A recent NPR story attempting to link the famed “Come and Take It” phrase to radical anti-government extremists was thoroughly mocked by gun rights advocates across the public sphere.
The story neglects to cite the true source of “Come and Take It.” The phrase was King Leonidas of Sparta's reply to Xerxes at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks surrender their arms. Via The Federalist:
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.”
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.
Read more here.