I’ve already told you how my father used to wake-up in the middle of the night, screaming, powerless, reliving the beatings that almost took his life. Perhaps it’s genetic. I’ve been having nightmares over the last couple of weeks, since Newtown . . .
In one dream, my daughter is in school, somewhere. Shooting begins. I have a gun, my Glock 30SF. But I can’t get to her. I can’t find her. I can’t save her.
In another dream, I’ve got my SCAR-16 in my hands. I’m confident I can save my child from the madman. I’m determined. Ready to go. The police arrest me. I’m screaming. I HAVE TO GET MY DAUGHTER. They laugh.
When I wake up, I’m cold. After the war, my father hated the cold more than anything in the world. He’d spent four winters in the Carpathian mountains, barely avoiding freezing to death. He moved to Florida as soon as he could.
He left his shotgun behind.
I guess my father got to the point where he felt secure. Where he no longer feared the knock on the door in the middle of the night spelling the end of everything; the beginning of hell. Where his nightmares became less frequent. Where he could rest.
Don’t get me wrong: my father never let his guard down. He was under no illusions about the means and motives of the government which had given him shelter, in the country he valued above all others. He knew politicians and bureaucrats would destroy the American dream in the name of protecting it. Gladly.
Yes, the “f” word. What else are we to make of laws that require Americans to register their means of defense against government tyranny or face armed confiscation? A registration system that presages confiscation as sure as hatred precedes violence?
My father came to school one day to tell my seventh grade class about the Holocaust. When he was finished with his story, there was a long, uncomfortable silence. A classmate raised his hand. My father nodded at him.
“Why?” he asked.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” my father replied.
Our forefathers understood this. They knew that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s why they added the Bill of Rights: to protect citizens against the nature of government in general and ours in particular. They foresaw this day.
It’s a cold day in Chicago. I’m exhausted. My daughter’s asleep. I miss my father. But I will NOT abandon his dream. I will sit here at this keyboard and continue the fight against those who would steal our liberty until I can type no more. If I need to do more, I will do that, too.
And should that knock on the door ever arrive, I will be ready. As ready as I can be. No doubt the same applies to millions of gun-owing Americans. We, as a group, are a peaceable people. But we are not prepared to surrender the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, secured through our collective sacrifice and suffering.
This is the dream from my father. This is also his nightmare.