Oath Keepers

The Oath Keepers in Ferguson: Three Updates

The story didn't end when police ordered them down from the roofs.

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Yesterday I noted that the Oath Keepers, a controversial group that I've covered in the past, had organized rooftop anti-arson patrols in Ferguson, Missouri—and that police there had ordered them to stop. Here are some updates on the story:

On the left, one of the Oath Keepers' volunteers. On the right, the owner of a business he's helping protect.
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The Oath Keepers are challenging the order in court. The authorities "claim that they had a St. Louis County ordinance that prevented anyone from securing a building or conducting a security operation without a St. Louis County license," one of the group's organizers, Sam Andrews, tells KTVI. The Oath Keepers intend to argue that the regulation restricts businesses, not volunteers.

The rooftop patrols have not ceased entirely. There are a number of retired cops in the Oath Keepers, and they're still on the roofs. "They're exempt from local regulations about security," Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes explains to Vice. "[But] you shouldn't have to be a cop to do the right thing by your neighbors."

The group is about to try its hand at community organizing. More from Rhodes: "When I get [to Ferguson], my main goal is going to be to organize the community and encourage them to start their own neighborhood watches. They don't need outside help. They should be able to do it themselves. We're going to offer assistance in training them."

Rhodes also gave Vice this explanation for the Oath Keepers' interest in the situation:

in Ferguson, what they're being told is you only have two choices: 1) a hyper-militarized police state to stop violence, including arson, or 2) let it go and burn the town down. Twenty different buildings have burned to the ground. That's a false choice.

For Ferguson in particular if…they don't believe that the police department is legitimate, they should be protecting themselves and secure themselves because the more they secure themselves, the less reason there is for the police to be in their neighborhoods and communities. So they should take care of themselves for both reasons—to be secure, but also to be more free.

In addition to charging the authorities with failing to protect people ("it became apparent on Monday that the National Guard was only guarding government buildings"), Rhodes criticizes them for the ways they've mistreated peaceful protesters in the past few months, accusing the police of "gross violations of free speech and assembly, shooting rubber bullets at everybody, pointing their guns at everybody, spraying CS gas at everybody."

It's not surprising that local business owners appear to be pleased with the guards. More interestingly, Andrews claims that the Oath Keepers and the protesters have been getting along, despite some initial mistrust: "Once they got to know us they said, 'We're so glad you're here. Thank you for coming; we appreciate everything you're doing.'" On the other hand, there have also been exchanges like this one. Rhodes calls the reaction to the group "mixed."

Bonus links: I wrote a feature on the Oath Keepers and their critics four years ago; you can read that article here. I discussed their activities in Ferguson here and here. For yet more from Reason on the group, go here.

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169 responses to “The Oath Keepers in Ferguson: Three Updates

  1. “They’re exempt from local regulations about security,” Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes explains to Vice. “[But] you shouldn’t have to be a cop to do the right thing by your neighbors.”

    When professional courtesy bites them in the ass.

  2. “It’s our job to protect those businesses, and since we won’t do it, no one will!”

    /FPD

    1. Just like the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Mafia.

      They create the conditions of violence and fear, and then prevent anyone else from confronting that violence.

    2. And that’s the rub, isn’t it.
      It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they won’t.
      They should think what their employment prospects are like when their is no town.

      Even “Little Bill” knew that without the town he had no job.

      1. yea but he shouldn’t have done what he did to Ned.

        1. But that’s not the way things should have ended for Little Bill. He was building a house!!

          1. Building a house has ‘nuthin to do with it. Now, owning a shithole…….

  3. Rhodes? Where we’re going we don’t need Rhodes.

    1. + 21 pine trees

  4. “if…they don’t believe that the police department is legitimate, they should be protecting themselves and secure themselves because the more they secure themselves, the less reason there is for the police to be in their neighborhoods and communities.”

    Oh God, the fanaticism! The extremism! The right-wing repression!

    1. you don’t seem to get it. The police are in the communities to oppress black people. Doesn’t matter how safe or law-abiding the community is, if it’s a black community, the police will be there to keep black people down.

      Poe’s law?

  5. As far as I can tell, Oath Keepers is a great organization. Almost all criticism I have heard of them seems to be based on complete ignorance of what they actually do.

    1. Complete ignorance or deliberate maligning?

      Anyone who is vocal about not obeying any command they are given, who threatens to hold the feet of those in power to the fire….that person is going to be a serious threat to those in power. Most of what I have heard is deliberate maligning.

      1. I’m sure there is some deliberate maligning. Which is probably the origin of much of the ignorance. But I think a lot of people just have some vague notion that they must be some sort of militia or racist thing and give it little further thought.

    2. You know, I was going to make almost the same comment, Zeb. Only not as well put.

      I keep hearing all these “mixed record” references, even on Reason. But, I never actually find the negative part that’s supposedly mixed in with the good.

    3. Something else to respect – I just visited their website to make a donation and I was able to SELECT where I wanted my money spent.

      If only Reason would allow me to fund specific efforts/authors….

    4. They think they are entitled to interpret the constitution themselves and to disobey laws they claim are unconstitutional to the point of deadly force. What’s not to love?

      1. *They think they are entitled to interpret the constitution themselves and to disobey laws they claim are unconstitutional to the point of deadly force. *

        Who do they think they are–Obama?

        1. Nobody elected them.

          1. So because Obama was elected, he can therefore ignore the constitution and interpret the law as he sees fit? Some logic there, Tony.

          2. So as long as you can convince your gaggle of slack jawed proglodyte yokels to elect a President Hollow Chocolate Bunny this gives him carte blanche to ignore the law….do whatever he wants!

            Good to know!

