“There’s only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners — to either tax them or take them.”
-Wayne LaPierre, First Martyr, former Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association
Speech to the Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conservation Awards 2013
My sister. She means well, and has a kind heart, but she is wrong. Pa is wrong, too, but he sees with both eyes open. He grew up in the land of the Righteous, grew up in a house of worship, grew up learning to hunt at Paw-Paw’s knee, grew up with a rifle in one hand and Bible in the other. He has forsaken the truth, and, though it saddens me, he will be left to his own fate. God shall judge him; I only hope not too harshly.
And now, of course, I feel guilty. Who am I to hope or not hope for God’s will to move one way or another. He is God. He will know what best to do.
Basic training was rough, but not as bad as I’d come to expect. Physical training with a group of like minded young men, I was able to let their brotherhood, spirituality and conviction help carry me through. As I relied on them, I found that they relied on me as well. I was the highest rank in my bunk, by default the leader of that group of happy boys. They were not men yet, but would be, sooner than any of us would have liked.
Even though my education was one that was supplied in the West, I’d been allowed to enter basic combat training as a specialist. This really does no good if those in your unit don’t respect you - not that anyone would come out and show any insubordination. The Eastern Army would never do such a thing. But if a senior officer did not command the full confidence of his subordinates, he might not expect things to run as smoothly or as efficiently as he would like.
My platoon? Everything ran like clockwork. Our sergeant was the quiet. He had to yell at us every once in awhile to keep up appearances, but it was for show. We knew what we had to do. We were the new swords of God, and we did not want to let Him down.
Boot camp was burning with the fervor of the just and virtuous. We were men brought together to fight not our brothers and sisters of the left, but to fight the Devil himself. Our lives were radiant, our days filled with honest labor and physical works, our evenings overrun with humor and prayerful meetings.
I was an oddity. No one had met a Westie, not in person. The state of the union (or non-union) was such that everyone knew someone peripherally in the West, but few had any close friends or relatives there. When I showed up at the gate, duffle on my back, Book in my hand, I was welcomed as a long lost son of the Republic and brought in from the cold. Not that it was physically cold in the middle of an Oklahoman summer, but I had been spiritually frozen until that moment.
Now everyone knew who I was. They wanted to know what it was like Over There. Were there orgies every night that we were forced to partake in as soon as we grew hair in all the right place? Was there mandatory bible burning bonfires on the beaches? Did we all really have to know Spanish and Mandarin just so we could go shopping? Were we all vegans?
I filled them in as best as I could. Life was much the same as in the East, I said. Pants on one leg at a time, I said. Nothing special, I said.
One afternoon I was taken aside. The gentleman was in a well-cut officer’s uniform. There was no rank, no insignia, nothing that would even note which branch of the military he represented. It was as if the uni was a blank slate, waiting for someone to fill it out with all the proper bells and whistles. The only decorations were a cross on either lapel, one bone white, the other ebony black.
I would later learn that this was military intelligence, an organization that had been converted from the of nation’s FBI, CIA and NSA, then rolled into one. I learned this because that was where my training was taking me, though I didn’t realize it at the time.
The man - a man whose name I would never know, this man on average height, of average skin tone, of average hair color, he spoke with me for a good long while. He thought that perhaps there would be a bit more benefit to to the East if I didn’t focus on how much alike East and West were. He thought that perhaps, just perhaps, and only if I wanted, that when asked questions, I should tell them more about the differences. More about the reasons why there had been an armed insurgency in what had once been Washington D.C., more about the - he didn’t want to call them infidels - the misguided and their insidiously evil ways.
He said that it was only a suggestion, saluted me as if I were an officer, then crisply turned and walked away.
From that point on, I made sure that my compatriots knew of the taxes taken from the wealthy and given to the undeserving, the lack of God in society, of the murders of the unborn, and of the loss of basic Liberties. People were not free in the West, they only appeared to be. A free man would not let his rifle be stripped of him. A free man would not let infanticide continue.
I was not free before. I was not free until I crossed the threshold into Fort Sill, and into the arms of the Righteous.