Crossing the Rubicon

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Welcome to the Alamo. No one gets out alive. You are here to die. But we’re so tickled to see you. It means you got here quick as you could.

It means you’re at home, now, that the national brush fire war of liberation is here – now. Welcome home.

Somewhere on the road – Forget the room of the wolf mother wallpaper, skinny legs and all. This is the hour of the reckoning, the day when the sands ran out, where tight-lipped, cold-eyed men make their last calculations, make the declarations they know they must stick with – forever.

A flinty soul with side whiskers, seated at the round table of the coffee fumes and the cigarette smoke, a face from the ancient gallery, looks up from under the brim of his hat and declares himself “DIP,” which, he explains in the soldierly bureaucratese of vital statistical reality – the blood and thunder of the profession of arms – means “die in place.”

He confronts a brother from the gutter at his end of the road, someone just as unable to catch his breath, just as unlikely to survive the tortures of flight, the likelihood of detection in any conceivable bolt hole.

He explains: “I’m too old to run through the jungle with a 60-pound pack and a rifle. Can’t do it any more. You leave me with a few rounds and a weapon – and it’s understood, I’m there to die in place.”

If it slows the enemy down by so much as a half-hour, this business of robbing him of his last breath, stealing his shadow, forcing a final few heartbeats, that’s a half-hour his comrades have to get their legs under them and head out for parts unknown. It’s an exit strategy.

The discussion goes round and round, and returns to the central talking point – repeatedly. What will they do if they come to the door, a dozen ninja-suited warriors from the other side, come for you. What will you do? Do you have a plan?

Thus confronted, the conversation goes round and round, to lofty spires and glorious pinnacles, hard points memorializing the constitutional principles of a nation in despair, a graveyard of dreams, a resting place for the remains of the day, the screams in the night, the rap on the door. There is talk of water, medical supplies, purification, radio communications, caches of ammo, ways to freeze dry, can, preserve, and store food – and then the question returns, like a recurring nightmare, a repeat notice for an unpaid bill.

The chairman of the impromptu little circle of men and women bent on survival calls the question, like a call to prayer – once again…

What will you do if they come to your door? Can you defend yourself? Can you? Your response comes in the rush of realization. If it’s come to this, if you spend time pondering a question like that, you’re already there. The moment has arrived. It’s no longer a speculation of a grim possibility for the future. The time is now.

You have crossed the Rubicon.

The face of the side whiskers reconsiders, says, “You know, the Viet Cong had the right idea. Forget about wearing camis and running around in armor with a heavy pack. Wear what the people are wearing, live among them, just be yourself. It works.”

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The Constitution Free Zone of the United States

Nearly two-thirds – 197.4 million – of the population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. land and coastal borders, according to the 2007 figures of the Census Bureau. This is the constitution free zone of the U.S., according to executive fiat.

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