            1. President Hollow Chocolate Bunny

              this sort of thing is completely unnecessary

              m’kay?

          3. Tony|12.2.14 @ 4:34PM|#

            Nobody elected them.”

            Wrong. Noody elected ALL of them. The Sheriff’s Association and Oath Keepers are tied at the hip. Sheriffs are the only LE or power structure in the country that are directly elected by the people and who are answerable ONLY to the people. They answer to no politician or bureaucrat, unlike any other LE in the country. They are not even under neath the President of the US.

            A Constitutional minded Sheriff is our only source of push back to the evil that is manifesting itself in the democrat/Progressive party through the power of the Federal Government. The courts are infiltrated. The legislature is infiltrated. A Sheriff has the power to protect you from the Feds if he is so minded. A Sheriff’s oath of office is to protect the Constitution, ie the people, and not the penal code, and he answers only to the people who elect him. Google it and you will find a ground swell movement amongst Sheriffs rising across the country realizing this and begining to push back against Federal over reach, and Oath Keepers is their right arm.

            Oath Keepers is the militia that progs claim is what the 2nd refers to. Now that the militia IS being well regulated they are getting their panties in a wad over it.

            Like Tony

          4. well, they are the people, the ones who do the electing, so what does it matter?

      2. You really are quite the sycophant, aren’t you?

      3. Search the group’s founding document and the closest thing you will find to a call to violence is the statement that, should a dictatorship be imposed and a popular uprising break out, its members will not only refuse to fire on the dissenters but will “join them in fighting against those who dare attempt to enslave them.” And even then the “fighting” needn’t necessarily be armed. (They also say they aren’t “advocating or promoting violence towards any organization, group or person.”) Otherwise, the manifesto is a call to stand down, not to rise up. Not every Oath Keeper would appreciate the comparison, but the group has more in common with those dissidents of the ’60s who refused to go to war than with any paramilitary cell.

        From Jesse’s article.

        1. Sounds pretty paranoid to me. Ex-cops and ex-soldiers with a tendency toward paranoia are not the self-selected group I personally would choose to decide what’s lawful and what’s not in the apocalypse.

          1. Yeah, well any organization besides a “progressive” one would make you nervous. Because progressive authoritarians are okay because progress, or something something.

            Possibly it’s a good thing you – or anyone else, really – don’t get to decide what lawfully organized group others decide to trust.

            So, basically, fuck off.

          2. Honestly, what is so paranoid about it? Terms like dictatorship and popular uprising do have certain connotations, but they don’t necessarily have to imply a nation-wide totalitarian regime. Some might argue that deploying police in MRAPS with full combat gear in response to protests against what was perceived to be a racially motivated murder falls into the category of dictatorship and popular uprising, albeit on a smaller scale than we usually think.

            And even if they are specifically referring to a nation-wide totalitarian dictatorship straight out of a dystopian novel, I’m actually glad that someone is at least thinking how to respond. I agree that such a thing is unlikely to come about in modern America. But the probability is not non-zero, and it actually increases if we pretend like it is.

          3. If you say that should a dictatorship be imposed you are inclined to resist it, you are “paranoid”.

            Clearly, the correct response to a dictatorship would be to prostrate oneself and worship the benevolent dictator.

            /Tonylogic

      4. Tony Translated: How dare not follow orders they don’t consider constititional! What do they think they are, free men or something?!

        1. Do I get to decide what’s constitutional and what isn’t all by myself? Do I get to decide what’s legal? Can I just decide one day that I’m emperor and every shop I pass owes me the money in its register?

          1. Nice strawman.

          2. Frankly, yes. And the shop keeper is justified in deciding you are actually just a thief and acting accordingly. And a court of law and jury of your peers will decide who was in the right.

            1. Say I reject the legitimacy of the court as it is established by the US government. Are you suggesting that the enforcement power of that government is what makes its actions against me legitimate?

              1. Are you suggesting that the enforcement power of that government is what makes its actions against me legitimate?

                No, it’s what makes it the government.

              2. No, I am not suggesting that. Just laying out the practical consequences of declaring yourself emperor. There are a whole host of reasons why that would be unjust, but that you would be in the minority is not one of them.

                Being in the majority wouldn’t justify it, either.

              3. You’re right, Tony. Those uppity negros should never have demonstrated in the streets; they should have shut up and accepted jim crow. It was constitutional. And internment? Those japanese should have sat back and accepted it, because 9 men in black robes said it was ok. And don’t get me started on those dope smoking, commie traitor draft dodgers.

          3. Yes, you do. As does every individual. Other people might have differing opinions if you decide you are emperor, though.

            If one Oath Keeper decides on his own that it is constitutional for him to start, say, shooting at police cars, I would bet a lot of money that some others would step in and disabuse him of that notion.

          4. Actually, if you’re a soldier (as a good many of the Oath Keepers are), you may well be under an obligation to do so, as you’d be legally required to disobey an illegal order.

            1. Actually, that only applies to officers as enlisted men swear an oath to obey all lawful orders of their superiors, however, the Supreme Court has ruled that they do not get to judge the lawfulness of an order. There only recourse is to follow the order and then report the incident to a higher headquarters after the fact. Otherwise, they get tried under UCMJ and go to prison, even if they are right.

          5. Do I get to decide what’s constitutional and what isn’t all by myself?

            Yes. So do we all.

          6. That’s exactly what they did in the Civil Rights Movement.

        2. Tony,I forgot. Only the federal government is allowed to decide when it overreaches its limited and enumerated powers explicitly granted to it by the Constitution. No conflict of interest there.

      5. What the fuck is the point of taking an oath if you just have to follow whatever orders come down the line no matter what? Do you also excuse Nazi war criminals because they were just doing their jobs? Would you cheer the jailing of a soldier who refused to put Japanese Americans into camps in the 40s?

