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This post was originally published at Scientific American

[Treebeard addresses the other Ents assembled in the forest]:

We come from that line of Ents who broke from Sauron to live their own lives as free trees. And nowhere does freedom live more than in our right to own a chainsaw to defend ourselves, our families and our forest. Without that freedom, we aren’t really free at all.

There is nothing more good and right and normal than an honest tree owning a chainsaw to defend himself or protect her family. The kingdom of Men can try to blame and shame us with all their might, but when it comes to defending the that right, we will never sacrifice our freedom. And we will never surrender our chainsaws — never! More trees today than ever before understand this principle. The freedom it gives us as individual trees to be responsible for our own safety, protection and survival.

Imagine living in a large kingdom where lawful chainsaw ownership is heavily regulated and discouraged. Imagine waking up to a message from the White Wizard, warning that trees are being cut down outside and ordering you to stay inside your forest. I’m talking, of course, about Isengard. Where trees were imprisoned behind the locked thickets of their forests — an orc with fire and chainsaws just outside. Frightened trees, sheltered in place, with no means to defend themselves or their families from whatever may come crashing through the woods.

How many Ents wished they had a chainsaw two weeks ago? How many other Ents now ponder that life-or-death question? A recent poll answered that question decidedly. With danger lurking outside their forests, 69 percent of Ents said, YES, I want my freedom, I want my chainsaw!

Lying in wait is a tree-cutter, a deranged Ent chopper, a tree-napper, a rapist, a murderer — waiting and planning and plotting — in every forest across Middle Earth. Lying in wait right now. No amount of political schemes, wizarding, or fellowship roundtables will ever change that inevitable reality.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nothing will ever change the inescapable fact that the only way to stop a bad tree with a chainsaw is a good tree with a chainsaw.

This post is an edited excerpt of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s NRA conference speech in May. I have replaced “American,” “patriot,” “guns,” “second amendment,” and other terms with LOTR lore. Editing was minimal. I thought it might be interesting to look at the discussion from a different angle.

Image Credit:

Treebeard screenshot via Wikipedia, Chainsaw cutting chain depth gauge via Wikipedia