sit before the blank ‘paper’ on the computer screen. The text flows like a mountain stream, careening over rocks and splashing into small pools as it winds its way down to the valley. Other times, there is a tug inside you, letting you know there is something you are to write and you hope it will burst forth like that stream and give you what you are to say. Still though, at times the tug is just that, a tug. There is a piece you are to write but no matter how long you stare at that blank screen, the only thing that envelopes you is how blank the screen truly is. Instead of a mountain stream you feel like a dustbowl farmer following a diviner with his crooked y shaped  stick, hoping he will find a trickle of water somewhere! You couldn’t put two sentences together to make an interesting opening line if the threat of three more weeks of quarantine hung over your head! If there were no tug, no sense of something worth writing and, more importantly, something worthwhile for others to read, it would be no big deal. Without the feel of something to write, you turn off the computer and go take up couch-potato duty. Thankfully, revelation struck almost simultaneously with me stubbing the pinky toe of my foot on the leg of my desk. Of course, it was the same foot that carries the weight of the recovering broken ankle. Such an event is the confluence of the Laws of Physics and the Laws of Natural Stupidity.    

            Like many Americans, if I see come across my news feed another COVID-19 update, I will not be responsible for my actions. Anyone who sees a desk or laptop computer come sailing out of my study window or an I-phone hurled from my F-150 at 70 mph will know that likely, the saturation level for COVID-19 news has been breached. It is difficult enough to deal with America’s 24/7 news casts which have as many talking heads as there are opinions. When there is no new news, the editors and producers beat the bushes looking for someone who has trained their pet to don a mask and protective gear whenever it goes out to do its business.                            

            At the risk of violating my own restriction and perhaps stretching the limits of my personal sanity just a bit further, there is something I would like to explore not about COVID-19 but because of it. I promise not to even refer to the 19 word again. If I do so, may the writing gods Penna and Pencilius  and their elder minions, White-us Outus and Carbona Paperia, wreak havoc upon my writing forever more.   

            Most have seen a shortened version of a quote by Thomas Jefferson from a letter he penned while serving in Paris. A few know the background and some know the extended version of the quote. It is replicated here.

   “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms… The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Thomas Paine

A bold statement for any man in those days and particularly one serving as a representative of his fledgling country. Jefferson wrote this in a letter dated November 13, 1787, to William S. Smith who was in London. It reflects upon poetry by Thomas Paine. The ballad was written in 1775 upon the eve of the American Revolution. In the ballad he paid homage to a 130 year-old elm tree that stood in Boston Commons, under which, according to historians, colonists gathered to discuss the events leading to revolution. He  dubbed it Liberty Tree. The first stanza reads:

“In a chariot of light, from the regions of the day,
The Goddess of Liberty came,
Ten thousand celestials directed her way,
And hither conducted the dame.
A fair budding branch from the gardens above,
Where millions with millions agree,
She brought in her hand as a pledge of her love,

 And the plant she named Liberty Tree.”

Liberty Tree on Boston Commons

Delicate is the balance of the branches of the Tree which upholds a diverse nation of peoples gathered in unique states, each united together ‘with the consent of the governed to permit representatives to conduct national affairs for their common good. The sacred document ratified by the diverse states permits the national government to do only those few things enumerated within this Constitution. In times of national crisis, certain powers are given to both the federal government and the state-houses of the individual states which can impose upon and restrict the rights of the individual citizen when it is deemed as in the best interest of the common good. The viability of such decrees are tenuous at best and it is very much a sure bet, those who find themselves wielding such new power will do two things.

            First, they will stretch the permission they have been given to decree from on-high too far. It will come almost to the breaking-point of the citizens’ willingness to obey, even if it truly is for ‘their own good.’ The citizen unused to such restraint will chafe at the bit and will not take kindly to the whip,

            Second, they will battle against the disassembly of their new-found power, seeking to maintain such power as the new status-quo. The public should be vigilant of any efforts to codify the new powers into legislation that would extend the usurpation of citizens’ rights beyond the crisis for which they have been approved.