        1. Would you cheer the jailing of a soldier who refused to put Japanese Americans into camps in the 40s?

          Well, it was FDR and not that icky old Herbert Hoover, so it must have all been for a good purpose…

        2. Do you also excuse Nazi war criminals because they were just doing their jobs?

          Hey-don’t give Tiny Tony the opportunity to do that! After all, he’ll have to recognize that many of those laws in 1930’s Germany were enacted with popular support.

        3. When we are in such an extreme situation again, I’ll let you know. You pick those examples because they are easy. Think about something that’s not so easy. Lots of people sincerely believe that abortion is a massive crime against humanity. Should those people not at great urgency start killing all abortion doctors, as the US government is failing to follow its sacred obligation to protect the baby child fetuses?

          1. The American Revolution was fought over less.

          2. I happen to think that laws and constitutions and such should be designed to handle the extreme situations. Otherwise such situations are good opportunities for those in power to consolidate their hold on it.

            Oath Keepers aren’t going around breaking laws they don’t like left and right. They exist so that if and when an extreme situation comes up we won’t be at the mercy of people with no respect for the law and people’s rights. And apparently they also want to use their skills picked up in law enforcement and the military to help people defend themselves when the regular police can’t or won’t. How that is not a wonderful thing to do, I can’t see.

            Should those people not at great urgency start killing all abortion doctors

            I wouldn’t say so, but if they decide that it is sufficiently important to do so they will.

            1. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have a right to organize and do what they legally do, but I am suggesting that a group of people who self-select based on a level of paranoia that seriously entertains the notion that the US government is going to be taken over by a dictator is perhaps not the group we want enforcing the rules for us when the time comes.

              1. So, “when the time comes” we want people who didn’t anticipate and prepare for it instead?

                You make no sense.

                1. When the time comes all you have is prayer. The nature of chaotic situations is that you don’t get to easily predict things.

                  1. Why does it have to be chaotic? It’s not like the American Revolution just started one day. People went into with clear objectives and a plan. They had to adapt to changing circumstances but they didn’t just wake up to chaos in the streets and build a country out of it.

                    And it doesn’t have to be a large-scale revolution, either. Small, localized, targeted acts of tyranny are still acts of tyranny.

              2. Again, if that time comes you can try to enforce the rules, too.

                But I find it strange that you would rather have in charge reactionaries that never considered what they would do in the worst case scenario, rather than people who planned for it.

              3. “I am suggesting that a group of people who self-select based on a level of paranoia that seriously entertains the notion that the US government is going to be taken over by a dictator..”

                Well Tony have you ever read Executive Order #13606 labeled National defense Resource Preparedness Order ? In it is the exact framework for a dictator to rule America. Any President has the power to activate it at any time he chooses. It specifically states in time of emergency or in time of peace. War or revolution isn’t necessary. All a President needs is a few TOP MEN to go along with him. It is so all powerful that it allows for the Federal Gov. to tell you in which direction you may walk. No exageration. It was signed into “law” under the cover of the Zimmernam/Martin brouha and got scant attention. A County Sheriff is the only power that cannot be “legally” controlled by this Executive action.

                1. See, this is the problem. You guys are so fucking stupid, yet you want to be our protectors in a time of upheaval. You have not described that EO in a truthful way, at all. It doesn’t do what you said. You’re behaving like a paranoid nutcase. So I kindly turn down your offer to protect me.

            2. I happen to think that laws and constitutions and such should be designed to handle the extreme situations.

              Exactly. One of the great strengths of western democracy, particularly in America, is that it provides a process for addressing injustice that doesn’t require armed rebellion. Thank God. But that doesn’t in and of itself preclude the possibility that taking up arms *might* at some point be necessary.

          3. Whoa, was that Freudian or what? You point out that these Oath Keeper guys shouldn’t be deciding for themselves what’s constitutional–despite the fact that the oaths they’ve sworn actually require them to make that determination, if you think about it. Then, someone points out that there are situations where you would probably support disobedience to unconstitutional orders, what’s your reply? “When we are in such an extreme situation again, I’ll let you know.”

            Do you see the irony there? What is it that makes you better than the Oath Keepers in terms of deciding when an order shouldn’t be obeyed?

            And could you please provide your phone number, so that if any Oath Keepers receive orders that they think might be unconstitutional, they can check with you?

          4. Tony once again misses the point that abortion doctors aren’t fbi agents kicking in women’s stomachs.

            When abortion doctors are agents of the state, then (and I personally don’t even think then) it might be justifiable to kill them.

      6. to disobey laws they claim are unconstitutional to the point of deadly force

        Honestly, isn’t that a choice we all, at least in theory, have to make? If you believe a law is unjust, even if it does have majority support, then in good conscience shouldn’t you disobey it? In the most serious cases, shouldn’t you fight back against it, maybe even with lethal force? There may be a cost benefit analysis, i.e., is it going to be more effective to change the law through democratic action rather than revolt? And there is of course the practical possibility of being arrested or killed yourself.

        We are all responsible for our own moral code and choices, and we are not under any obligation to live under someone else’s. If 70% of people think something is just, then I’d say it is a good idea to think long and hard about why that might be before doing something rash. And certainly not all injustices are worth using force against. But the notion that we need to all decide for ourselves and take the action we think is appropriate in light of real world considerations doesn’t strike me as extreme. In fact, it strikes me as elementary.

        1. “In the most serious case” I’m hopping on my boat and going to an island and building a big wall and planting some crops.

          Sure in theory there exists the possibility that we will have to engage in a bloody struggle for freedom against oppressors. But there’s no guarantee we’ll win and there’s certainly no guarantee that whatever comes next will be free and just. That’s certainly not the norm anyway.

