Gut Check

By Tim “xrugger” Stebbins for The Burning Platform

Gut check – Addiction & Recovery News

What does it mean to be a free man anymore? Am I truly free when the money I pay in taxes goes to support the excesses of a profligate, overreaching, and immoral government? Am I truly free when the scum that make the rules do not abide by them? Am I not free then to ignore the rules?  Am I truly free when some cowardly dimwit at the grocery store looks askance at me for not wearing a filthy rag over my face? I know he is having an internal debate about whether he should confront me.

My hope is always that he decides in the negative, as I have had just about enough of this crap. Now, the highest court in the land has turned a blind eye to the egregious theft of the Presidency itself. Marxists across the nation are celebrating the final nail in the coffin of the American Republic. Democrats held it. “Conservatives” have hammered it home. The outward forms of ordered liberty are dead and there is no recourse for the redress of grievances. It is time for every patriot to face the situation, without illusion or reservation.


If we would recover our liberty, then we must look inward and assess our own desires, motives, and abilities. A time of choosing is upon each and every one of us. What do we owe and to whom do we owe it. What follows is an attempt to answer those questions for myself and myself alone. Others of a similar spirit may take what they wish from it and leave the rest.

The Indefensible Nation

What do I owe to my country?  Its central government is thoroughly and irredeemably corrupt. It is bankrupt both fiscally and morally. As of this writing, its judiciary has shown itself incapable of defending the Republic against the depredations of leftist rabble. The tentacles of its bureaucracy reach into the lives and wallets of the productive class “eating out the substance of the people” exactly as Jefferson warned.  Yet still, with the stench of corruption and theft pervading the country, this government  assumes my loyalty.

What, pray tell, has it done to deserve it? Mobs of the indoctrinated expect that we should all just “get over it” and “come together to heal” as if the gangrenous clot of necrotic tissue that is the political culture of this nation will ever heal.  Our rulers, our media, and half our “countrymen” piss down our backs and still insist it’s raining. The fealty of helots is what the Lords of Washington expect. They will not get it from me.

The loyalty of free men is reserved for a government of equals, not an aristocracy of reptiles. The latter is what we suffer now. The former we once possessed, but it lies now in the dust of history. The outward form and function remain, but the spirit of liberty, which animated it, has gone. The ties by which free men bind themselves voluntarily to any form of government have long since been sundered by the actions of those who have chosen to rule rather than govern. I will not suffer those ties to become shackles.

Since my forbears bequeathed to me a form of government that no longer exists, I am released from further obligation to the abomination that has replaced it. My loyalty, like my liberty, belongs to me and me alone. It is mine to give or to withdraw as I see fit. I owe the rulers of this land nothing: not life, not liberty, not the pursuit of my own happiness. These things are mine from my first breath to my last gasp. They cannot be abrogated, regulated, or terminated by the denizens of a distant city who presume to know what is best for me. These…people (I do not have the words for the contempt I feel for them) have polluted our forms of government, destroying what they can, dismantling what they cannot.

Everywhere is grift and graft. They have taken nearly everything, yet they still want more. They want my body shackled, my spirit humbled, and my mind enslaved. They try to steal the very breath from my body with their filthy rags. They have trampled upon my God-given rights, indoctrinated my children, accused me, threatened me, and silenced me. Now they have stolen even my choice from me. This government and its leftist appendages have betrayed my trust and half my fellow citizens treat me and mine with undisguised contempt. My loyalty to them and to their government is at an end.

The Shenandoah Syndrome

What then, am I to do personally in the face of this betrayal?  My mind often comes back to the old Jimmy Stewart movie “Shenandoah.” In it, Stewart plays the patriarch of a family trying to stay out of Lincoln’s War. He hopes to keep his family intact and neutral in the conflict. He wants no part of it and sees no reason why he, or his sons, should choose sides in a war that is, in his view, peripheral to the concerns of his family and the life they have built. It is only when rape, murder, plunder and the other accouterments of war destroy the precarious balance he has maintained, that Stewart realizes that the choice has been made for him.

I know that, in the end, what is happening in this nation will come to blood. I know too, that I and mine cannot hope to be left untouched while the nation tears itself apart. My one hope is that, by virtue of where we call home, we will see the tenor and scope of the destruction before it touches our lives directly. Perhaps that small grace will allow us additional time to prepare, though I believe I have done all that common sense demands and limited resources allow in that regard.

What remains to be done is the taking an intensely personal inventory.  Will I fight, run, or hide? Will I be able to lead and defend my family when the crunch comes? Would I be willing to leave them behind to engage in some broader defense of my own and other’s liberty? Do I wait for the storm or go to meet it? At 60 years of age, am I even mentally or physically capable of such an effort? My fervent wish is to be left alone to live a peaceful life. I know many like me wish the same, but Jimmy Stewart was just an actor, and my “Shenandoah” a bucolic dream. The fight will be forced upon us all. The choices we make will define us. In Lincoln’s words, “No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us downin honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

The Refining Fire

I am a peacetime veteran. I served a three-year hitch in the eighties, half that time with the 2nd Ranger Bn. in Ft. Lewis, Washington and half with a line infantry company. I do not count myself among the many chest-thumpers who are overly certain of their own intestinal fortitude and are not afraid to expound upon their warrior attributes in any number of internet outlets. In my limited experience, those who talk the most usually run the fastest. I do not include in that company those who have seen war and its desolation first hand and who now seek to educate and guide those of us who have not. I’m talking about the posers who crow about “taking back the country,” and explain in detail their future exploits in the battle for freedom.

Personally, I am certain of only a few things:  I know what it is like to exit an aircraft more door bundle than man and land in a heap in the Alaskan snow. I know how dark it gets in an equatorial jungle and what it’s like to sit in the rain for days on end. I know what trench foot looks and feels like. To my everlasting embarrassment, I know the feeling of waking up with my own .45 (in the hands of a very angry platoon sergeant) staring me in the face because I fell asleep guarding a pallet of live ammo.

I know what it is like to catch multiple fragments of a 7.62 mm ricochet in the face due to the negligence of a range safety officer and the stupidity of a member of my M60 crew. I know that face and scalp wounds bleed a lot. These are some of the things I know, but they are the experiences of long ago and comparing them to the trials of actual combat would be like comparing regular roulette to the Russian variety.

I do not think I lack personal courage, but the simple fact is that I know what I do not know, and anyone who has not been in a fight like the one coming can say no different. Any man who claims a virtue not yet tested by the fight we face is a liar and a fool.  As a young man, I would have welcomed the test. Now, decades on, I ponder the depth of my commitment, the strength of my arm, and the clearness of my mind. Is the man I am now fit for the fight? Only the fight itself will reveal the truth of it. I simply do not know how I will behave when the shooting starts and to claim otherwise is the height of hubris. At the least, I hope that this old man will give good account for blessings received while on this good earth.


No good thing ever achieved by man remains unsullied by the grasping hands of those who seek to exploit it. So it is with these United States. Time, trials, the certainties of fallen human nature, and the machinations of the unprincipled have accomplished what they always accomplish. This nation will crumble and the ensuing chaos will engulf us all to one degree or another. Something good, either a restoration of the old or the institution of the new, will rise from the blood and ashes. I pray that I do not love this life so much that I would live it as a slave or be unwilling to expend it for the sake of those to come. That, at least, is my hope.

The Burning Platform


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