NOTE: The below article was originally published in the April, 2008 issue of S.W.A.T. Magazine, but is republished here with S.W.A.T.'s generous permission. Because I wrote this article back in January, 2008, I didn't know who would win the nominations for either party, much less who would be president, so I used the hypothetical of Hillary Clinton as President (I think it safe to say she was the average S.W.A.T. reader's worst nightmare back then). When you read it, just replace Hitlery with Obama, Holder, and Rahm Emanuel (who you can picture wearing the Chairman Mao signature pant- suit, if you like). You can see that I was thinking a great deal about the meaning of our oath back then, well over a year ago, while I worked as a volunteer for the Ron Paul campaign in Nevada. That's about the time I first got the idea to start Oath Keepers. - Stewart Rhodes
Just Following Orders
By Stewart Rhodes
S.W.A.T Magazine, April 2008
"if a police state comes to America, it will ultimately be by your hands. That is a harsh reality, but you had better come to terms with it now, and resolve to not let it happen on your watch."
In a recent letter to this magazine, J.R. Uhl, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret
.) observed that “[t]he Constitution and our Bill of Rights are gravely endangered today, and this community [of military, veterans, and law enforcement] is where they will be saved, if they are to be saved at all!” The Colonel is absolutely right.
“It” (a full-blown totalitarian police state) cannot happen here if the majority of police and soldiers obey their oaths to defend the Constitution and refuse to enforce the unconstitutional edicts of the "Leader."
Imagine that Herr Hitlery is sworn in as president in 2009. After a conveniently timed “domestic terrorism” incident (just a coincidence, of course) or yet another Prozac
induced mass shooting, she promptly crams a United Nations mandated, Great Britain style, total ban on the private possession of firearms through a compliant, Democratically controlled Congress. Dressed in her favorite Chairman Mao signature pantsuit, Hitlery signs the ban into law with the obligatory choir of sell-out police chiefs as backdrop (just like the good ol days when Bill Clinton used the oval office).
But Hitlery, having a much larger pair, goes further, proclaiming a nationa
l emergency and declaring the entire militia movement (and anyone else Morris Dees labels “extremists”) to be “enemy combatants.” Using precedents established by Bush, Hitlery declares that such citizens are subject to secret military detention without indictment or jury trial, “enhanced” interrogation techniques, and trial before a military tribunal hand-picked by the dominatrix-in-chief herself. Hitlery then orders police, National Guard troops and active military to go house-to-house to disarm the American people and “black-bag” those on a list of “known terrorists,” with orders to shoot all resisters.
Would You "Just Follow Orders"?
Would you do it? Would you just follow orders to shoot your fellow Americans? Without you and your brothers in arms to enforce her decrees, Hitlery would be powerless to do any
thing but fume and throw things at Bill. It is you who really holds the final veto, and if a police state comes to America, it will ultimately be by your hands. That is a harsh reality, but you had better come to terms with it now, and resolve to not let it happen on your watch.
A Story About Resolve
Speaking of resolve, I have a story. After the Army, I attended College and took a class on the Holocaust, where we read Browning’s Ordinary Men, concerning German
Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) Reserve Unit 101. Those reserve policemen were not Nazi fanatics, but, out of obedience to authority and peer pressure, they still obeyed orders to shoot entire Jewish families, usually old men, women and children.
German Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) Just Following Orders.
The professor, a proud socialist, told the class that no rational person could possibly say with certainty that he would not do the same. I strongly disagreed, saying I was absolutely certain I would not obey orders to shoot women and children - I would instead shoot the officer giving me that order, right through the head.
The shocked professor declared that I had the same sort of resolute certainty as the Nazis, and such certainty was dangerous. A delicate metro-sexual male student, apparently seeking approval, proclaimed that he could not say he would refuse to follow the orders.
I turned to him in disbelief, asking, “you can’t say for sure you would not shoot old women and little kids?” His answer: “I’d rather be a live coward, than a dead hero.” I kid you not. And the rest of the class sat silent, none taking my side. At that moment, I understood wha
t H. L. Mencken meant when he said “every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” Only in the sheltered ivory towers of academia is such craven cowardice considered a virtue, and resolve considered a vice.
More Obedient German Police, Just Following Orders - to Shoot Women and Children. Do NOT Let This Happen Here.
I later lambasted their absurdity and cowardice in an editorial in the college paper, pointing out that if anyone had suggested to the 18 and 19 year old boys on board the troop transports the night before the landings at Tarawa, Iwo Jima, or Normandy that they could not possibly know if they would follow through the next day, the boys would have looked at them like they had two heads. Of course they knew what they were going to do – just what they had trained to do. And the vast majority did just that. My father in law was among them. At 16, he lied about his age to join the Marines on December 10, 1941 (just three days after Pearl Harbor), to fight the Imperial Japanese Army – and he did just that, at Iwo.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
John Adams: Enlistment date - December 10, 1941. Now that's what you call stepping up!
Who do you identify with? The spineless waste of oxygen that would shoot little kids to save his own miserable hide, or those young men who knowingly waded into hell to defend liberty?
Just as you have honed your mental trigger in advance and trained yourself to respond effectively against physical threats, you must prepare yourself in advance to take a stand against unconstitutional (and thus illegal), or immoral orders and so-called laws. You must play a “what if” game with those questions as well, decide how you will react, and visualize yourself doing it – just like you do when preparing for future combat. Just as I know beyond a doubt that I would lay down my life in defense of my wife and children, I know I would gladly give what is left of my life to ensure that they live in a free country, and no doubt you feel the same about your kids.
To secure that liberty, and to ensure that your sons grow to be "sons of liberty" who stand tall, speak the truth, and keep their oaths, you must be a son of liberty who stands tall and keeps his oath, even if by doing so you risk your job, your pension, your liberty, or your life.
- Stewart Rhodes, S.W.A.T. Magazine, April, 2008.
Postscript: According to Wikipedia, the German police forces "were brought together on a national basis for the first time in German history by an act of the German Interior Ministry in the summer of 1936. The act decreed that the regular German police forces were to be absorbed into the SS, which would then incorporate all local, state, and national level law enforcement agencies." Take heed, because history does indeed repeat itself. Guard with jealous suspicion your local autonomy and your state sovereignty. Do NOT allow your local and state police forces to be federalized and absorbed by the national government. Make that a very firm line in the sand.