          But in daily life we are not entitled to simply disobey laws we don’t like. Civilization would never work under those circumstances. If you’ve lost total faith in the system, then I suggest moving where the system can’t get its hands on you. Otherwise you don’t have much choice but to trust that the system will get things mostly right.

          1. Yeah we should just move. Possibly to Walden Pond.

            What a shitheel HDT was, amirite?

            1. And, Gandhi, MLK, and Jesus. A bunch of real fuckers. JUST WHO DID THEY THINK THEY WERE?

          2. Your more than welcome to run. Others may stand and fight, and good thing, too. If no one took a stand for freedom, freedom wouldn’t exist.

            And we are entitled to disobey laws we don’t like. It’s called civil disobedience. It’s illegal, but not necessarily unjust. And from a moral point of view, I’m more concerned with justice than legality.

            1. We are talking about ludicrous fantasy scenarios right? I’m trying to tell you, in the event of a dictatorship replacing our government, there’s little point in talking about what you’re gonna do, because what you’re probably gonna do if you resist is get lined up against a wall. It’s just boys with toys jerking off to Rambo fantasies from where I sit. You are aware how much firepower the US government has at its disposal? Yeah it’s lost to guerrillas before in other people’s countries, but surely we can agree that however that plays out, it’s not going to be good for a whole lot of people, so let’s just hope it doesn’t.

              Civil disobedience, when we select for the few noble examples that succeeded, is fine, but it depends on a preceding acceptance of law and order and the fact that the existing system is perpetuating an injustice that it can’t fix itself. It’s a political statement, not a right to disobey laws.

              1. because what you’re probably gonna do if you resist is get lined up against a wall

                Yes. Unless you can convince a lot of the people with guns who would line you up and shoot you to refuse to do so. Which is why the Oath Keepers exist.

                1. You know what, when tyranny comes, the people I’m staying the farthest away from are those who have publicly declared their intention to fight said tyranny.

                  1. So, collaborator, then?

                    Tony, You’re secretly French right?

                  2. You know what, when tyranny comes, the people I’m staying the farthest away from are those who have publicly declared their intention to fight said tyranny.

                    Holy. Shit.

                    So is it fair to say you don’t care about freedom, justice, and democratic principles? Because I’m having a hard time reading it any other way.

                    1. Of course I do, but those things don’t come from roving extralegal armed gangs. They come from a strong legitimate government, actually.

                    2. No, you don’t believe in them. At least not enough to fight for them. You’ve said as much. You believe in them so long as doing so doesn’t really cost you anything.

                    3. You believe in them so long as doing so doesn’t really cost you anything.

                      Like a good capitalist?

                      I don’t try not to *believe* in things. I support values and actions that lead to increased human well-being on the short- and medium- and long-terms.

                      I do believe that the better current means of achieving this is by working in the current system rather than overthrowing it. Revolutions are bloody messes, and I like my head where it is.

                      Of course, in a prior age lacking our sophisticated propaganda, the level of wealth inequality in our society would, by future historians, be considered adequate motivation for taking the guillotine to Wall Street. Revolutions have indeed been fought for less.

                      Please do educate me if I’m off-base, but what do the Oath Keepers have to say about the real enemies of freedom, the plutocratic elite that has captured governance? Higher taxes perhaps?

                    4. I do believe that the better current means of achieving this is by working in the current system rather than overthrowing it.

                      So do the Oath Keepers. Again, you have nothing to stand on.

                  3. No shit, Tony. It’s hard to stand near those fighting tyranny when you’re busy humping the legs of the tyrants.

                  4. “…the people I’m staying the farthest away from…”

                    You side with the oppressors. This is the logical conclusion that follows from this statement; to be farthest away from public dissenters you will become the oppressor.

                    What is this, your second coming out party?

                    1. I can be more or less equally far if I’m off the coast of France on my boat.

              2. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I don’t depend on good feelings to actually prevent it. That would be worthless. You prevent it by working peacefully to stop it from happening, and failing that, by fighting.

                Civil disobedience is a manifestation of individual autonomy. Yes, it can be exercised as a political tool. So can speech. Doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to speak freely.

              3. Tony says;” It’s just boys with toys jerking off to Rambo fantasies from where I sit.”

                Maybe you need to get off of where you sit & get out more. where free men live “relatively” free and independent lives.

                I for one will not go peaceably or quietly. I am willing to go down taking as many with me as I can. Just not on their terms or at a time of their choosing.

                one here, two there. It adds up. And if I were a fairly unmotivated statist enforcer “just doing his job” I’d be thinking twice about doing oppressive shite in areas where your convoy gets blocked off and then folks take shots at you and run away.

                1. You are a pathetic nobody with run-of-the-mill delusions. You live in one of the freest societies ever built in human history. I say that knowing our prison population and level of exploitation and bombing of people. There are people with real grievances, many owed to our own government. You aren’t one of them. You’re just a little… affected.

              4. Tony…not a right to disobey laws.”

                But Occupy was righetous, right Tony.

                The massive firepower doesn’t fire itself Tony and the direction in which it fires is variable.

                That is what Oath Keepers is about.

          3. But in daily life we are not entitled to simply disobey laws we don’t like.

            You keep saying that, but it really isn’t true. I ignore any laws that aren’t convenient for me to obey or aren’t in accord with my own morality (it is not because of the law that I don’t rob or murder people). I bet you do too. Most people do. And civilization continues somehow.

            1. Tony doesn’t murder or steal because of the law.

      7. They think they are entitled to interpret the constitution themselves and to disobey laws they claim are unconstitutional to the point of deadly force

        Everyone is entitled to do that and face the consequences. It’s called civil disobedience. If it ever comes to the point of putting people in camps or other serious curtailment of people’s rights, I would damn well hope that a good number of police and military people would decide that they know the constitution better than those giving the orders.

