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 over various historical “milestones” revolving around identity politics (race, gender, social justice, etc.). But I guess this doesn’t really fit the narrative, as it revolves around the South, and regular folks resisting their local government – and perhaps even a form of the Police State – through exercising their right to keep and bear arms.
The Battle of Athens, which happened August 1-2, 1946 in McMinn County, Tennessee, was the result of some 3000 veterans returning home at the end of World War II. Unhappy with the roughshod political corruption, fraud, control over newspapers, schools and police “fee gathering” that had been going on in McMinn County while they were away from home – with even a couple of servicemen shot and killed by the police while home on leave – 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 local 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), and the former vets surrounded and laid siege to the jail after gathering up firearms and ammo. 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 as to why guys like Thomas Jefferson believed that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and that it shouldn’t be infringed upon by the government was and is considered such an important thing?