Lessons from The Rifleman
July2, 2011 | Author Randall Mead
Well here it is July 2 and I’m in the office trying to catch up on a few things. As is my want, I have my office TV on in the background, on AMC. I like to have a little noise in the background and I’m sort of waiting for one of the best movies ever made, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In the meantime they are running episodes from the old 1960′s Western The Rifleman. This is a classic I remember watching as a kid. Chuck Conners plays Lucas McCain, an independent rancher, who with his Winchester 1892 rifle struggles to make a living, raise his son Mark without a mother, and be a responsible citizen in the old west.
The themes are classic: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong and a father teaching his son the difference by example, and enforcing good and right over evil and wrong with the responsible use of his Winchester, frequently in voluntary support of the community and its Sheriff.
I wasn’t paying close attention because I am trying to work. The episode is called “Seven” and roughly concerns seven escaped criminals who take and terrorize a small town while demanding vengence against Lucas McCain for some offense he paid their leader.
McCain does “the right thing” and all ends well, but there was a little soliloquy at the very end that suddenly grabbed my attention and prompted me to put aside my work for a bit, look up these details and write this little post. Read this:
. . . The next night I was working on the pump…again! Mark was restless. He was still up reading in his schoolbooks. I looked over at him. “It’s way past your bedtime, Mark,” I stated sternly.
“I know,” he said. “I just don’t seem to be tired.” He slowly walked over to me. “Alright if I stay in here and watch for awhile?”
Normally I would have sent him on to bed, but somehow I knew something was bothering that boy, so I simply answered, “Suit yourself,” and waited for him to open up to me.
It didn’t take him long. “Pa, is it possible to loose a town?” he suddenly blurted out.
“Loose a town?” I asked as I looked at him. Then I suddenly realized he was thinking about what happened to those prisoners last night. Mark figured they could’ve taken the town away from us. “They could’ve taken it physically, Mark, but they couldn’t have kept it. Takes more then just guns to hold a town. No son, the time a town or even a country is really lost is when the people who live in it get careless and stop paying attention to how it’s being run.”
Again, Mark surprised me by blurting out, “Oh, you mean like the Roman Empire!” I turned and looked at my child. He never ceased to amaze me!
“You’re up to that already?” I asked a bit shocked. He said Miss. Adams started them on it last week. “Well then you know the value of studying your history. Now, you were a hundred percent right when you said ‘like the Roman Empire.’ By knowing the mistakes people have made hundreds of years ago, we can learn a lesson and profit from not making the same mistakes ourselves.” I thought on that myself as I spoke these words to my son.
“I hope so,” Mark stated. I suddenly turned and stared at my young son. He hoped so? That was an odd response to one of my inspired lectures! I reckon I was putting him to sleep as usual because he suddenly yawned and stated he could go to sleep now. “Goodnight, Pa!”
As he disappeared into the bedroom, I said, “Goodnight, son.” Then I thought about his “I hope so” comment and shook my head.
That boy! Source –> The Rifleman, “Seven.”
It of course hit me that in 1960, writers in Hollywood (in this case, Arthur Browne, Jr.) were allowed to write like this, in marked contrast to the drivel that finds its way into most of what constitutes modern television. But it spoke to our situation today, where one American electorate has almost made it possible to “lose a nation.” The jury is still out on that and hopefully the loss can still be prevented.
But the cause of the loss is still the same as that forsaged by Lucas McCain: the “people who live in it get careless and stop paying attention to how it’s being run.” Yes, fat times breed laziness. We find it easy to pretend to educate our youth in schools that are little more than left-wing indoctrination centers, rather than to teach them ourselves by the example of our lives, like Lucas. We are then surprised that they and a majority of the electorate seem more intrigued by the current antics of Lady Gaga than the role of federalism in our supposedly representative government. We don’t understand when “the people’s” interest in Congress is limited to the vulgarity of one Anthony Weiner. Obama and his regime are not the cause of our dire position as a nation. We, the people, are the cause, because we, like the Roman Empire, have gotten careless, fat and lazy and have stopped paying attention to how its run.
There is still time to turn this around. But it requires direct action by we few who still care, who still pay attention, to educate the rest as to the brink upon which we teeter. The only questions left are will we act and will they listen? If not, it is possible to lose this town to the bad guys.
Randall Mead is a simple, country lawyer, scratching out a living in the belly of the beast, the capital of Madiganistan.
Original with permission from www.tyrannyslain.com www.libertydwells.com