        1. If a serious violation happens (and let’s be honest, by serious we mean “happens to middle-class white people”), then things are fucked up all over, and I personally would resent some paranoid needle-dick with an automatic rifle telling me what to do just as much I would resent Obama herding me into a camp.

          1. I personally would resent some paranoid needle-dick with an automatic rifle telling me what to do just as much I would resent Obama herding me into a camp

            Then make a decision for yourself. That is the gist of what everyone is telling you. You have the power to do so.

            1. Not if someone has a gun pointed at me.

              1. Then maybe you should take steps to prevent that from happening. Which is the point of that one part of the Oath Keepers manifesto. They are saying they won’t be the ones pointing the guns at you. On the contrary, they’ll point theirs back at those that do.

              2. Point a gun back, dipshit. Sweet Moses, that’s called being responsible for your own safety.

                Or, do you just like presenting yourself as a helpless martyr candidate?

                1. I simply prefer checking any delusions I might entertain, such as the delusion that in the event of massive social upheaval I’ll be any use to myself or anyone else.

                  1. A little wordy……lets just tighten that up a bit.

                    I simply prefer checking any delusions I might entertain, such as the delusion that in the event of massive social upheaval I’ll be any use to myself or anyone else.

                    There….much better.

                  2. Right, better to let others fight for you, as you so nobly point out below.

                    At what point DO you take responsibility for yourself? That’s a serious question.

                    It’s no wonder your drawn to proglodytic ideas-you really do think it’s the place of others to look out for you.

                    1. I prefer a calm, civilized society in which everyone takes care of everyone to some extent. I realize I’m not inherently entitled to that, and am very lucky to live in this time and place. In the event of the zombie apocalypse I suppose I’ll just have to find out what I’m made of vis-?-vis zombie apocalypse survival skills.

                    2. Shit….alright, let’s do this:

                      I prefer a calm, civilized society

                      Yeah, and it’s a pretty good bet that the overwhelming majority in the U.S. current agree.

                      in which everyone takes care of everyone to some extent

                      If and only if it is done via a mutual agreement that is NOT codified into law. It has to be 100% voluntary on the part of the giver.

                      I realize I’m not inherently entitled to that

                      Utter Bullshit. You do believe it, to some extent, considering how often you come here to harangue us, trying to influence our political choices towards putting/keeping “charity” laws into effect. Maybe you don’t think you personally deserve it (although it sure seems like you do, based off your own words), you think others do to the point you want it to be an law enforced by government violence.

                      and am very lucky to live in this time and place

                      On this, many of us will, no doubt, agree.

                      In the event of the zombie apocalypse

                      I don’t even… Really? We’re talking about people ruling/reignin over others, not some horror/sci-fi story. Let’s keep it in the realm of possibility, OK?

                    3. If and only if it is done via a mutual agreement that is NOT codified into law. It has to be 100% voluntary on the part of the giver.

                      It is arguably voluntary and mutually agreed if it’s a democracy. You are free to vote for candidates who promise to dismantle the safety net, and godspeed. If it’s not done on a tax-and-spend basis, then it’s just charity, and then everyone’s not taking care of everyone. Charities are selecting who they want to take care of, and they probably won’t be able to afford any real amount of doing-good in the total absence of a public safety net.

                      At any rate this just takes us to the same old problem: unless you are an anarchist then you support to some extent the “involuntary” taking care of others (as in, their property rights and access to the justice system).

                      you think others do to the point you want it to be an law enforced by government violence.

                      All I was saying is that I’m lucky to live in a 21st century advanced democracy. Most people never got the chance. I appreciate it, thus I feel it is a good thing to work to maintain it rather than entertain fantasies of overthrowing it, knowing full well that whatever comes next is not likely to be freer and happier, even for the survivors.

                    4. I feel it is a good thing to work to maintain it rather than entertain fantasies of overthrowing it, knowing full well that whatever comes next is not likely to be freer and happier, even for the survivors.

                      And, again, you agree with the Oathkeepers who seek to maintain a free and democratic republic. They exist to prevent an overthrow of it.

                      So your argument with them is basically in risk assessment. They think there maybe a threat to that society while you feel there’s no threat whatsoever. In your eyes, their evaluation of the threat level is paranoid and fantastical even while stating that you wouldn’t attempt to preserve the society you say you value. And you don’t see why they’re concerned?

                      Well, all righty then.

                    5. The part that makes one pause is how the Oath Keepers are the ones who get to define “free and democratic republic.” That’s two big adjectives and a big noun. And they get to decide what they mean for everyone else.

                      I think such movements will attract the paranoid, and I think that should be a plausible supposition. Sometimes, as they say, the paranoid are right. If they are, then my point is good luck being ruled by a bunch of paranoids!

                    6. If it’s not done on a tax-and-spend basis, then it’s just charity, and then everyone’s not taking care of everyone. Charities are selecting who they want to take care of, and they probably won’t be able to afford any real amount of doing-good in the total absence of a public safety net.

                      So sayeth Tony. The whole point of voluntary is that people get to opt out, ya know? You, on the other hand, require the application of force should anyone opt to not go along with your vision.

                      As to what “involuntary taking care of” I support, yes I do agree with courts of law, and am perfectly willing to entertain a system that doesn’t force everyone to pay.

                      In other words, I don’t buy your false dichotomy.

                    7. No social contract is legitimate without an opt-out. Opting out in a large nation-state takes the form of renouncing citizenship and leaving. Surely you get this and aren’t someone who’d dare take all his society throws at him and then whines about having to pay his share.