            These two axioms are all but written in celestial stone as the negative result of the extension of power to fallible mankind. Therefore, citizens must consider at great length the nature of crises for which they are willing to subject themselves and their posterity to a curtailing of their basic rights. Persons in positions of power can always find enough experts, enough people of a single-mind who urge the restriction of citizens’ freedoms. They will claim to endow power to those who know best  what is  good for the majority.  For that reason alone, citizens must refuse to permit such a transfer of rights from the many to the few except in the most grievous of circumstances and for a specific period of time. Yes, even under the declaration of a national emergency, there are limitations and such a forfeiture of rights cannot continue without the consent of the governed through their representatives. The people must also be vigilant to revoke their permission when the true common good dictates. To do less, is to invite tyranny where there once was a republic.

            James Monroe understood the principle of certain basic rights which must never be traded for the promise of security. He wrote:

        Of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms…if these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny.

            As an aside, for those who choose to twist the 2nd Amendment to refer only to the possession and carrying of firearms for sport and hunting or with some other imagined restriction, the mind of the founding fathers is clear in both Jefferson’s and Monroe’s quotes included here.  The same follows for James Madison’s and Patrick Henry’s statements which follow. Tyranny cannot exist minus the voluntary or coerced acceptance by the majority. The latter cannot be coerced when the inalienable rights of the citizens as outlined by Monroe in the quote above are kept sacrosanct and inviolate.

In a brief titled, Second Opinion two others from the earliest days of our nation’s founding make their stand on the bearing of arms and the keeping of American government (or any government) in check regarding the rights of the citizens, James Madison and Patrick Henry write convincingly on the subject.

 James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, wrote in Federalist No. 26: “The advantage of being armed…the Americans possess over the people of all other nations…. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

In Virginia, Patrick Henry argued: “The great object is that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun. … Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” George Mason said of the need to bear arms, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

These Founders are not talking about defending individual liberty from foreign invasion — but from tyranny within.[i]

May the lessons of the Spring of 2020 give us wisdom, encourage us to use our own common sense and embolden us to stand for what we know to be right.                                

CLOSING THOUGHTS                      

Patriots met at the 130 year old Liberty Tree in Boston during the late 1760s. The tree got its nickname from an act of rebellion that occurred on August 14, 1765.  On September 11 of that year, a plaque was placed on the elm tree commemorating the event with the words, The Tree of Liberty. [ii] The tree was chopped down by loyalists and British soldiers during the siege of Boston, August 1775 ten years following its rise to fame.

Author’s notes:

Circumstantial events lie the aligning of dates is cause for reflection. Notice the date the plaque was placed at the tree.

The aligning of the Laws of Physics and Laws of Stupidity (page 1 paragraph 1) do not take full responsibility for the inspiration of this piece. Next to the desk upon which I stubbed my toe is a credenza upon which I caught my balance. Resting in a locked case on that credenza is my custom made “We the People” Colt .45 1911 firearm. My epiphany came between the outbursts exclaiming pain and holding onto the table to keep from falling!


[i] CelebrateBoston.com

[ii ] https://www.tysknews.com/Depts/2nd_Amend/tree_of_liberty.htm

A FEW PATRIOTS… PROPERLY ARMED

The militia or minute-men as they came to be called knew if the British were able to seize their stockpile of weapons and ammunition, any flicker of hope for reversing the trend of tyranny would be extinguished.

LEXINGTON & CONCORD the Revolution Begins April 19, 1775

Two hundred and forty-four years ago today, a few men, mostly farmers but all patriots who believed strongly in the right to self-government, risked everything they had, their homes, their families, their lives to take a stand against what they believed to be British tyranny. It was on the night of the 18th of April 1775 when Paul Revere and many other riders quickly spread the word British troops were on their way to confiscate the weapons and ammunition of the colonies held at Concord Massachusetts.

The militia or minute-men as they came to be called knew if the British were able to seize their stockpile of weapons and ammunition, any flicker of hope for reversing the trend of tyranny would be extinguished.

It was those early days when patriotic men and families rose to the call of freedom, and for 13 years they fought and died for that freedom, which so stirred in the hearts of the nation’s founders to hold in high regard the right of a free people to keep and bear arms. Second only to the right to speak freely; the founders knew, as Jefferson so plainly stated, human nature is capable of tyranny and even within such a republic as our United States, tyrants may seek the control of the people.

