The following account is fictional but unfortunately is not as far-fetched as it might seem. There are already proposals for similar actions by the Democratic Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee. This could migrate to national status should something akin to the ridiculous “Heroes Act,” aka H.R. 6666 [yes, that is the number] be passed into law.
Sometime in the not-so-distant future:
“Today’s the day, isn’t it?” Margaret Claybourne asked across the kitchen table to her husband, Henry.
Henry nodded and replied, “Yes, it is. Don’t worry Maggie, it’s all going to be ok.”
Those words meant to reassure his wife were as much to bolster Henry’s courage as well. He pretty-much knew that things were definitely not going to be “ok” in the foreseeable future, but he couldn’t think about that right now.
“I hope you’re right, Henry, but I’m still not convinced. They’re probably on their way here right now!”
Yes, Henry thought, They are on their way. ‘They’ won’t be placated by talking, we already know that. He was reminded of his co-worker and buddy Pete who initially tried to resist the authorities with his protestations. He remembered that Monday morning Pete wasn’t at work. He never returned to work and no real explanation was given. His supervisors told Henry that Pete had quit, but that wasn’t the friend he had known for the last 15 years. Pete had a wife and two kids and he walks away from his largest means of support?!
“Yes babe, they are probably on their way, but we have a little time. So, we’re going to pray, and then we’re going to run.”
Maggie trusted her husband implicitly. She knew he had been planning something like this for a while but Henry hadn’t given her many details. Whenever she asked he would always say, “It’s better if you don’t know in case something happens and one of us gets caught.” But now that it was real, she wanted to know. Maggie looked Henry straight in the eyes and then bowed her head as he began praying aloud.
“Lord, we come humbly to You, knowing that all things are in Your hands and nothing can take You by surprise. We rest our hope in You and believe You will lead us through this trial. Give us guidance, wisdom, and courage for what lies before us now. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Henry stood up from their kitchen table and started toward their bedroom. Before he could get three steps, Maggie said, “Ok Henry, it’s time I knew a little more about this. I know we’re running, and I know why we’re running. But where are we going? C’mon baby, fess up.”
Henry turned and gazed at his wife of 25 years. To him, she seemed hardly changed from their wedding day, though she often complained of carrying a few more pounds and the few wisps of gray that intermingled her raven hair.
He walked around the table and gently clasped her small hands as she stood. Her dark brown eyes stared up at him and Henry gave her a wry grin.
“Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?” He asked.
“Don’t try and charm me with compliments Henry Claybourne,” she shot back with a slight grin of her own. She wanted to sound firmer but in spite of herself inside she felt a flutter as his rugged face looked down on her. How can he still do this to me after all these years?
“For now,” Henry replied, “We’re going to Dave and June’s place. I don’t know how long we can stay, but so far, that’s the next step. So go get our case and make sure to take your ‘dead’ phone and put it in the safe sleeve. I’ll take care of my phone here. Then meet me in the basement”
Maggie knew this part pretty much by heart. They had gone over the routine for “bugging out” many times. They had known months ago that they might have to escape both pursuit and detection. The only things she hadn’t known was when, where, and how it was going to happen.
They found out the “when” two days ago. Messages from the state authorities appeared on their computer and both cell phones. Since all phones and computers were now legally compliant, the state had access to them at any time.
Monday they were directed to, “appear at State Testing Center No. 64 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 7th at 2:00 pm. Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest and law enforcement will take you into custody and bring you to the Testing Center.”
Last month new laws went into effect that established a ‘Mandatory Test Protocol’ or MTP for the entire nation. Everyone was subject to random testing at any time so as to ensure ‘fairness.’ Tests were to be administered to the entire populace and would be repeated for all every month thereafter.
At the first testing, each person would also be “tagged” for tracking. Their movements were to be followed, recorded, and reported to the authorities on a regular basis.
Before the passage of the nationwide law, various states across the country had been using similar systems, including New York and the close neighbor of Nevada, California. The small group of ranchers and others, mostly from their church, that the Claybournes associated with was prescient enough to begin preparing to disobey the new laws many months ago.
