Well, today should have been a fairly normal Saturday morning, the last Saturday of the summer. The kids start school on Monday, and while their energy has been understandably a little higher than normal, a little more anxious, all should have been relatively normal today. It’s been a good week, frankly–time writing, time with kids, time defending my friend Mike Church, time thinking about how much I appreciate Steve Jobs, time thinking about the milk jug that received the wrath of my new bb gun yesterday. . . .
I awoke, as I usually do, around 5, and I started reading. A creature of habit (shocking to my friends, I’m sure), I always check news, emails that arrived during the night, and the various social networking sites to which I belong. The kids are still asleep (even as I type this now), and I like to do all of this before they arise anyway.
As I’m reading and laughing about something on Facebook this morning, I saw something that startled and shook me. A person I know, but not well, Brian Aitken, posted the following:
A year ago today I was put in a prison cell for obeying state and federal laws as they apply to the 2nd amendment. Compromising my integrity would have cost me my soul and how my son would look at me for the rest of his life. As difficult as it is now, and as difficult as this road may appear, I wouldn’t change a thing.
As I just mentioned, I know Brian, but not well. I had the great privilege of meeting him briefly this summer at a Foundation for Economic Education event in Atlanta. Coming in late to the auditorium (the very, very good economist, Ed Lopez, was speaking at the time), and to get to the seat I wanted, I had to cross in front of the cameras filming the speaker. In what I’m sure what was a ratby Bher awkward, gangly movement, I ducked down as I passed in front of the camera and smiled rather sheepishly at the guy behind the many bright buttons controlling all things media. He just smiled back in acknowledgment, letting me know I didn’t just gum up the whole thing. I had just driven 12 hours to get to Atlanta, I had left my car in a really seedy parking garage, and I had arrived at the Georgia-Pacific building only minutes before my talk–but this guy seemed great with everything. I liked him immediately–his attitude, his look, and his professionalism. Of course, I can’t really remember not liking someone Larry Reed has hired or has working with him. There’s always a “Larry quality” in all of his people: integrity, intensity, humor, professionalism, and dedication.In fact, if you want to see the integrity of Brian Aitken–that guy I liked at that moment and the guy who posted that stunning revelation this morning on FB, just look at any of the new FEE.TV videos. Brian has created all of these. They’re masterful–full of professional pride and dedication. From what I know, they reflect Brian’s very soul. So, rather taken aback by Brian’s post this morning, I started reading any thing and everything on the case. I can’t tell the story better than Brian and the various news agencies (especially talk show hosts) did, so I will merely link to them.
But, I do have to say this. What Brian experienced a year ago today in New Jersey was nothing short of a horrific violation of his natural rights as a person and his constitutional rights as a U.S. Citizen. I can just imagine what these same men who unjustly arrested and attacked Brian would’ve done to the armed citizens standing at a little green in Lexington, Massachusetts, April 19, 1775. Better yet, I can imagine what those Minute Men would’ve have done to Brian’s violators. Before five o’clock this morning, I respected Brian as a very professional person and Facebook friend. At 7:30 this morning, I respect Brian as a defender of all that is good, a man of integrity and fortitude–no matter the cost. Brian, you are a true patriot and man. And, frankly, I can give no higher compliment.
May God bless you, and may those around you awake from their slumbers to see the sacrifices necessary to live a free and virtuous life.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.