“Tax Freedom Day” – the date upon which taxpayers theoretically have made enough money so far to pay all of their federal, state and local taxes – arrives Thursday in at least four states, coinciding with no small amount of irony, with the 243rd anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord which most historians say marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Those states in which taxpayers apparently have been adequately soaked by the government are Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin and Maryland. Maine and Hawaii celebrate on Friday, while taxpayers in other states have already passed the threshold.
Who among those colonial farmers, militia and Minutemen would have thought that more than two centuries later, their descendants might still be angry about taxes, government intrusion and other issues, including attempts to disarm the citizens? Times have changed, but core issues seem to be eerily the same.
That fact has kept organizations including the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms rather busy over the past several years.
What might happen today if troops were dispatched to seize the arms and ammunition of the citizens? There has been much shrill talk about gun bans lately, and one retired Supreme Court associate justice thinks the Second Amendment should be repealed.
There might be much discussion about that on Saturday in Olympia, Washington, where – according to the local newspaper – as many as 2,000 gun rights activists are expected to gather on and around the Capitol Steps in what is being billed as a “March for Your Rights” from noon to 3 p.m.
It’s the second such rally for Second Amendment rights in Olympia, the earlier one having drawn about 200 stalwarts last Saturday afternoon.
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Concord Hymn’
The truth about who fired the first shot at Lexington is lost to history. There have been several theories about what ignited that skirmish, which left eight colonists and one British regular dead. That opening salvo was a mismatch from the start, with 77 militia under the command of Capt. John Parker confronting 700 Redcoats.
But by the time the Regulars reached Concord, several miles to the west, the odds were changing dramatically. From every farm and village were coming angered men with rifles or muskets. Some estimates go as high as several hundred to nearly 1,000 colonists by late that afternoon.
One historical account observed, “The colonists did not show great marksmanship that day. As many as 3,500 militiamen firing constantly for 18 miles only killed or wounded roughly 250 Redcoats, compared to about 90 killed and wounded on their side.”
Let’s do some math: roughly 250 compared to about 90. It would appear the Regulars had the greater marksmanship problem.
It all happened on April 19, 1775, the day that the existing government at that time attempted to enforce gun control on American soil.
Quite possibly one of the more detailed accounts of the events leading up to, and following, the Lexington and Concord engagements can be found at Wikipedia. There are names of colonist casualties, explanations of the issues, the leaders on each side, and just how the course of world history was forever altered.
There is something else that puts one important contention by anti-gunners in perspective. Today’s gun prohibitionists frequently ridicule the notion that the Second Amendment protects the citizens’ ability to resist the government. They argue that a bunch of people armed with hunting rifles would be no match for the most powerful military force in the world.
That’s probably what the Redcoats thought, as well, since at the time, they were considered the most powerful army and navy around the globe. How did that work out for them?