Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Appleseed Project

More days than not, when I come home from work, my lovely wife has some snippet of Internet news for me. A few weeks ago I came home, and she said, "I heard this on Genesis Communications Radio, you HAVE TO listen to it. You SHOULD get involved in this group". I sat down to listen more as a dutiful husband than with genuine Interest. The Radio host (Alex Jones) was obnoxious, but the guest was awesome. For two hours, I listened to Sam Damewood tell about the build up to Lexington and Concord, and how the men and women of Massachusetts finally took up arms against the British incursion. I knew the story. I have a shelf of books about the American Revolution. I have been to Lexington Green and Concord Bridge (It was very moving experience). However, when I heard Mr. Damewood tell that story, I realized I was listening to someone who believed in our founding values and really gets what America is about. I started to choke up out of gratitude for those who risked their lives to found our country.

Sam Damewood is a member of the American Revolutionary War Veterans Association, a non-profit group that has two functions.

1. Teach Americans the real story of how we became a country, starting on April 19 1775 when a bunch of every day New England farmers and businessmen took on a professional army,nearly destroyed that army, and sent it scurrying back to Boston.

2. Revive the tradition of rifle marksmanship that is an essential part of our American heritage as free citizens.

RWVA does this through Appleseed shoots, two day clinics around the nation. At each event, participants will learn basic gun safety, how to hit a target, and hear the story of what happened on April 19th 1775 at Lexington and Concord.

You can listen to the interview here.

I am not a big fan of the Alex Jones Show, but I am grateful for him having Appleseed on his show. However, one does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to see that something is drastically wrong with our nation. Appleseed is not another political group or party. Appleseed is about the fact that we as lazy 21st Century Americans have allowed ourselves to get in this mess. The solution is to stop,step back and see where we have been. By going back to April 19, 1775, we can take a hard look at how far we have degenerated from our collective ancestors. We can also learn one skill (Riflecraft) that they had, making us more self-reliant. If we can recover something of the spirit of those people, we might again become more like them (I am not a romantic, but they were objectively better people than we are in many ways).

I am at a stage in my life where I am not a great joiner. I vote, and participate in political activities as a citizen, but I don't usually do it in an organized effort. I am a confirmed communicant/voting member of my church. I am a dues paying member of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. I pay my dues to a couple of second amendment organization when I get around to it. That's about it. After I heard Sam Damewood, I joined the American Revolutionary War Veterans Association, and signed up for a shoot.

I am also a private person. My social life is pretty limited to church, family and neighbors. Because I work and farm, we don't travel much. We are of modest financial means. We are however, relatively land rich. My wife and I decided to make 50 isolated acres on our farm available to the Appleseed program, through its Designated Appleseed Range. This gives the instructors a home base for clinics as well as training instructors.

Neither of us relish the idea of strangers on our farm, but we really believe in the mission of RWVA. Here is the part of our farm that will become a Designated Appleseed Range.

The area has a natural backstop for safety.

I am also as busy as anyone I know. Many weeks I work 55 hours off farm and do any garden, livestock, and firewood cutting chores in my "spare" time. The last thing I need is another "project", but when I ponder our collective ancestors that got up to face royal tyranny, I remember they were busier than I. I don't believe for a minute that any of the men of Massachusetts wanted to go stand up to the Redcoats. They had families, businesses, and farms. They had firewood to cut, fences to mend gardens to tend, and obligations to their families, church, and neighbors. To be shot by a .75 caliber musket ball is a serious matter today, in the 18th Century it would mean, likely amputation or death. If unsuccessful, they would likely face treason charges. It would have been easier to "Go along to get along."

The Massachusetts training bands that faced the British were not like other revolutionary movements. They were not led to desperate acts by extreme poverty like the French and Russian Revolutions. They were not wild ideologues that believed that they could make utopia here on earth, like the Nazis or communists. They were middle class people with arguably the World's highest standard of living (Though the closing of Boston's Port by the Crown had badly harmed the local economy). These were men with something to lose. They owned homes, and farms. These men were also grounded in traditional pessimistic Christian anthropology, as taught in the Bible and Saint Augustine. They understood Man's capacity for radical evil, and that concentrations of power equal concentrated evil. They were standing out there staring down professional soldiers because they knew that the royal attempt to exercise power without constitutional restraints was something that had no end.

Here's the deal. Without self government, there is no liberty. Without liberty, nothing you cherish is safe. Your livelihood, your family, every possession, is up for grabs to any "official" strongman. This self government and the liberty that comes with it are intertwined. It cannot be sustained without an active, informed citizenry. Appleseed does not tell you what to do or involve any political platform. Its only agenda is to inspire you to become that active informed citizen, through having some fun, learning, and meeting other everyday Americans.

Read about men like this man, or this one. Then look in the mirror and make a comparison. If you don't like what you see
Get over to RWVA and get signed up.
Perhaps you will sign up and come shoot here. I have a very nice place for a range.