Ten Miles South of Big Springs, Texas
Parker Robertson took a deep breath of the West Texas morning knowing this could be his last. Sitting on a wooden bench beneath the shade of a wrap-around porch, this fifth-generation Texan squinted into the brilliant sunrise breaking over the horizon. It bathed the sky with a golden glow above what had once been his thriving south plains ranch.
As he sipped his black coffee, Robertson thought of his ancestors who had fought and died for this land, securing it for future generations. That could all end today. He was prepared to defend his home, just like the men in his family had done for generations, with his bare hands if necessary.
It would be hot today, soon reaching over ninety, but the wind was dry, etching more lines into this hard-working man’s face. Robertson’s wife Linda watched from the window wringing her hands, worried for her husband. Without a spoken word, they exchanged an understanding gaze. She knew her husband was not the kind of man to back down or run from a fight. That was what scared her.
Forced into bankruptcy because of overburdening regulations and a dismal economy that had persisted in a death spiral for years, Robertson was afraid he couldn’t hold on much longer. Everything had been taken from him; his dignity, his pride, his self-worth as a man. Now, armed federal agents and the local sheriff were coming with a court order to seize his property, ending his ability to support his family. After much self-reflection, Robertson made a vow. No bank was going to rob him of his birthright. No bureaucrat in some federal agency would tell him what to do anymore. As his Papa had always told him, ‘a man who stands for nothing, falls for anything’. It was time to take that stand.
Robertson glanced down at the local newspaper laying on the table beside him. He scowled at a photo of the President who had imposed the harsh regulations and taxes that had brought many like Robertson to defeat. The anger and hate engulfed him as he stabbed the photo with his knife. Curses flowed from Robertson’s lips for a government that no longer listened to him; for leaders who had put themselves above the masses. The America he believed in was a sham of hypocritical lies perpetrated by a corrupt administration.
All that people like Robertson wanted was what had been promised by their elected representatives, but instead they felt cheated, coerced and betrayed. Washington had ripped up its contract with the people and thrown it in their faces. There was no rational reason why so many people were suffering in this land of plenty. Robertson would make it right again even if blood must be spilled.
A faithful and honest man, Robertson had lived his life trying to do the right thing. He was a good husband, father and friend. As a Marine, Robertson had fought for his country with pride. Now that same country had abandoned him. His rights had been taken away as the federal government became dangerously powerful in the hands of the fascist factions. His rage boiled over for a government granting itself more power than the authors of the Constitution had ever intended. People had foolishly given away their freedom for a false sense of security promised by a government who so eagerly deceived its own people. It was no longer about which political party a person belonged to but about common decency, honor and truth. Values that had been forgotten. The question burned in Robertson’s brain. What went wrong?
Next to the newspaper was a pamphlet a neighbor had given him. It spoke of a new ideology that was spreading like wildfire, not only in Texas. but throughout America in what uncaring and indifferent politicians called the ‘fly-over’ states.
Born out of resentment, injustice, oppression and desperation, this advancing movement had taken on a life of its own. Its loudest advocates preferred the laws of the land dictated by the Constitution as it was created, not as it had evolved. Their words fell on deaf ears in Congress. Tired of the privileged and wealthy telling them how to live their lives, this opposition’s message of revolution was getting stronger each day. Robertson believed that by joining the growing movement his friends and neighbors could save their land from the imperialism saturating the country. Its doctrine of resistance, revolt and justified force was all people like Robertson had left. He accepted that every revolution began with an act of rebellion, with men willing to give that last full measure.
Methodically, Robertson finished cleaning his shotgun, wiping away the dust and oiling the barrel. He loaded it with a double shot. He checked his two revolvers and long-barrel rifle. They were loaded and ready. Like those Americans who had gone before him, Robertson knew he must bring back the glory of a free and independent republic where the people ruled, not government bureaucrats. It was time to take it back, and if it took force to do that, then so be it. He would die, or they would.
Robertson instructed his wife to take their two young children into the bedroom, lock the door and pray for a miracle. Just in case, he put a loaded revolver in her shaking hands, so she could protect herself and her babies. Then, his eyes caught sight of them coming up the road. Robertson’s friends and neighbors were rallying to join the fight. He smiled. I’m not alone.
Dust kicked up as twenty vehicles advanced toward Robertson’s house. They would make their last stand here, just like their predecessors had at the Alamo. Just like then, a line was being drawn in the sand and those brave enough would cross it. It didn’t matter if they were outnumbered or outgunned. If the Feds were comfortable going to war with people who had nothing to lose, then so be it. Let it begin here.
Unknowingly, this one man’s decisive action not to give in would change the course of history in America. His last stand for freedom would ripple through the country like a mighty wave, engulfing and drowning those who had chosen to turn their backs on him and those like him. A sleeping giant was awakening and great would be its rage.
With his hand over his heart, Robertson vowed to God that this fight would not be in vain. He would not give up until things were set right again. The tall man rose to meet those who had come to join him. He clenched his jaw firmly as the sound of a shotgun chamber being cocked and loaded rang out.
Raising his gun over his head, Robertson defiantly shouted, “Live free or die!”
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