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Liberty or Death……A Story

by Michael Duminiak
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It was indeed a sad state of affairs. A plastic grocery bag overflowed in the corner of the room, leaking out a stream of deathorlibertyflagunpaid bills hastily shoved into it the day before to clear off the carved oak desk that had been a family heirloom. The desk was gone, sold off the day before at Sheriff’s sale along with a household of other pieces of furniture and other valuables. The marks on the carpet where they once stood reminded one of the ruined foundations of long lost civilizations. Such a parallel was apt as civilization had indeed been lost here.

The body itself was against the far wall of the room not far from the sack of bills. It sat as if seated in relaxation, head down on chest in slumber. If not for the gaping hole exposing the gray tissue inside and the large upward splatter of blood and bits of flesh, bone and hair upon the wall, it would have looked tranquil. Nothing is quite so quiet as a room that screams of death.

The gun used still rested clutched in the bone white hand. Where it had been secreted away in order to avoid the Sheriff’s sale will remain an eternal mystery. There can be no doubt that it was saved specifically for this purpose. No doubt because its neighboring hand held a simple note of three words, “Liberty or Death!” As the former had been lost, the latter was obtained.

The scene said much to any who cared to see it. Rather than use the weapon to fight off the authorities who came to take away everything, it was saved only to end the misery. Despite all the injustice visited upon the deceased by a corrupt government that beat down the people who bore the brunt of economic collapse to force the liquidation of their assets so that those who caused the collapse and had already been given billions could collect their 40 pieces of silver, this one person remained loyally obedient.libertyordeathmask

The scene indeed said much and accused more with grim testimony. No rebellion, resistance or law breaking was committed despite being deprived of house and home. No stain save noble blood rested here. No excuse could be made by those who stripped away everything. On their heads alone rested judgment.

Here a martyr rests. Not the martyr of blazing glory in heat of battle or of stoic bearing while in the hands of the executioner, but a martyr still. Here rests a martyr to liberty and justice. A gloomy monitor and testament to how far from justice society had slipped. Here rests a martyr for a nation abandoned by its government.

All the lofty speeches and promises instantly wither to dust at the testimony of the scene. Here is the truth. Here lies the grist ground down by the political machine. Festoon it with streamers and bedeck it with flags, shower it with platitudes and lecture it with excuses – do what you will to spin it. It remains unmoved. It convicts without pardon. It exposes without exception.

Silently unmoving rests the shattered remains of a citizen deprived of every inalienable right.  Oh how that silence screams.

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