UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL
Thousands of gun owners will crowd the grounds of the New York state Capitol today, most of them participating in the first public demonstration of their lives.
They will be protesting the Cuomo gun ban, a dramatic rollback of gun-owner rights foisted on the people of New York by an aspiring governor and a servile legislature.
There will be speeches and signs and a seething anger.
And an unspoken criminal conspiracy.
On the grounds of the state Capitol, in a crowd dominated by middle-class and middle-aged white men, a disproportionately high percentage of whom are military veterans, thousands will be resolved, for the first time in their lives, to break the law.
After lifetimes of good citizenship, of being the pillars of their communities, of defending law and order, these people have decided to cross the line.
They have resolved to ignore a law they consider immoral and unconstitutional. They think on their understanding of individual liberty, they reflect on the oaths they took when they went in the service, they see a line in the sand.
And it has been crossed.
They have been criminalized by their own government.
Rights understood to be inviolate, privileges acted upon freely for years, were swept away in the dark of the night, by a secret bill and a swift signature. It is tyranny on the Hudson and the governed have withdrawn their consent.
They will not turn in their magazines, and they will not register their guns.
They have decided to answer to their consciences, not their masters. They view this act as a breach of the social contract and an abrogation of constitutional rights.
So they have nullified the law in their minds and in their actions.
They have decided this, almost all of them, privately in their minds and hearts.
And the state will smash them.
If they resist the will of the governor in ones and twos, as scattered resisters across the countryside, they will be squashed. They will be arrested, they will be imprisoned, they will be bankrupted and lose their homes, as well as their right to own a gun or cast a ballot.
That is what is at risk.
Men who have defended their country in combat and in the conduct of their lives, will be made felons by the avarice of a petty Caesar.
Unless they take counsel from America’s past.
It’s as simple as the motto from Revolutionary times: United we stand, divided we fall.
By ones and twos, we fall. By thousands and tens of thousands, there are too many of us to be taken.
The goal must not be to have sporadic noncompliance, the goal must be to have widespread, even universal, noncompliance. It’s not that this guy and that guy should engage in civil disobedience, it is that every one of us should engage in civil disobedience.
United we stand, divided we go to prison.
When Martin Luther King marched, he didn’t march alone. When tea was dumped in Boston Harbor, it was a big crowd doing the dumping. There is strength in numbers.
If there is just a trickle of newly outlawed weapons registered, if very few magazines are turned in, if we buy our ammunition out of state whenever we can, if their numbers show that we have opted out, it sends a powerful message.
And it makes us too large a target to move against. If thousands and tens of thousands nullify the law, practically and procedurally they cannot handle us all. We will tie up their cops and fill up their jails and bog down their courts.
And some of us will sit on their juries, and that won’t help their conviction rate.
Obedience to law, Lincoln said, is our national religion.
But it wasn’t us who broke the faith. The Constitution is our Bible, the holy writ of our Republic, and though it means nothing to them, it means everything to us. It is superior to them, and we will obey it, even if we must disobey them, and that’s all there is to that.
See, without the consent of the governed, you’ve got to have an awful lot of state troopers to impose your will.
And we have more of them than the governor does.
Thousands will make their first-ever trip to Albany today. They’ve come to deliver a message.
A message the governor would do very well to heed.
Because he can’t lead if we don’t follow.
And we sure as hell aren’t following.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2013