                    8. Democracy is only voluntary if each party is allowed to opt-out of the results.

                      Example, you and some friends meet at a pizza restaurant. Then they decide that you will pay for it all based on results from a vote. It would be involuntary if you had no choice. You could vote against the idea, sure, but the result would be decided by majority. If you were not allowed to opt-out of the results entirely, but instead had a gun to your head then it would be tyranny against you. Democracy is a lot like gambling, but instead of each party gambling their own money, they decided to gang up on somebody and use their money instead. You pay for the whole pizza, but in the end only get one slice, or maybe not even get one at all. They decided you’ve had enough pizza in your life, and it would be “unfair” if you got to partake of the spoils of your payment.

                    9. “All I was saying is that I’m lucky to live in a 21st century advanced democracy”

                      This may be your primary problem, among many.

                      We do not live in a Democracy.

                    10. Your best bet would be to tell people you are secretly a scientist who holds the key to the cure for the zombie disease, and that they need to protect you until you’re in a position to act on it and save the world. Then delay, and get enough people killed to ensure a continuing stream of new, gullible protectors to enter your service.

                      You know. Socialism.

                    11. The Eugene strategy?

                    12. Yup, the Eugene strategy:

                      Claim ownership of science (while not really understanding how science works) and all that is “good”. Claim to want to use it to save the world. Trick lots of people into believing you against their own well being. Consider yourself intellectually superior. Even when you fail. Again.

                      We could call it “Eugenics”.. no wait, you already used that name for a strategy.. How about “Eugenetronics”?

                  3. I simply prefer checking any delusions I might entertain, such as the delusion that in the event of massive social upheaval I’ll be any use to myself or anyone else.

                    I think this is the first time that 100% of Reason commenters agree with you.

              3. Tony, In the USSA the statist gun is always in the room and is always pointed at you. You just cant see it.

          2. What about a paranoid needle dick with a rifle refusing to follow an order to, say, shoot all the homos, or lock all people with known leftist tendencies in camps? The Oath Keepers primary point is not to act when unconstitutional orders are given, not to take matters into their own hands (unless it comes to the point of armed revolution, in which case what else are they supposed to do?).

            1. If anarchy or oppressive tyranny comes to our shores, I’m getting the fuck away. I presume the most armed and paranoid will be doing a lot of the shooting. I’m just not going to presume they’ll protect me any better than the guys in uniform.

              1. Your sense of civic responsibility is admirable.

                So, the Oathkeepers are extremists who you wouldn’t trust if civil order actually broke down and they should just obey. And order won’t break down because we’re too civilized for that kind of anarchy, but if it does happen you don’t want them “in charge” because something something paranoid ex-military gun lovers, so you’ll abandon your home and save yourself.

                Good to know.

                1. My point is we’re not talking about a movie, we’re talking about a situation in which you are almost certainly going to be lined up against a wall before you spearhead a glorious democratic re-revolution.

                  1. So people with the courage to die for what they believe in frighten you, even if you ostensibly believe in the same thing? You’d rather cast your lot with the people who are willing to kill for what you (ostensibly) don’t believe in, or just run away to a fantasy land where bad things won’t happen to you?

                    Is that about right?

                    1. Cowardice is a seriously underappreciated survival strategy. My point is that the best option for ensuring your well-being is working to maintain the advanced democratic civilization we have. One gets the impression from militia types that armed revolution is almost sometime to welcome. The point of political activity should be to maintain and improve a well-ordered society. Anything else is naturally going to be very risky for all involved.

                    2. the best option for ensuring your well-being is working to maintain the advanced democratic civilization we have.

                      I’m sure most Oathkeepers would agree with your second sentence if not your first.

                      Possibly, their conceptualization of maintaining an advanced democratic civilization involves protecting its foundational principles.

                      But you’ve decided you don’t like them because ex-military, gun lovers, something, something. You’re just another culture warrior, Tony.

                    3. Tony|12.2.14 @ 5:39PM|#

                      “Cowardice is a seriously underappreciated survival strategy.”

                      If you are too afraid to live, you’re already dead, stop wasting this planets resources and take the cowards way out. (it’d be the green thing to do)

                  2. When you talk about being lined-up and shot, you sound like your fantasizing or envisioning a movie.

                    Life is significantly more grey – and that’s where real morality plays out.

                    The Oathkeepers exist as a reminder – or threat, if you prefer, so that we never get to the point where any kind of real revolution is necessary.

                    1. Was civil disobedience the best strategy for Jews in Nazi Germany? Or didn’t we find that getting the fuck out was probably the best strategy?

                    2. But Nazi Germany is a false analogy because that can’t happen here, right?

                    3. Was civil disobedience the best strategy for Jews in Nazi Germany?

                      No, it would have been much better had they had guns and something like the Oath Keepers. Which is sort of the fucking point.

                      Instead they had neighbors like you.

                      Honestly, I try to be civil with you, but sometimes I’ve got to call a spade a spade.

                      On this issue, you are the intellectual heir of those who either ran away or stood around and did nothing while millions of your fellow human beings were systemically slaughtered. Yet you claim to want a society where everyone looks out for everyone else. That’s not Godwining, that is just the truth, pretty much in your own words.

                    4. I don’t get why you guys can’t see the absurdity of the “if only the Jews had guns” argument. If a tyrannical government wants to oppress (or eradicate) you, why the fuck is it going to let you have guns and militias? Isn’t that the very first thing it’s going to go after?

                    5. Holy shit. Yes, we do get that. Loud and clear. That is why we want an armed population!

                      I don’t get why you can’t see the absurdity of “a tyrannical government won’t let you have guns and militias, and by the way, I think government should be the one that has all the guns”. Unless you actually want a tyrannical government. One that reflects your values, of course.

