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Come and take it. The phrase emanates power and instantly places images of courage, character, and a refusal to quit, regardless of circumstance. It is the warrior's rally cry. Thermopylae. The Battle of Fort Morris during the Revolutionary War in 1778. The Battle of Gonzalez which started the Texas Revolution for Independence from Mexico in 1835.
Each event had the same story. An overwhelming force stood in front of a small band of men - men who should have known only fear, men who had no chance of victory, men who common sense demanded should comply - and told them to lay down their arms and surrender. But these men understood that to lay down one's arms, to remove one's ability to defend himself, is an implicit dissolution of freedom.
The true currency of the world is violence. Civilization is an agreement we all make with each other to play by certain rules so that our lives may be better. If we don't follow the rules of the agreement, the police will come to arrest us. If we refuse to go, they will use violence to control us. If the government is good and the police force is just, then the system is benefits the people. If government or police fall off track, we are left with the choice of defense or subjugation. Americans know this history, as did our founding fathers, as did the Spartans long before them, and we fight to protect our right to bear arms - to maintain our freedom. "Firearms," George Washington reminds us, "are second only to the Constitution in importance. They are the people's liberty teeth."
Had the Spartans laid down their arms, Western Civilization would not exist. Had Colonel John Macintosh surrendered to the British, the Colonial Army would have been without a rallying cry for victory and an example of what was necessary to maintain freedom. Had the Texas colonists handed over their only cannon to Juan Gomez at the Battle of Gonzales, Texas may not be America's largest continental state and our country, or at least parts of it, may have been ultimately been conquered by the Mexican Army.
A man is not free unless he has the power he has in nature. The ability to defend himself is the only true power. Without arms, there is no way for a man to look his would-be subjugator in the eye and say, "You want my freedom? Come try to take it."