With the current heated debate over gun rights and the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution (which serves to affirm our natural rights…rights we have whether the State recognizes them or not), I thought it might be interesting to talk briefly about the Battle of Athens. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably haven’t heard about this event. I know I hadn’t until a few years ago, which is kind of surprising considering how much the media and the left constantly drone on about historical “milestones” revolving around identity politics. But I guess this doesn’t really fit the narrative, since it’s about the South, and regular folks resisting their local government (and perhaps even a form of the Police State) by exercising their right to keep and bear arms.
The Battle of Athens, which happened in the early hours of August 1, 1946 in McMinn County, Tennessee, was the result of some 3,000 veterans returning home at the end of World War II. They were unhappy to discover the roughshod political corruption, fraud, control over newspapers and schools, and police “fee gathering” that had been going on in McMinn County while they were away from home. A couple of servicemen had even been shot and killed by the police while home on leave. Like an self-respecting southerner, these guys decided to do something about it. So like any sensible group of people would do, they organized and decided to run a number of nonpartisan candidates for positions in the local government.
However, the county sheriff and the political machine evidently felt threatened by such activity, and brought in 200 armed deputies to intimidate people at the polls. Former veterans were beaten, and one poll watcher was reportedly shot. After multiple other incidents, the sheriff opted to take the ballot boxes to the jail for counting.
Much of the McMinn County citizenry smelled a rat (so to speak), so the former vets gathered up their firearms and ammo and laid siege to the jail. After gunfire was exchanged, the GIs dynamited the jail during the early hours of August 2 and forced the occupants inside to surrender. After posting guards to secure the ballots, the votes were counted and the corrupt government leaders were voted out.
Miraculously no one was killed, although there were quite a number who were seriously injured and required hospitalization. However, the people of McMinn County, Tennessee were once again free to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Something they might not have been able to do if the citizens were only armed with sling shots and squirt guns. So…still confused about why guys like Thomas Jefferson believed the right of the people to keep and bear arms was, and is, such an important issue?
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