                    6. I’m trying to present a realist argument here. Thus, it’s not about me thinking that government should be the one with all the guns, it’s about the reality that it really does have almost all of the guns. It has nukes for Christ’s sake. If it really wanted to fuck the population over, it could, and the Oath Keepers won’t be able to do a damn thing about it but wet their panties and maybe get some innocents killed in crossfire.

                      I do not believe it is practical or constitutionally necessary for the people to be armed in order to check the threat of government tyranny. As long as there are free and fair elections, the people will probably tend to prevent their own oppression. If something subverts that to the extent that armed revolution is necessary, then all I anyone can say is good luck. I would not be optimistic about what comes along in its wake.

                    7. As long as there are free and fair elections, the people will probably tend to prevent their own oppression.

                      Jesus H. Christ. You have to purposely ignore over 200 years of history to believe this.

                      The majority will prevent their own oppression. The minority…well, you said it yourself. Good luck. How comforting for them to know that you are rooting for them.

                    8. It’s sounds like you’re saying that, if the government lets you have guns, then you don’t need guns, and, if you need guns, then the government won’t let you have guns.

                      Gee, I wonder why people go paranoid over gun control.

                    9. Not at all. If the government lets you have guns, you don’t need guns, but you increase your chances of being shot in the face.

                      The US’s level of gun proliferation has resulted in an absurdly high rate of gun violence and death. For this exercise you don’t get to tiptoe into candyland. Stay in reality. This is a figure.

                      This level of death must be justified by some outweighing benefit. It’s not that we’re an unsurpassed psychopathic society in need of constant individual vigilance. It’s not that we have a realistic chance of overthrowing a tyrannical US government with our guns. It can only be justified by the delusion that these things are possible. And I don’t like policy made by delusion.

                      Luckily we can rest assured that delusion is not what motivates this–merely the exploitation of the delusional by gun vendors.

                    10. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more ? we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

                      ? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

                    11. Aleks was a wordy, eccentric-going to borderline nuts, self-loathing, at-times anti-Semitic man, but the above from The Gulag Archipelago is one of the most moving passages ever written in any language.

                    12. Isn’t that the very first thing it’s going to go after?

                      Uh, yeah, and that’s why you don’t give them up under any circumstance.

                    13. “I don’t get why you guys can’t see the absurdity of the “if only the Jews had guns” argument. If a tyrannical government wants to oppress (or eradicate) you, why the fuck is it going to let you have guns and militias? Isn’t that the very first thing it’s going to go after?”

                      This has to be a parody. Tony descends into the most blindingly illogical claptrap argument that is a actually a circuitous affirmation of the arguments of his rivals because he’s secretly a libertarian who believes the best strategy to convince casual observers of H&R is to appear to be a blithering idiot to they’ll have the satisfaction of coming to their own conclusions. Brilliant.

                    14. you are the intellectual heir of those who either ran away or stood around and did nothing while millions of your fellow human beings were systemically slaughtered.

                      Yeah.(sigh)

                      He dislikes the Oathkeepers because some vague Team affinity thing and misrepresents their goals and purpose while stating he wouldn’t attempt to protect the principles he says he values. Sad, really.

                    15. Honestly, I’ve never seen it this bad. Tony is actually capable of making salient points. But this time it doesn’t even require any effort to point out the absurdity. He is basically arguing against his own points now.

                    16. Oh but let’s talk about teams and the culture war. Indisputably, black Americans have the most to fear from their government and the most legitimate grievances of all, as has been the case for the entire history of this society. What if most of the militias were black? We wouldn’t even call them militias, we’d call them gangs, and the very same people droning on about their right to armed revolution would be the ones banning the guns and running to government for help. Even if not, the conversation would surely be entirely different.

                      The paradox is this: the more oppressive government becomes, the more legitimate a claim you have to make revolution; but a more oppressive government is going to be more brutal. Any government worth overthrowing isn’t going to limit itself to dainty post-WWII norms, especially not as it is existentially threatened.

                      This is the least efficient way of making change and the one most worth avoiding. It’s not something to defend, it’s something to avoid. And the composition of these groups matters. What kind of person would join on? And where are the black people?

                    17. Tony|12.2.14 @ 8:26PM|#
                      …”This is the least efficient way of making change and the one most worth avoiding. It’s not something to defend, it’s something to avoid. And the composition of these groups matters. What kind of person would join on? And where are the black people?”

                      Seems they managed to make a change regardless of your whinging.
                      So the data says you’re wrong, as it quite often does. And you’re dumb enough to keep at it anyhow.

                    18. We wouldn’t even call them militias, we’d call them gangs, and the very same people droning on about their right to armed revolution would be the ones banning the guns and running to government for help. Even if not, the conversation would surely be entirely different.

                      This is pretty much how modern gun control got started in the first place.

                      What kind of person would join on? And where are the black people?

                      See “Black Panthers.” The black people are where that 14% or so of the population wants to go. If you’ll notice, that don’t uniformly distribute themselves everywhere.

                    19. Oh but let’s talk about teams and the culture war.

                      No. You don’t get to derail the conversation because your position (if you even have one) is so indefensible.

                      This is the least efficient way of making change and the one most worth avoiding.

                      You make this point as if its controversial. It isn’t. These guys are trying to stop tyranny *before* it starts.

                      And the composition of these groups matters.

                      No, it doesn’t. What matters is their beliefs and their actions.

                    20. I mean, really, you’re such a caricature sometimes. Lose the argument–wait, that implies you had an argument to make. Run out of other insults, just yell racists.

