Battle of Athens

Some European or Leftist readers from overseas are puzzled about American love of liberty, and the role of firearms in preserving those liberties from Europeans and Leftists.

I here reprint an excerpt (edited for wording) from the following article.

This is from the pen of columnist Susan Smith of the Daily Caller. The full column can be found here: 

The time was 1946, and the place was Athens, Tennessee.  The American GI’s, who had spent years fighting against Hitler’s Germany and the Japanese Empire, and survived, started coming home to the sleepy little Southern town, population 7,600 people,  they knew and loved.

They knew from letters that with all the brave young men missing from the town, that something insidious had happened in their absence.

They had one more battle to fight, this time on the home soil.

Those who stayed behind while brave men fought perpetrated what we know now as a classic Democrat party “Machine Politics” operation, and in the most corrupt and underhanded of ways, took over Athens.

A wealthy local Democrat named Paul Cantrell decided to use his family power and political connections to run for and win the position of sheriff of the town.  Though it was obvious to the citizenry of Athens this victory had not been achieved by legal means, they thought they had no way of negating the outcome and so did nothing.

The newly-anointed Sheriff Cantrell moved forward to solidify his power by (among other ways): engineering the redistricting of the county in which Athens was located, McMinn County, so that all opposition to Cantrell would be silenced;  ensuring that all votes, during the next five subsequent elections for Sheriff were counted in secret by his men at the county jail;  refusing to use voting machines offered to the county and insisting on hand counting ballots to “save the county money;” and making sure that Cantrell’s deputy was elected to the position of Sheriff once former Sheriff Cantrell arranged for his own self to be elected to the state legislature.

All this activity and effort on the part of Cantrell and his compatriots took an awful lot of effort and money, so the Democrats in charge felt they needed to come up with a way to “create extra income” for themselves.

A steady flow of arrests, of just about anyone who moved in Athens, (just not anyone who was a compatriot of the Sheriff’s, of course), started occurring, and of course the only way to get yourself out of jail was to pay the hefty fines demanded by the Cantrell regime.  Pretty soon the group started stopping and boarding buses that just happened to be passing through town and arresting everyone on board for “drunkenness.”  You can imagine the fine each one of those poor innocent bus passengers had to pay to get out of jail.

This group of Democrats kept progressing in their efforts to shore up power, this time by colluding with bootleggers and allowing all related illegal activity to go unchecked.  It had come to such a point of lawlessness in Athens for the regular, law-abiding, citizens, that no one who wasn’t a part of the thoroughly corrupt administration could make a move in that formerly peaceful Southern town.

Then the veterans started to come home.

The veterans quickly decided not to accept being harassed, abused, arrested and fined for simple acts like going out for a drink together, so they decided to do something about it.

They started, as they  were supposed to do, with legal means. The GI’s ran a slate of candidates for the elected positions owned by Cantrell and his cronies.

The legal means seemed to be working until election day, when poll watchers appointed by the GI’s (who were there to see the elections were counted fairly) were not only arrested and jailed without cause, but one of them was attacked and thrown through a glass door.

An elderly black farmer, innocent of the goings on, named Tom Gillespie stepped into a precinct to cast his vote and was stopped by one of Cantrell’s goons.  He was told by this member of the Democrat party faithful: “You can’t vote here, nigger. “ The Democrat thug donned brass knuckles  beat the elderly man. When Mr. Gillespie attempted to flee, the Democrat drew a pistol and shot him in the back.

The veterans had enough.  They went home and returned with “pistols, shotguns and whatever weapons they could lay their hands on.”

Though Cantrell and his minions had recruited some 200 extra deputies from neighboring cities and counties to help them in their suppression efforts, they were no match for the veterans and their weapons, now joined by the majority of the beleaguered citizens of Athens.

It was said by an eyewitness of the event: “Twenty-five deputys retreated to the jail which was surrounded and fired upon by the civilian army.”  By the next morning, the “25 surrendered their arms and came out with hands up.  Although a cry went up to hang ‘em, cooler heads prevailed (and they) were taken to the edge of town, tied to trees, stripped naked and told not to come back.”  They didn’t.

Cantrell ordered the polls to close they close early, due, he said, to the “recent violence,” and arranged to have his men transport the ballots to the county jail to be counted in secret.

Then Bill White, an Athenian and sergeant who had fought in the Pacific Theater, said the following to the men who were fighting the good fight:

“You call yourselves GI’s?!

You go over there and fight for three and four years…you come back and you let a bunch of draft dodgers who stayed here where it was safe, and you were making it safe for them, push you around?

If you people don’t stop this, and now is the time and place, you people wouldn’t make a…”

(something quite vulgar), but the point was made.

White and a few others raided the National Guard Armory, helping themselves to rifles and Tommy guns, and marched to the county jailhouse, where Cantrell and the few men he had left were barricaded inside.

White ordered the Democrats inside the jail to turn over the ballot box. They refused. The veterans erupted in a “barrage of gunfire.”

A second time the veterans demanded the Democrats to turn over the ballot box. Again they were refused.

White and his men found a healthy supply of dynamite, which they used to blast the jail. Soon roaring flames were climbing into the sky. The Democrats surrendered without further ado. The cowardly Cantrell and his chief deputy did escape in an ambulance. The siege was over with no further harm done to anyone – with one notable exception.

The man who beat and shot Tom Gillespie received, as it was reported, “a vicious beatdown.”

The GI slate of candidates not only won, but they immediately started returning “many of the excess fees” that Cantrell’s Machine had imposed upon Athens’ citizens.

There were no casualties on either side in the Battle of Athens, and  only charges that were brought against anyone involved in this remarkable affair were against “Tom Gillespie’s shooter.”

This is an event that could occur only in America.

My comment:

I recite this column not meant to explain the matter to Leftist or Europeans, for they lack the character needed to grasp the explanation, but to show why such explanations are not needed.

This column is also meant as a warning to my fellow conservatives: note that the enemy only abides by legal means when the law favors their power. Democrat are willing to hold a ballot only if they get to count the ballots in secret.

Naive to hope that, having come within an inch of extinguishing liberty in America, hence in the world, forever, the enemy will surrender power without a fight.

Pray heaven the fight be as bloodless as in this noble battle.