Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looking Back On Ferguson, Missouri


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:

By Jesse Bogan 314-340-8255
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.


  Oath Keepers military veterans stand guard on a snowy Thanksgiving Eve

The closest our security team came to actually having to use force was on Thanksgiving night when Nebraska Marine veteran Nick Nesbitt spotted several men accosting a lone female, who began to yell in distress as one of the men grabbed her.   Nick put his bright light on them and told the man to take his hands off the woman “NOW!” and the man let go of her, grabbed her cell-phone, and ran down the street.   Our team let the police know what happened and where the strong-armed robbery suspect had gone, and the police found and arrested him.

Why did we do this? First, because we felt honor bound to defend those who needed defending, and who were being abandoned as sacrificial lambs to the agenda of oath breaking politicians.  It was just the right thing to do.  As local Oath Keepers CPT team leader Sam Andrews stated, “it is about the strong defending the weak.”
As we suspected would happen, Governor Nixon dropped the ball – again – failing to protect the people of Ferguson.  As a scathing St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial put it:
Gov. Jay Nixon, who spent the past two weeks rattling his saber and declaring a state of emergency before there was one, made sure the National Guard was protecting the hell out of the courthouse in Clayton, but left Ferguson to burn.
Our local Oath Keepers could not, in good conscience, just stand by and watch as the city went up in flames.  We at national agreed.  We had to do something.  And Oath Keepers from across the country agreed, and answered the call we put out Monday morning (once we realized what was about to happen for the second time).
 Oath Keeper Nick Nesbitt, a U.S. Marine veteran from Nebraska, watches from a snowy rooftop near the Ferguson Police Department, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. He and a group of volunteers watch and protect local businesses from getting vandalized as protesters gather in the neighborhood.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Second, we did this because we felt compelled to lead by example to show the American people a constitutional answer to civil unrest and violence.  We wanted to show them that they have the power – already in their own hands – the right, and the duty to secure themselves and their communities.   Over and over scheming politicians and their flunkies in both major parties are presenting the American people with a false choice between lawless chaos, violence, looting, and arson on the one hand, and a hyper-militarized, rights-violating police state on the other.

Perversely, the more government bureaucrats and politicians refuse to actually protect the people and their property, the more they insist that they need even more power, and they insist that the people need to give up even more rights.

The more severe the crisis, the more the chaos will be used to justify a ratcheting up of police state power, and it will not end until all of our children have the boot of a totalitarian police state on the back of their necks (and remember, when there is a boot on your neck, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a left boot or a right boot or whether there is a white foot or a black foot inside it.  Police states oppress all).

As we pointed out in our open letter to Governor Nixon, and also in our letter to the people of Ferguson, there are ways to stop looting and arson that are also respectful of the rights of peaceful protesters, and in obedience to our Constitution.  We don’t have to sacrifice liberty to get security, not if We the People do as the Founders intended and stand together in defense of our own communities.   In our Open Letter to the People of Ferguson, we specifically addressed the veterans of Ferguson:
We call on the veterans in your community, in particular, to step up and lead the way to defend the lives and property of their neighbors, and we call on them to form neighborhood watches and patrols to put a stop to acts of violence.  You have the power to police your own neighborhoods, and keep them safe for all.   Black veterans have a proud and noble example to follow, in the Deacons for Defense and Justice, who were World War II and Korean War veterans who stood up to the violence of the Klan, except this time, you must defend against violence by anyone, whether outsiders or locals, of any race, against anyone, of any race.   If you take care of your own neighborhoods, it removes the sense of emergency that is used to justify a heavy police presence.  And that can also have a lasting effect even after the protests are over.  Be your own “police.”
Veterans of Ferguson, you swore the same oath to defend the Constitution that we did when we served.  Like us, you are also still bound by that oath, and that same duty.
When it came to it, we realized we needed to show them how it’s done, by leading by our own example, and by doing so, we are now showing the entire country how it’s  done.  And we are not alone!  Some brave young black men of Ferguson are also stepping up to show what is possible by serving as armed volunteer guards over a local gas station and store owned by a white family.  We wish them all the best, and we will support their effort in any way we can.  We consider them to truly be brothers in arms.
This is what it takes to be secure and free. We salute them!
And This!  Funny how all the buildings that are secure 
seem to have one thing in common…

And This.  All Damn Day.  That’s how long he’ll 
serve it up to looters and arsonists.

We salute our brave volunteers, many of them recent combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who honored their oaths by stepping up here at home to do what was right and decent in Ferguson, and by doing so, showed the American people that the Founding fathers were right when they described a militia made up of the people themselves as being necessary for the security of a free state, because we will be neither secure nor free unless we accept and act on our civic duty to protect our communities.

