"The only politicians we'll talk about at Appleseed have been dead for 200 years".
Thus spoke the shoot boss at the latest Appleseed clinic I attended. He went on to explain how it wasn't a political event, no one was going to talk about modern politicians, and history was the main topic. History, and the skills of a rifleman.
Talking with the volunteers at the weekend rifle clinic, they all had their stories regarding why they were there... and there was a common thread. A serious and dedicated desire to see people learn the history of their nation, and awaken in them a desire to seek liberty.
This, to my humble mind, is the lesson behind the history taught at Appleseed. The rifle clinic, with all the skills taught, is beyond valuable. That said... those skills are in fact more than just a fun challenge. They are the means that Americans used to reach their goals of freedom and liberty.
Scarcely hidden in the Appleseed teaching over the weekend is this notion; Americans, as a distinct breed, have been blessed with the knowledge and skills needed to shape their own fate. Centering their history lessons on the single date: April 19th, 1775, the decisions made by Americans to fight for their own freedom are laid bare, and examined. Deeply entwined with that choice of fighting for liberty and freedom was the ability of those men and women to enforce their choice over the objection of the finest fighting forces of the world at that time... The British Regulars.
A rifleman is a power unto himself, with all the responsibility that goes with it. Trained in basic marksmanship skills, and armed with only a serviceable rifle, a rifleman can have a clear and powerful effect on those who would do him harm. Not just across a room, or across a city street... but at distances measured in fractions of a mile.
One rifleman is a force to be reckoned with. Two rifleman are a force to be carefully respected. Five rifleman working as a team are a force not only worthy of respect, but of deep fear in the hearts of those who would subjugate them. A nation of riflemen.... can be nothing but a free people.
Unless they give that power away.
This is an unspoken lesson of Appleseed. Every man and woman has a choice to make: Freedom or slavery. It was a choice made over 200 years ago by entire families who wagered their very lives in a battle for their own freedom. They made their choice, and then took up arms to enforce their choice. Armed, they had the power to be a free people. Unarmed, they were mere peasants and rabble to be disregarded and abused at the whim of uncaring government.
I've never heard this articulated by an Appleseed volunteer... nor mentioned in their training material. Perhaps it's only the quiet musings of a fat old school teacher from Pennsylvania.
Take it for what you will.
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