                    21. If your armed private revolution-in-waiting is all-white, then you have a couple problems. One, it’s obviously not representative of the people before you even take your first poll. Two, it’s probably white supremacist hillbillies. Things have got to be pretty bad to turn to them to govern us. As in, so bad that every other contender group has been killed off.

                    22. Thanks for proving my point. When all else fails, just yell racist a little louder.

                    23. i dunno, im pretty sure that the best survival strategy was guerilla warfare to prevent government occupation.
                      the difference between you and i tony
                      in 1941 youd be on a train, on your way to the camps happy that all your needs will betaken care of by your benevolent government, i would be banding together with whatever Germany had that resembled the oath keepers, attempting to protect those who choose to be cowards and climb on the train to happy camp

                    24. Aren’t you tough. As I said, I’d have left the country at the first sign of trouble. You’d be having macho fantasies until the gas took effect.

                  3. Have you ever tried to find/kill a sniper before? It’s not that easy. There’s no “lining them up and shooting them”…

                    1. Have you ever tried to find/kill a sniper before? It’s not that easy. There’s no “lining them up and shooting them”…

                      As the Pennsylvania State Police recently discovered. What a strange story that was.

              2. “If anarchy or oppressive tyranny comes to our shores, I’m getting the fuck away.”

                so you are content to enjoy the fruits of others but are unwilling to help preserve it ?

                Tony, you are a piece of shit.

                You sniveling little boot licking piece of shit would be happy leading others into the ovens if doing so kept you out of them.

                Tony, you ARE a self acknowledged piece of shit.

                1. Anarchy would get along better without tonys trying to get others to initiate force in their name. im whole heartedly for you running far far away from the glorious voluntary society, in fact please take those who think like you with, there is no place for them in a peaceful society like anarchy

          3. Do you not understand the difference between someone telling you what to do and someone refusing to do something to you because you don’t want to be told what to do?

            1. If this is aimed at Tony, you’re wasting your time.
              To Tony, refusing to give welfare to people is ‘taking goods away from them’.
              Logic and Tony are very distant acquaintances.

              1. Refusing to implement a modern welfare state, universal in the civilized world, is to make a policy choice that affects people. Even you can’t disagree with that. Society is about distribution of resources. You don’t want to contribute, then stop suckling the teat of society your every waking and sleeping minute.

                A tax cut is taking money from government and giving it to people. Is the semantic difficulty so insurmountable for you that you can’t get to a place where we’re talking about reality?

                1. A tax cut is taking money from government and giving it to people.

                  No, it’s actually not that at all.

                2. “Society is about distribution of resources.”

                  A civil society is about the mutual exchange of resources. A socialist society is about the distribution of resources.

                  “A tax cut is taking money from government and giving it to people. Is the semantic difficulty so insurmountable for you that you can’t get to a place where we’re talking about reality?”

                  A tax is taking moey from the people who earned it. A tax cut is people being able to keep more of what they earn.

                  The government doesn’t earn any money Tony, you sniveling little piece of shit. It can only take from those who do.

                  1. So is government fundamentally morally impermissible? Or are only taxes bad that are taken from rich people?

                    1. Only a government which is paid for through voluntary means is morally permissible. Taxes that are taken from everyone is bad, not just rich people.

                3. you fucking retard, a tax cut is leaving money in the hands of those who rightfully earned it

                  tony logic
                  a man robs a store at gunpoint taking 1000$, he stops after the robbery and says “well i dont need all of this right now” and hands the clerk 50$ back.
                  tony says- well he should be grateful for the 50$

                  1. You should be grateful for the civilization that taxes have paid to build.

                    Apparently you can’t get beyond this stupid semantic bullshit.

                    1. civilization has been built despite taxation.

  6. I see nothing by or about the Oathkeepers in that article that I wouldn’t support.

    1. so join up

  7. That was an interesting exchange between the Oath Keeper and the “legal observer.”

  8. “[But] you shouldn’t have to be a cop to do the right thing by your neighbors.”

    You think the peasants should have the same rights as rulers? How quaint.

  9. Where is the new copsucker from this morning?

  10. Some people don’t deserve to be protected.

    1. *Some people don’t deserve to be protected.*

      Those we call “the unborn”.

  11. The only questions I haveare, do they have the permission of the owners of the property they are protecting? And will they try to deescalate the situation before using lethal force, if possible?

    1. i imagine the way they got on to the roof is by an access from within the buildings, so they must have had the owners’ permission. Not like they were helo-inserted or anything. And from the video of the guy debating the woman on the street, it looks like they are in a violent mindset.

  12. Hit it up man, hit it up.

    http://www.Anon-Rocks.tk

  13. what i don’t get about Feruson is,

    A) If the people believe its police force to be racist because its mostly white and Ferguson is mostly black, why don’t they just vote to fire the entire police force?

    B) If they feel that certain laws are particularly unjust towards them, why don’t they vote that the police shall not enforce said laws.

    C) If police fail to adhere to “B” see “A”.

  14. Did you guys hear that fun story about the black panther members, who plotted to blow up the arch and the police chief? But then their EBT card was a bit short? Good times!

    But now to the serious topic of restraining these oath keepers. They’re paranoid and right wing. They’re officially sanctioned, not like the black gang members and criminals who kills most black people.

    1. I didn’t see any sign of paranoia in the video link of the exchange in the article. Looks to me that they are really just an armed neighborhood watch.

  15. As soon as the article mentioned “neighborhood watch” I immediately knew what would ultimately destroy this group.

    Eventually, one of these Oathkeepers will be brutally assaulted by a young black man and will be forced to shoot him in self-defense. Then the race-baiters will emerge from under their bridges and claim the Oathkeepers are shooting black children for looking at them funny, and the organization will be forced to disband.

  16. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.jobsfish.com

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