Libs Gonna Tard… With Special NPR Sauce.

NPR Reporter Has No Idea What ‘Come And Take It’ Means

Some anti-gun folks in the Texas town that coined the phrase ‘Come and take it’ don’t know where the phrase came from or what it means.

From the for­mi­da­ble Fed­er­al­ist — Sun­day marked the 181st anniver­sary of the Bat­tle of Gon­za­les, the first mil­i­tary engage­ment of the Texas Rev­o­lu­tion, when Tex­i­an mili­ti­a­men, respond­ing to Mex­i­can sol­diers demand­ing the sur­ren­der of a small brass can­non, coined the now-famous bat­tle cry, “Come and Take It!”

An NPR reporter decid­ed to mark this anniver­sary with a sto­ry about how the phrase has been stolen by Sec­ond Amend­ment activists, “with no appre­ci­a­tion of its ori­gins.” Some local res­i­dents of mod­ern-day Gon­za­les, we’re told, “think it’s been cheapened—and they want it back.”

But nei­ther the hap­less NPR reporter nor the sev­er­al anti-gun res­i­dents of Gon­za­les inter­viewed for the sto­ry know the actu­al ori­gin of the phrase, or why its appli­ca­tion to the ongo­ing nation­al debate about gun con­trol and the Sec­ond Amend­ment is entire­ly appropriate—and his­tor­i­cal­ly accu­rate.

They are bliss­ful­ly unaware that “Come and take it” is a quote from King Leonidas I of Spar­ta. At the Bat­tle of Ther­mopy­lae in 480 BC, dur­ing the sec­ond Per­sian inva­sion of Greece, Leonidas replied to Xerxes’s demand that the Greeks sur­ren­der their arms, “molon labe”—come and take them.

Please Learn Some History

But first, a bit of more recent his­to­ry. As NPR tells it, the Amer­i­can set­tlers in Texas (then called Tex­i­ans) had, in 1835, sim­ply “grown restive,” prompt­ing the Mex­i­can army to dis­patch troops to take back the can­non at Gon­za­les. Mex­i­co had lent the can­non to the town four years ear­li­er to defend itself against hos­tile Apache.

The truth is more com­pli­cat­ed. The Tex­i­an set­tlers had “grown restive” because Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Anto­nio López de San­ta Anna had over­turned the 1824 con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Mex­i­co, dis­missed state leg­is­la­tures, and dis­band­ed mili­tias. The Tex­i­ans were restive because the terms under which they had come to Texas—at Mexico’s invitation—had been revoked. A tyrant had seized pow­er, usurped their rights, and they were pre­pared to defend their lives and prop­er­ty as their fore­fa­thers had dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion.

All this goes unmen­tioned in NPR’s telling. Instead, the arti­cle says “Come and Take It” is a phrase with a nar­row his­tor­i­cal con­text, and it’s been co-opt­ed by gun rights activists who are too dumb to under­stand its nuanced mean­ing. We hear from Allen Barnes, the Gon­za­les city man­ag­er, who is “par­tic­u­lar­ly exas­per­at­ed with Sec­ond Amend­ment activists who have adopt­ed the his­toric slo­gan and sub­sti­tut­ed an AR-15 semi­au­to­mat­ic rifle for the can­non.”

To me that com­plete­ly changes the tone and the mes­sage of the flag,” Barnes tells NPR. “That’s no longer our flag. That is a flag cre­at­ed by oth­er folks.”

Then we hear from one of those gun rights peo­ple, a stand-in for all the igno­rant Sec­ond Amend­ment folks who don’t under­stand the true mean­ing of phrase:

We fly a ‘Come and Take It’ flag in front of our estab­lish­ment because we believe the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has got­ten too big and that it’s reach­ing out too far,” says Max Bor­de­lon, the pro­pri­etor of Max’s Road­house, north of San Anto­nio. Asked who, exact­ly, is com­ing to take what, he blurts: ‘Our rights! Our free­doms!’

A History Of Defiance

Unbe­knownst to NPR and the Gon­za­les city man­ag­er, Bor­de­lon is exact­ly right. The Tex­i­an mili­ti­a­men who ran up their makeshift “Come and Take It” flag—a white flag made from a woman’s wed­ding dress, fea­tur­ing a lone star, a can­non, and the famous phrase—were edu­cat­ed men who knew very well the long tra­di­tion of which they were a part. Their cry of “Come and Take It,” was not a cir­cum­stan­tial case, lim­it­ed to the par­tic­u­lars of their moment in time. It was an appeal to a time­less truth about the rights and lib­er­ties of all mankind.

The phrase itself is also part of a long tra­di­tion quite apart from the Texas Rev­o­lu­tion. Dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, Colonel John McIn­tosh was com­man­der of Fort Mor­ris on the coast of Geor­gia. When a vast­ly supe­ri­or con­tin­gent of British sol­diers attempt­ed to take the fort in Novem­ber 1778, and demand­ed the fort’s sur­ren­der through a writ­ten note, McIn­tosh replied, “As to sur­ren­der­ing the fort, receive this lacon­ic reply: COME AND TAKE IT!”

Mod­ern Greece adopt­ed the phrase while fight­ing for inde­pen­dence against the Ottoman Empire. In 1913, Greece’s I Army Corps was formed. Its mot­to, up until 2013, when the corps was dis­band­ed a cen­tu­ry after its found­ing, was “molon labe.”

The True Meaning of ‘Come And Take It’

It’s bad enough that NPR and the few anti-gun folks their reporter found in Gon­za­les are whol­ly igno­rant of this his­to­ry. That alone is a sad com­men­tary on the state of gen­er­al edu­ca­tion in Amer­i­ca today. But those Tex­i­an pio­neers knew some­thing more than his­to­ry; they knew a tyrant when they saw one, and they knew that unalien­able rights are some­times only secured at the busi­ness end of a cannon—or a spear, or rifle.

By con­trast, main­stream media elites and right-think­ing lib­er­al Amer­i­cans of today know much that isn’t so. So much, in fact, that a reporter and all his sub­jects for a sto­ry about the “Come and Take It” flag can assert with con­fi­dence that they under­stand the true mean­ing of that great bat­tle cry, with­out an inkling that it reach­es back into the mists of history—and that it speaks as loud­ly today as it did when Leonidas defied the invad­ing hordes of Per­sia.

John is a senior cor­re­spon­dent for The Fed­er­al­ist. Fol­low him on Twit­ter.

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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