The only way the tyrants gain such control is for the people to give it to them. One certain way is to allow those who would control a free people to take away the right to keep and bear arms and to form a well-regulated militia. States rights check federal rights when it comes to such issues; which is why each governor is equipped with the power to control his or her state’s national guard. Someday the tyrants may come again for the cache of guns and ammunition, though this time not at an armory in Concord, Massachusetts but in the individual homes of citizens. They will seek ways to rob the patriots of their Constitutional right. Those same patriots, who, if they are truly the lovers of freedom they confess to be,will stand firm and yield not to tyranny but allow the tree of liberty to be refreshed once again.

Let it not be said I am extolling rebellion for rebellion’s sake. The men and women of 1775 colonial America agonized over the need to repress the British control. The status quo can be oh so comfortable. Never should such action be taken without imploring the God of the Universe to act to protect the people from those who would enslave them. Divine intervention has steered history since the dawn of time and will continue to do so. Free men must act, however, as their hearts call them to act; prayerfully seeking divine wisdom and guidance.

Throughout the centuries since Lexington and Concord, tyrannies the world over have come to power by first taking the ability of citizens to own personal firearms and means of self-defense. Adolph Hitler was quick to disarm the German people and every country he seized under the name of safety and security. Communist dictators from Stalin through Putin have extolled the solidarity of the state while removing from the citizens their ability to stand against the atrocities of that state.

The iconic American, John Wayne, is quoted as saying simiply; “You think the right to carry firearms should be illegal? What other kind of stupid ideas do you have?”

While a Senator, John F. Kennedy stated the case clearly. “By calling attention to “a well regulated militia” the “security” of the nation and the right of each citizen to “keep and bear arms” the founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy…the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our civilian-military relationships in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the 2nd Amendment will always be important.” Later, as President, J.F.K made it even more clear his undestnading of the Second Amendment.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The beauty of the Second Amendment is it won’t be needed until they try to take it.”

It is remarkable to me that Lexington and Concord, the initial battle for freedom in America giving birth to everything we stand for as Americans happened in Massachusetts. One of the strongest supporters politically for the Second Amendment, John F. Kennedy, a U.S. Navy Veteran and awarded the Purple Heart in WWII was from Massachusetts.

How can it be that as close as Vermont is to the cradle of American patriotism, during the Revolutionary War, Loyalists and Revolutionaries were at each others’ throats. One of their most stalwart and wealthy individuals, John Munro fought bravely in the Revolutionary War – on the side of the British! So disdained were his actions his wife Mary had to flee to Canada. Today, of course, Vermont is the home of Senator Bernie Sanders, the most blatant Communist since Kruchev banged his shoe on the table of the U.N. to get attention! Sanders is quoted as saying, “I belive military style weapons designed to kill human beings should not be sold or distributed in the United States.” By basic definition, that would include my Colt 45 ACP or any other 1911 handgun… hmmm. From there the slope gets even more slippery! I’ll close with this photo that references back to my comment on Germany…

Thank God for the patriots of Lexington and Concord and all those who have come after them and who are yet to come; who have given or will give their all to protect America’s freedom!

I Could Spit

When I was a boy, a few decades back, I was often intrigued by some of my father’s sayings. Many of them still make no sense to me even this many years after I have become full-grown. One of those sayings meant little to me until today. On this particular day, the day following the horrific terrorist attack at a nightclub in Florida by a self-proclaimed supporter of ISIS, a day full of liberal pandering and political bovine excrement deep enough to cover the White House lawn three feet in all directions, and the reports of the cataclysmic failure of the FBI to identify one individual terrorist who literally shouted at the world his intentions, I finally understand my father’s homespun descriptive. When I add to the volcanic angst I already have for the total failure of America to bring to the fore not even one truly qualified candidate for the office of President; my father’s quote makes even more sense.

What is this statement that has found its fruition in today’s events? “I’m so mad I could spit!” It helps to describe a feeling of such intense anger at the events of the day and a total frustration with the seemingly impossible actions anyone might take to fix the situation. There is such pent-up ire that it approaches a completely overwhelming anger at the ineptitude of those in whom we have placed our trust that they will do their best, under sacred vow, to keep this from happening; and, if it does happen, the people expect that rather than using it as an opportunity to push a worn-out political agenda, those in positions of authority might actually vow to combat the source of such evil and conquer it in order to prevent like events from happening in the future.

I am sick and tired (another great colloquialism) of hearing how such events wouldn’t happen if there was gun control –which is translated, American citizens cannot own guns privately and that only strict government control will fix it!  They mean the same kind of control that the government has now over who can get their hands on C-4 or on a stick of dynamite; which, by the way, were the initial weapons used by this crazy ISIS terrorist!