Henry remembered just when he committed to that same course of action. Pastor Jim preached on the text of Galatians 5:1
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery Galatians 5:1 [NASB]
Pastor Jim spoke of how this spirit of freedom moved the early Americans to shake off British tyranny. How because of the biblical truth that all people are equal in the eyes of God the new nation endured a horrific Civil War to free our brothers and sisters from bondage and that we must not let our freedom be ravaged now.
Henry and Maggie owned a small ranch that was about 200 miles north of Vegas. It used to be that the closest law enforcement would have come from Tonapah, but it went under two years ago and was basically a ghost town. Henry thought.
Henry figured that any law enforcement officers would have to come from Vegas or Reno. Since the Testing Center was in Vegas, that’s where the LE would be sent from to find him and Maggie.
If his truck hadn’t left home by 9 am, Henry knew that LE wouldn’t wait till 2 pm to dispatch some officers. Almost all vehicles were tracked by the state, as well as phones, so they would be heading toward his place by 9:15 am at the latest.
Henry checked the time. It was 9 am, so they should get a 4 to 5-hour headstart on any LE.
Just then Maggie came down the stairs holding their ‘bug-out’ case. The case was slightly larger than a typical ‘carry-on’ bag for an airline, with a dull grey finish of burnished aluminum on the outer skin.
The case contained a change of clothes and some toiletries for each of them, a first-aid kit, some emergency rations, and various short-term survival basics. Maggie walked up to Henry and handed him the case.
“Last chance to back out babe. If you decide it’s too great a risk, I’ll stay here with you and we’ll face the music together.”
Maggie gently placed her hands on either side of her husband’s face. “We’ve already had this conversation. You know I couldn’t stay with any measure of good conscience. We’ve prayed about this more than once, and we know this is risky, but it is the right thing to do.”
Henry kissed her lightly on the lips. “Ok then. Now let me show you how we’re getting out of here.”
He strode toward the north wall of the basement. Maggie looked at the old plaster wall bordered by two concrete support beams and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. She saw Henry produce a small device similar to a laser pointer and aim it at the beam on the left.
A small vertical line began to form in the center of the wall. To her amazement, Maggie then saw the wall separate in the middle and slide open like an elevator door revealing an opening shrouded in darkness.
Henry pushed a second button on his ‘pointer’ and a row of overhead lights came to life. The lights receded back along the now visible tunnel until they faded from view.
Maggie’s jaw went slack as she looked at Henry with astonishment. “I know this didn’t come with the house, so…how?”
“This is what Dave, Pastor Jim, and I have been working on for three months. Well, mostly Dave and Pastor Jim, though I helped out a little with these doors and the connection of the tunnel to the mine shaft.”
“What…the mine shaft?!,” Maggie exclaimed.
“Dave discovered an old mine shaft vent a few months ago just inside his property line. He explored it and saw that it ran under our ranch and we managed to connect the shaft to the basement by boring an escape tunnel and here we are.”
“This is amazing!” shot Maggie as she stared wide-eyed into the lit underground space headed north.
“How far do we go inside this?”
“About half a mile straight north and descending 100 feet along the way and then into the abandoned mine for 5 miles and we come up and out just inside Dave and June’s fence. It’s lit like this all the way.”
They looked at each other and Henry took Maggie’s hand and stepped toward the entrance. He froze after a step and looked upward at the basement door.
Henry replied with his finger to his lips. “I heard something outside,” he whispered. He crept up the stairs and put his ear to the door.
Henry heard the sound of a firm and calm voice amplified with a bullhorn. “Mr. and Mrs. Claybourne, this is CDC Enforcement. We are here to take you into custody and escort you to the Testing Center for mandatory testing procedures. Please come with us peacefully or we will be forced to enter and obtain compliance with or without your cooperation.”
What?! How did they get here already?
“Let’s go, babe, now!” Henry said as he grabbed her hand and they raced inside the doors. He pushed another button on his ‘pointer’ and the doors closed behind them as they began to run.
* * *
Sources: The New American Standard Bible: Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, AMG International, 1990
The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Publishing, 1977
Featured and Top Image courtesy of Etan Liam’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of playability_de’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Quotes Everlasting’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Giant Sloth’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
All other sources linked or cited in the text
Originally published in TIL Journal