This deathless Mike Vanderboegh essay still pops back up now and again; I’ve linked to it three or four times since it first appeared myself, and almost certainly will again.
A friend of mine owns an instructive piece of history. It is a small, crude pistol [see the image at the top of this post], made out of sheet-metal stampings by the U.S. during World War II. While it fits in the palm of your hand and is a slowly-operated, single-shot arm, its powerful .45 caliber projectile will kill a man with brutal efficiency. With a short, smooth-bore barrel it can reliably kill only at point blank ranges, so its use requires the will (brave or foolhardy) to get in close before firing. It is less a soldier’s weapon than an assassin’s tool. The U.S. manufactured them by the millions during the war, not for our own forces but rather to be air-dropped behind German lines to resistance units in occupied Europe and Asia. They cost exactly two dollars and ten cents to make.
Crude and slow (the fired case had to be knocked out of the breech by means of a little wooden dowel, a fresh round procured from the storage area in the grip and then manually reloaded and cocked. It was so wildly inaccurate it couldn’t hit the broad side of a French barn at 50 meters, but to the Resistance man or woman who had no firearm it still looked pretty darn good.
The theory and practice of it was this: First, you approach a German sentry with your little pistol hidden in your coat pocket and, with Academy-award sincerity, ask him for a light for your cigarette (or the time the train leaves for Paris, or if he wants to buy some non-army-issue food or a half-hour with your “sister”). When he smiles and casts a nervous glance down the street to see where his Sergeant is, you blow his brains out with your first and only shot, then take his rifle and ammunition. Your next few minutes are occupied with “getting out of Dodge,” for such critters generally go around in packs. After that (assuming you evade your late benefactor’s friends) you keep the rifle and hand your little pistol to a fellow Resistance fighter so he can go get his own rifle.
Or, maybe, you then use your rifle to get a submachine gun from the Sergeant when he comes running. Perhaps you get very lucky and pick up a light machine gun, two boxes of ammunition and a haversack of hand grenades. With two of the grenades and the expenditure of a half-a-box of ammunition at a hasty roadblock the next night, you and your friends get a truck full of arms and ammunition. (Some of the cargo is sticky with “Boche” blood, but you don’t mind, not terribly.)
Pretty soon you’ve got the best armed little maquis unit in your part of France, all from that cheap little pistol and the guts to use it. (One wonders if the current political elite’s opposition to so-called “Saturday Night Specials” doesn’t come from some adopted racial memory of previous failed tyrants. For even cheap little pistols are a threat to oppressive regimes.)
They called the pistol the “Liberator.” Not a bad name, all in all.
It’s a perfect name, actually. If you haven’t yet read this important work, be sure you don’t fail to now. One of Mike’s most stirring, poignant passages:
The tyrant must be met at the door when he appears. At your door, or mine, wherever he shows his bloody appetite. He must be met by the pistol which can defeat an army. He must be met at every door, for in truth we outnumber him and his henchmen.
It matters not whether they call themselves Communists or Nazis or something else. It matters not what flag they fly, nor what uniform they wear. It matters not what excuses they give for stealing your liberty, your property or your life. “By their works ye shall know them.” The time is late. Those who once had trouble reading the hour on their watches have no trouble seeing by the glare of the fire at Waco. Few of us realized at the time that the Constitution was burning right along with the Davidians.
Now we know better.
We have had the advantage of that horrible illumination for more than fifteen years now — fifteen years in which the rule of law and the battered old parchment of our beloved Constitution have been smashed, shredded and besmirched by the Clintonistas. In this process they have been aided and abetted by the cowardly incompetence and venal avarice of the Republican party. They have forgotten Daniel Webster’s warning: “Miracles do not cluster. Hold on to the Constitution of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands — what has happened once in six thousand years may never happen again. Hold on to your Constitution, for if the American Constitution shall fail there will be anarchy throughout the world.”
Stirring, yes, although perhaps not in precisely the same way as when it was first published on Vanderboegh’s old site, Sipsey Street Irregulars, so many years ago; there’s a certain bitter flavor to it now as well, as we’ve been content to just sit idly back and watch so very much of what Mike warned us about come to pass, washing over us like the most dismal of tides. One final excerpt:
As a Christian, I cannot fear my own death, but rather I am commanded by my God to live in such a way as to make my death a homecoming. That this makes me incomprehensible and threatening to those who wish to be my masters is something I can do little about. I would suggest to them that they not poke their godless, tyrannical noses down my alley. As the coiled rattlesnake flag of the Revolution bluntly stated: “Don’t Tread on Me!” Or, as our state motto here in Alabama declares: “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”
But can a handgun defeat an army? Yes. It remains to be seen whether the struggle of our generation against the tyrants of our day in the first decade of the 21st Century will bring a restoration of liberty and the rule of law or a dark and bloody descent into chaos and slavery.
If it is to be the former, I will meet you at the new Yorktown.
If it is to be the latter, I will meet you at Masada.
But I will not be a slave.
Mike Vanderboegh died on his feet and not his knees—something that, as America That Was slips deeper into darkness and our time drip-drip-drips away, becomes more and more difficult to do. He was a skilled writer, and a passionate advocate for his nation, its proud history, and its Constitution. He was also a for-real, genuine Warrior, in all the best senses of the word. He left behind a mighty legacy for True Patriots and Freemen to profit from.
May you forever be at peace, my friend, bless your valiant soul.