We armed ourselves with pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles.
We knew that the government had us impossibly outgunned but nevertheless felt obliged to not only prepare ourselves for the upcoming collapse of society as we had known it, but also to do whatever it took to speed the day when that collapse occurred.
The government was illegitimate; a puppet regime manipulated by a shadowy and sinister force that was hellbent on our destruction. The supposed democracy that seated traitorous politicians had been tainted by mass media that poisoned the minds and souls of our people to not only blind them against what was happening, but also to con them into complicity in their own downfall.
Our guns served many purposes. In addition to the simple purpose they were designed for-to kill people-our firearms endowed with us a sense of destiny befitting an epic struggle against fearsome odds.
The deadly seriousness of the situation was underlined, italicized, and emboldened by the smell of gun oil and the clack of magazines sliding into position as we recruited new soldiers into our movement. According to the founding Fathers, it was not only our right, but our duty to bear arms against the tyrants who had usurped our beloved nation.
I spent 7 years immersed in that world. A reality where I was constantly looking over my shoulder to reveal the handiwork of the enemy. Every aspect of our culture faced a relentless assault. Everything that was good about America-Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit of Happiness-had been denigrated and disparaged by those that sought to impose Marxist equality. I hated them for that. I hated them with the passion of a patriot. That hate was fueled by what I truly believed was a love for my race.
Oops! Did I say "race?" I meant a love for my country, Or was it a love of Christ? Or Allah? It could have been any of a number of allegiances-any number of ways to identify myself-that I built walls around and bristled at those outside, and it was all in the name of love.
Roads to a lot of really bad places are paved with that kind of bizarro love. A vampiric, soul-depleting love-substitute that beckons to those who never know the real thing.
I was very lucky to realize the true love of a little girl-my daughter-otherwise I'd likely be dead or in prison like so many of my former comrades. Simply by playing with other children, she taught me that the walls and guns and hate that had seemed to give me purpose were in fact unnecessary constructs that threatened to separate us. The children she shared toys, laughs, and smiles with also shared the same need for love and compassion that we all do-regardless of the color of our skin, our family's choice of spirituality, or the part of the world we come from.
I made a decision to cast aside the fear that masqueraded as love, and to live my life in wonderful affection for diversity instead of scorn for it.