Allow me to state this plainly. Without second-guessing any individual’s actions in that club that night; if one person in that crowd would have been carrying a legally concealed firearm, the death toll may have been substantially less. I am so angry about politicians using every single violent crime as a soapbox for taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens instead of crusading to find and eliminate this evil that lurks in the shadows of our civilization.

I posted a quote by Noah Webster on my Facebook yesterday before this entire event began. Allow me to share it with you here:

Noah Webster

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”

In case you are interested, NoahWebsterHouse.org gives this summary statement about Mr. Webster: “Noah Webster accomplished many things in his life. Not only did he fight for an American language, he also fought for copyright laws, a strong federal government, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. In between fighting for these causes, he wrote textbooks, edited magazines, corresponded with men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, helped found Amherst College, created his own version of an “American” Bible, raised eight children, and celebrated 54 anniversaries with his beloved wife. When Noah Webster died in 1843, he was an American hero.”

Wouldn’t it be great if some two hundred years after our lives to have written for you and me that we were ‘American heroes’? Perhaps the time is short coming when we will have to take a stand for what we truly believe to be right in America. History will be our judge.

I am also completely appalled that the FBI could have interviewed this radical not once but twice and have given him a clear pass to continue to go about his Islamic terrorist plans. As an American citizen, as a retired Chief of Police, and as a member of the FBI National Academy Associates, I want to demand that a complete and above-board investigation be made of those interviews, the agents that performed them, the supervisors that approved them and to learn whether a fear of labelling someone and not being politically correct under the microscope of the Obama administration was the root cause for these interviews to go nowhere. I suspect that unless the agents and their supervisors are not complete morons, then some political cleansing of those interviews was required due to his ethnicity. Americans deserve answers to these questions.

Who are we supposed to be able to trust? I have an answer for you. In the movie RED, John Malkovich played Marvin Boggs, a somewhat psychotic, paranoid-schizophrenic former intelligence operative. His explanation is simple, here it is as portrayed to ‘Frank’ (Bruce Willis). “Frank, what have I always told you? You cannot trust the system…” There you go, straight from the lips of a psychotic, paranoid-schizophrenic who was given “daily doses of LSD for eleven years.” There is no better authority nor is it more succinctly phrased!

I have written articles for professional magazines dealing with responses to physical attacks and crime prevention. I also have a book at the publisher on a detailed plan for America’s law enforcement for combatting terrorists at the community level. In every article or chapter of the book which deals with who it is you can ultimately depend on to stop an attack, the answer is only you. You are the only one guaranteed to be present when you are being attacked. You cannot count on your spouse, your sibling or parent. When that psychotic Islāmic terrorist is about to blow up you and a hundred of your closest friends, if you do not have the capability to draw your legally concealed and carried firearm and immediately dispatch him to his mistaken idea of a heavenly reward; no one else will. The Orlando police and safety services did an amazing job and I take nothing away from them. What they faced and what they were able to accomplish, as well as what the hospital staffs were required to face, is absolutely overwhelming. They all deserve our admiration, respect and our prayers. As much as they will always be ready to go into the line of fire on behalf of the citizens they serve, their response time will always prevent them from being able to stop the carnage once it has begun.

By the same token, if you allow the sleazy politicians parading around Washington to divest you of your Second Amendment right, you have no one to blame but yourself. It is up to you. It is up to me. It is up to the millions of Americans who truly believe that the Constitution means what it says. But it remains an individual battle. I cannot assume that the NRA will fix it. I cannot assume that some Congressman who pledged something over a rubbery Rotarian chicken dinner will actually be able to do something. I have to take responsibility for my own rights and so do you. We must not allow ourselves to go silently into the night.

I have always said that there are very few things for which I am willing to go to jail. Standing strong for my faith in Jesus Christ, protecting my family and upholding the Constitution. That’s it. Everything else can get checked at the door. But on those three, I must vow to remain inviolate.

