He hesitated, in his many thoughts. Can I go there? – he thought to himself.
John was agonizing over matters. The Church clearly taught obeisance to the government in almost every circumstance, which he knew was Scriptural. “But our government, as a Constitutional Republic, is ours to rule over!” He knew that was true, too. Of course, for the safety and well-being of his loved ones, he was armed, but if what was happening was the “rule of the day” – matters would quickly escalate beyond simple defense.
Although the media made it seems like it had all come about by the election of the new President, he knew far better than that. It had been “coming about” his entire 60 plus years. It was not new, but now, lines were drawn in the sand. There were few, if any, options. BLM and the Antifa had morphed almost overnight into descendants of the Bolsheviks in Russia. They were now openly attacking people for any perceived threat to their agenda, and even worse, they were inventing reasons to attack innocents. The politicians, who long ago abdicated any Constitutional responsibilities, only wanted to protect what one wit called their “iron gravy bowls.” Beholden to whomever paid the big dollars that could somehow be funneled into their personal fortunes, politicians were useless. They had but one bit of power, which they used to its fullest extent – legislatively ham-stringing the new President in his every attempt to roll back the corruption and abuse of the American Experiment.
John admitted to himself that his new President was a brave man. He had voted for him hesitatingly – hoping that just maybe he could begin to turn things around. And the man made all the right moves! But he was hit from every direction, and John realized it wasn’t impeachment that was the biggest worry – the media itself openly talked of assassination. It was no mere idle threat. Antifa had made that clear. The Muslims might be worse, but Antifa was far more dedicated to the communistic ideals.
The contact had come from a friend who had a friend who had asked if he knew anyone willing to join up with the New Patriots as they called themselves. At first, he dismissed it outright. “This is America!” he reasoned. But then he considered his own thoughts, and the actual events on the streets. Antifa was no longer just beating up people – they were killing them, and the police were standing down, mayors and city officials acted like they themselves were targets which, John reasoned to himself, they most likely were. The thought struck yet again – “This is America!” – and he realized he had been thinking in the past, when normal values and expectations of life held sway over all. But that was a dream of long ago – the new radicals, which were really the old radicals – had pushed the entire country up to their radical line in the sand. It was no longer an option to opt out.
A decision had to be made.
Pastor counseled him to seriously consider every option – reminding him that to take up arms in such a civil war was perhaps the most dangerous consideration of all, and to look for yet more options before he made any final decision. He couldn’t fault Pastor for his suggestions. But John had noticed Pastor was a member of the same shooting range, and had come in third place in the handgun division of the range’s last contest. That had both surprised him and impressed him. What was he saying to me, really?
He agonized further. He didn’t mind dying for his country, although he would do so being a part of what the Constitution called “militia” – and not part of the traditional armed forces. The military proper had split already – the officer corps continued to support the status quo, but now without many thousands of enlisted men and those officers who had renounced any allegiance to the powers that be within the Pentagon. Were those guys loose cannons, or genuine patriots? He couldn’t know, or decide. His several years of serious theological training did not seem to help – even among the long history of the faithful, there were those times when they had to stand and oppose open threats to Church, family and faith. The Muslims presented the first challenge, and now that the politicians of his own day and age had punted, and rejected any responsibility, the new Bolsheviks of Antifa had taken note, and made demands that they knew the politicians were afraid to deny. How many cities had they cowered into silence? He had lost count. “This is America!” he kept saying to himself . . . The small voice of his conscience had quietly responded –
“And . . . ?”
He was genuinely at a loss for what to do. His bride, once the epitome of good health, lay close to death way too soon for her years. It had been going on so long, the cancer, that they had come to accept it in an odd sort of way. But it was yet another invader, one that in the end, he knew, was not to be denied. When his beloved died, he knew he would enter that “zone” where it seemed nothing mattered. No – he had to make up his mind soon.
At that very thought, as if a revelation directly from Heaven had rung in his ears, he knew what he must do, and when. Yes. It was the only way. It fit none of the pattern he thought it might or should, but it was the only way. Suddenly, it was clear. He sighed as he felt true peace settle about his shoulders.
It was the very same moment the staccato of machine gun fire began out front.