Teaching History with Guns

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Fearing the U.S. is a sinking ship, a man from North Carolina's Piedmont has set out on a mission to teach everyday Americans how to shoot a rifle and how to embrace their Revolutionary War history.

"How do you measure the value of liberty to a society?" Appleseed Project founder Jack Dailey asked a small group of families and individuals that gathered this past weekend at the West Georgia Youth Range in Georgia's Haralson County. "Wouldn't you measure it by the number of people who care enough about it to show up to defend it? And if that's the case, how does America in the 21st Century stack up to the America of the 18th Century? I've got to tell you, if you look at the difference, I'm not sure you'd use the word 'progress.'"
Dailey's criticism is not specifically directed at the Obama administration (he founded the Appleseed Project in 2005 during the second term of President George W. Bush), but "ignorance, apathy and laziness" which he believes have allowed government to grow and stray from the interests of the people.

"You run across a lot of Americans nowadays who feel that the freedoms we have now are considerably diminished from the freedoms that we had even 50 years ago," Dailey said.

Over its five years of existence, the Appleseed Project has taught 20 thousand students at events scattered around the country, usually in small groups of 10 to 20 people at a time. The sessions alternate between lectures on the American Revolution and marksmanship clinics. According to Dailey, shooting is the hook.
"If I put an item in the paper saying that Wednesday night I'm going to tell the story of April 19, 1775... I may have a dozen people show up," Daily said. "But if we promote the notion that if you come to an Appleseed you'll learn how to shoot your rifle, cumulatively, we have thousands of people who show up."

Randy Farmer, who drove an hour from the Atlanta suburb of Marietta to attend the Haralson County event, said shooting was the primary lure. "But I like the fact that the shooting is backed up with the history and the purpose for being a rifleman."

"This is the good side of guns," said Kayla Schlemmer of Decatur, another Atlanta suburb. As a woman, Schlemmer gets free admission to Appleseed classes -- an offer that also applies to children and active duty members of the military. "This is guns out in the open. Anybody can come to these things. And it's a very apolitical philosophy," Schlemmer said....

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