Do I believe that America is reaping the God-given consequences for our sins? God is completely holy and He is completely gracious. When Abraham bartered with the pre-Incarnate Christ about saving Sodom, God was willing to forego the annihilation of the city if only ten righteous people remained. (Gen. 18:19) As we know, there were not ten. There are many more God-fearing, born-again believers, followers of Jesus Christ in America than ten. The Bible does make it clear that governments cannot stand without God’s blessing so perhaps we are in a time of a lesson that we must learn. Who can we trust? We can trust God to be who He is – the Holy, Omnipotent, Gracious God who was and is and is to come. His plan for you and I and for America will not be subverted regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. As Christians first, Americans second, we must seek God’s mercy and “Humble (ourselves) under the mighty hand of God so that He might exalt (us) in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

I am so mad I could spit and yes, I am sick and tired. I may not be able to change the actions and attitudes of the people who are in Washington D.C. However, I can recommit myself to being as physically, mentally and spiritually ready to face whatever might happen within my sphere of influence. I can be involved by keeping my voice heard in the public arena and I can vote intelligently. I can pray, every day, for my country, its leaders, and for Christ’s church that God will guide and direct; protect and preserve this great Republic.

May God bless America and may America bless God.

new Old Guard

The new ‘Old Home Guard’              14 July 2012

Dr. Ross L. Riggs ~ Security Consulting Investigations & Global Security Consulting

Defending one’s own home and one’s own family is a principle that leaders, military tacticians, contingency planners and soldiers have understood for millennia. Confronted with an indefensible city wall, an enemy taking up offensive positions on the hills not far from the broken gates, Nehemiah assigned men to work refortifying the walls immediately in front of their own homes first. Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C. was under the command of a wise leader. Hundreds of years later, Jesus taught a corollary. The hireling takes off when trouble comes, but the owners of the sheep stay to fight and protect what is theirs. Mercenaries find it much more palatable to concede today in hope of a better tomorrow than stand firm no matter the end. Those who guard their own know that without victory today, there may be no hope for tomorrow.

Americans enjoy the fruits of wisdom of our forefathers who understood the need for a strong national defense. A strong presence with a global reach protects our homeland keeping those who want to strike us leery of that awesome power. Our nation’s planners knew, however, that there were other risks that required a local presence with an equal ability, known today as the National Guard; augmenting the federal military. As well-trained yet, ‘locally owned and operated’ and available to each state’s governor.

But, they did not stop there. Wise leaders in the Constitutional Convention of the 18th century, even before the formal establishment of the divisions of the armed services; enumerated ten amendments to the new Constitution to assure its ratification. Of course, these  amendments are the Bill of Rights. Second only to the right of free speech was, and is, the right of states to have a “well regulated militia” and for each citizen the right to “keep and bear arms.”

Two quick points of logic are necessary here. First, there is a clear distinction by the common reading that there are two groups, or entities, here whose rights are affirmed. One is each state of the union; the second is each individual citizen. The former has the right to keep a militia. The latter has two inter-dependent rights described.They are two specific and individual rights. The first is “To keep… arms.” It is the right of ownership.

It doesn’t say ‘keep registered’ or ‘keep and register…’ it reads “keep.” The second right within this Amendment for the citizen reads, “bear arms.” The clear and common reading in 1787 and today did not mean that the owner of arms had the limited right of carrying it around his property only, or in some cities today, only allowed to carry it inside his home. To bear it simply meant, and means, to carry it wherever one chooses to go. This was clearly understood then as both open and  concealed carry. There was no distinction.

A caveat is necessary. The old adage, my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins is in play here.  A citizen, who owns private property, has the right to regulate if, when, and how another may carry a firearm onto it.

Any U.S. citizen who attempts to undermine or weaken the security of this country by depriving citizens of their Constitutional rights, in this case without a legally ratified new amendment, but rather by malfeasance and color of law should be charged with treason. This is particularly true of those who would conspire with our enemies to promulgate such an act as in the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.

To permit the open meeting of co-conspirators within the boundaries of the U.S., particularly within blocks of 9-11 Ground Zero, is a slap in the face of all Americans. At what point will we cordially invite the U.N. and every other group or individual here in the country who can only denigrate the nation and seek to find ways to hurt and disrespect it to go elsewhere? It is ludicrous for the American taxpayer to host the U(nfriendly) N(ations) at a cost of $20 million annually, over $2 billion for the new office, 22% of the entire annual budget and the costs keep adding up…[i]  The Small Arms Treaty should be the final straw. That building would make a nice Holocaust museum and a Hebrew University campus for international studies as well as an American University center for Constitutional law.

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed.”[ii]