Veteran peace officer John Karriman. Missouri police academy tactics instructor, Oath Keeper, and an arsonist’s worst nightmare.
The headline in St. Louis Today dot com article reads:
Police shut down mysterious 'Oath Keepers' guarding rooftops in downtown Ferguson
The article is at this link:
Allow me to quote a few passages from that article:
FERGUSON • Following a night of arson fires and bashed storefronts that hit close to home, Greg Hildebrand stood naked Tuesday, drying off from a needed shower, when he noticed somebody on the rooftop.
“I opened the window and said, ‘Hey, can I help you?’” said Hildebrand, 35, a website developer.
The man said he was security and would be up there at night with others to protect the pocket of second-story apartments and lower-level storefronts near the Ferguson Police Department. A day earlier, rioters had broken out windows below Hildebrand’s apartment in the 100 block of South Florissant Road and torched a nearby beauty supply store.
“I am in the middle of a difficult spot,” Hildebrand said. “I feel a lot better having those guys up on the roof.”
But he wasn’t clear exactly who “those guys” were or where they came from.
Puzzled and alarmed protesters have wondered, too — some accusing the mysterious guards in military fatigues of being in the Ku Klux Klan.
In fact, they are volunteers affiliated with a 35,000-member national organization called Oath Keepers. Yale Law School graduate and libertarian Stewart Rhodes said by telephone from Montana that he founded the group in 2009 to protect constitutional rights, including those of protesters confronted by what he described as overly militarized police.
But Rhodes, who said he is Mexican-American, was quick to assure that Oath Keepers is not anti-government. He said those pulling rooftop security in Ferguson are current or former government employees and first responders, many who have intense military, police and EMS training.
“We thought they were going to do it right this time,” Rhodes said of government response to the grand jury decision released Monday night in the Darren Wilson case. “But when Monday rolled around and they didn’t park the National Guard at these businesses, that’s when we said we have got to do something.
“Historically, the government almost always fails to protect people,” he added.
(end quoted passages from above-linked article)
The Internet burst open in buzz over the Oath Keepers volunteering to guard local businesses during the protests and riots At Ferguson, Missouri. Standing atop business buildings with convincing arms gave small business owners a sense of security during the heights of the unrest which engulfed Ferguson.
Oath Keepers supports the protected right of the people to peacefully assemble, and also to question their government’s policy by voicing redress of grievance. That is part of what Oath Keepers will always protect – the First Amendment rights of the people. Earlier this year, in April of 2014, Oath Keepers opposed the “free-speech” zones fenced off by the government at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, and Oath Keepers likewise met with protesters in the streets of Ferguson to support the protesters’ rights.
But Oath Keepers also protected property from criminal acts which damaged or destroyed other buildings. Besides the peaceful protests by most of the citizenry, there was also a notable degree of destruction by arsonists in which a number of buildings were burned and destroyed, or were ransacked by looters. Oath Keepers does not support that sort of ‘malum in se’ crime. The Constitution does not support that sort of behavior and neither does Oath Keepers.
Several days into Oath Keepers’ deployment at Ferguson pressure from on high directed the police chief to demand that the Oath Keepers abandon their positions as guards of the businesses in their care. But the Oath Keepers quickly consulted a St. Louis law firm and learned that as guests of the business owners, and as unpaid invitees of the business owners, the statute law the police chief was told to use as his justification for banning Oath Keepers from guarding those buildings did not apply, so in a grand and glorious act of lawful defiance against unlawful orders from the “authorities”, the Oath Keepers went right back to work guarding those businesses.
That got Oath Keepers in the national news and Oath Keepers experienced a wave of popular support across America. It turned out to be as significant as the Oath Keepers stand at Bundy ranch in Nevada. Ferguson was the second coup of the year by Oath Keepers against the evil empire of centralized government power. Bundy ranch and Ferguson will live in history as a one-two punch on the nose of un-Constitutional governance, one nose being federal and one nose being local (but that local governance was most likely federally-originated.)
In the wake of the national publicity Oath Keepers enjoyed came the clear message about Oath Keepers’ CPT program, that being the mission of Oath Keepers’ “Community Preparedness Teams”. Stewart Rhodes flew into Ferguson to personally meet with local citizens. He emphasized the significance of the armed guards on their rooftops and explained why and how the citizens of that community need now to come together and form their own neighborhood watches and study the Oath Keepers model for general preparedness in the event disturbances may again occur. The Oath Keepers message is that the federal government, not even with its newly-militarized police forces using military-styled combat gear and tactics can protect private property. The message is we the people must prepare to protect our homes, businesses, properties, our communities, our States, and indeed, our very nation itself. It is how Oath Keepers intend to live up to their creed as “Guardians of the Republic”.
Enjoy a collage of articles written by Stewart Rhodes, with photographs.