As Americans, you and I have lived our lives as part of the greatest experiment in human liberty and dignity in the history of the world. We have been incredibly lucky. The people who set up this grand experiment believed that by virtue of our existence as human beings, we have certain inherent rights. They listed these rights in our Constitution in a section known as the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to that Constitution. These rights are not granted by any government, and they cannot therefor be revoked by any government. These are basic human rights: • The right to publicly state our opinions, verbally or in print, no matter how unpopular they may be, and to believe in any god or no god as our consciences dictate. • The right to defend our own lives and those of our loved ones, as well as our possessions from criminal aggressors with deadly force if necessary, even if the criminal aggressor is our own government. • The right to occupy our own homes without government interference. • The right to privacy in our homes, persons, personal papers and possessions, and to be free of warrantless searches concerning those same items. • The right to refuse to answer questions from the government or the police that might be used against us in a court of law. • The right to a timely trail if accused of a crime, and the right to confront an accuser and know the details of the charges, and to be represented by a lawyer. • The right to be judged in court by a jury of other citizens. • The right to reasonable bail when arrested, and reasonable punishments if convicted of a crime. • The right to be judged equally before the law, and to be treated according to the required processes by which all other citizens are dealt with by the government. Furthermore, the document limits the power of the federal government and makes it subordinate to the state governments in all instances except those specifically granted to it in the rest of the Constitution. The federal government has more or less followed along with these requirements over the first 220 years of its existence. But in the last 30 years or so we have seen a federal government going more and more out of control. After the 9/11 attacks on New York City this process was accelerated. It doesn’t matter which party, or which individuals were in power then, or are in power now. The process continues to accelerate: • Publicly stated opinions are demonized, if not criminalized by the federal and state governments. Unpopular opinions, especially those critical of the government are grounds for suspicion of criminal intent, and unequal treatment by the IRS and other federal agencies. Utterances, contacts, transactions, and travel by innocent citizens are now monitored, collected, and analyzed. • The means of self defense against individual criminals and criminal governments are being more and more restricted, regulated, and confiscated. • Citizens are summarily evacuated involuntarily from their homes, and in some cases prosecuted for obstructing police if they refuse. • People are routinely searched in public, their homes and vehicles routinely ransacked without warrants, their conversations and contacts monitored, and their documents copied to government databases, all without any warrants or suspicion that they are doing anything specifically illegal. • Self-incriminating information is obtained by torture from suspects who are never advised of specific charges they might face, or the reasons for their detention, who are granted no hearings or trials for years, and are not represented by lawyers. • People, including American citizens, are summarily assassinated without due process, using remotely controlled weapons at the order of a single government official. Our government has lately assembled a domestic army under the DHS. It is fed data from the NSA, the CIA, and the FBI. The purpose of this army is ostensibly to protect us from terrorism. But more and more it seems to consider us the terrorists. Recent statements by its director and others have warned about “veterans”, “patriots”, “right leaning” political groups, and “left leaning” political groups. Children and grandmothers are groped at airport security checkpoints. Random searches at DHS “immigration” checkpoints are conducted hundreds of miles from any national boundary. DHS/TSA armed agents conduct random searches at train and bus depots. SWAT teams have been assembled by various departments, including the Department of Education. Billions of rounds of ammunition have been ordered for use within the United States by federal agencies. Local police have received military style training in crowd control. Being searched at the entrance of every public and private venue is becoming a routine requirement, to which citizens are becoming acclimated. Where does all this activity take us? Do we one day awaken to find ourselves in a totalitarian state? Our ability to object to these events and processes is rapidly disappearing, along with our will to do so. The last, and most important of our human rights is the right to defend ourselves from an overreaching, out of control, despotic government. The people who set up this grand social experiment wanted the citizens always to have the means to do so. That was the reason for the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. They did not, however, envision a modern, technically advanced standing army such as we now have in our military and in the DHS. It’s doubtful whether an armed citizenry could prevail against such forces. But the fact is that it need not actually prevail. As it stands now, such a civil conflict would be so incredibly destructive, messy, and costly in terms of actual physical damage, as well as political damage that it’s not yet quite thinkable. That is the reason for the present push to disarm the citizenry. If that agenda can be advanced just a bit further then the damage, both physical and political may become acceptable. It is past the time when America’s citizenry should have awakened to this situation. We don’t pay enough attention to what is happening around us. We are actively distracted from these important observations by the media, with its 24/7, 365 day per year, freak sideshow of reality programming and celebrity news. The media determines what we hear and see, and how we perceive our own situations. They determine who our elected officials are by their filtering and analysis of the news and the political discourse. This means that our elected officials are beholding to the media, not to us. The media controls their fates, and they know it. One might ask then, who controls the media? A better question is, where does the media get its income? It comes, of course, from corporations like Monsanto, Boeing, General Electric, Haliburton, Goldman Sachs, Exxon, and Bechtel. We have government of, by, and for the corporations. We have been raised to believe that the government will take care of us, and that it is benevolent. It will solve any problems that arise. But what happens when the government is the problem? What happens when we become its servants instead of its masters? I can’t predict the future, but I know that elections won’t solve this problem. As my old philosophy professor used to say, “We’re free to choose, but our choices are limited.” That leaves two choices, either accept what we are handed by the government/media/corporate complex, or use whatever means are necessary and at hand to declare our independence, just as our founders did: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776, The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America How long do we continue to suffer before we institute a new government? What does that look like? Who will join us, and who will remain with the status quo? These are questions I can’t answer. I suspect these are questions our children will have to answer. Let us as parents educate them and give them the tools to arrive at good answers.