And that is what this has to do with our oaths to defend the Constitution.   We have a duty to shine the light of liberty and show the way for the rest of the country to follow, back to the Constitution.  Sometimes educational talking and writing is just not enough.  Sometimes protesting is not enough.  Sometimes you need to act to show the way.  And what happened in Ferguson this past week, and what our brave volunteers did (as well as what the young black men did by guarding the Conoco station, and other Ferguson residents who stepped up as well) show exactly what must be done – community organizing for community security and mutual assistance in emergencies – which is the whole point of our Community Preparedness Team (CPT) Program here at Oath Keepers.

We must do this, to be secure and free, and as a vital stepping stone on the way back to a truly revitalized state militia made up of the people themselves, organized, trained, and equipped.  Such a people cannot be terrorized by private or public criminals.  Such a people are free.  Got buddy team?  Got fire team?  Got squad?  Got neighborhood watch?   No?   Then get busy!

The Oath Keepers on the ground (and on the rooftops!) in Ferguson deserve our thanks and gratitude for putting themselves in harms way for others, and spending cold nights (including Thanksgiving) standing watch.

We salute these fine men and women (yes, we had two women serve last night  – an Army veteran combat journalist and her assistant) for standing guard all night while the people they protected slept in peace.  Thanks to our volunteers, Thanksgiving was a day of peace, love, and joy for those residents and small business owners rather than a tragedy of fire and terror, as the arsonists wanted.   God bless them! They do their country proud.

For the Republic,
Stewart Rhodes
Founder and President of Oath Keepers
PS – Watch a news interview with Team Leader Sam Andrews here.
And watch a rooftop interview with John Karriman, here.


[Editor’s Note:  The following was an announcement and call to Oath Keepers by Stewart Rhodes to reinforce the Oath Keepers project in the wake of the police chief’s order to vacate. As Oath Keepers has now finished our work at Ferguson, there is no need for more volunteers to show up there now. But this note by Stewart Rhodes is well worth posting here as it gives more insight into what Oath Keepers is all about.]

Calling all Oath Keepers in or near Missouri, we urgently need you to join us in a protest at:

Natalie’s Cakes & More
100 S Florissant Rd
Ferguson, MO 63135

We are protesting an attempt by the St. Louis County PD Chief of Police Belmar to strip Natalie Dubose and her fellow shop owners in the buildings there on S. Florissant Rd (including tenants in apartments) of their protection against arsonists intent on burning them out. The Chief is trying to use a statute meant to regulate PAID security guards to keep our team of unpaid volunteers from protecting these good people.

Read this, and listen to the recorded interview with Ben Swann TV.

And here is what I have to say about this:

So, the Empire Strikes back!
They are trying to shut us down, but we are fighting back.   I have been fully briefed by the team on the ground and I will do my best to lay it out for you.

One commenter on the Post-Dispatch article asked:
“It’s okay to protest but not okay to protect against protesters?”

I responded with:  Well now, that appears to be the NEW position of the St. Louis County PD Chief Jon Belmar.  Even though this strip mall has had multiple, direct arson threats, the Chief is dead set on removing us from the roofs and leaving those buildings totally undefended and exposed to arson.

Funny how, right after we get some positive, accurate, and fair press coverage, Chief Belmar sends his loyal Lt. to tell us that we are now in violation of the state statute regulating Private Security Officers.  Funny, just the other day, on Thanksgiving, they told our team they were fine, and good to go, and that there was no problem with them being there, and that they DID NOT violate that statute because our guys are unpaid volunteers, and now they do a 180 and say the statute does apply to us, and we cannot be there without a security license.

And, oddly enough, we are the only volunteer security team in the city this is being done to, so far as we know.  The young black men so honorably guarding the Conoco station are not being threatened with arrest.  Neither are the friends of the owners of all of the other many businesses in the area that are, out of necessity guarding businesses.  And our team has seen unlicensed  individuals who desperate shop owners have pulled off the street and hired on the spot to serve as paid security,   And to our knowledge, none of them are being harassed.   Only us.

Early this morning, round 2 am or so, or so, officers showed up at the buildings our team were guarding and told them that they were unlicensed and could not be there without a license.  Our team argued back that they didn’t need a license because they were unpaid volunteers.  They argued back and forth for over an hour, with the Lt. also demanding their ID, and our guys telling him that he had no probable cause that they had committed any crime and so they refused to give their ID.  Many of the rank and file cops looked clearly uncomfortable with what they were involved in, and some even told our team that they thought it was a bunch of bull, and they wanted us there.  In fact, we have an audio recording of an officer telling one of our men “if it were up to me, I’d have your guys on every roof in the city.”

Our guys were fully prepared to go to jail (and frankly, I feel the same way.  I’m so tired of Alice-in-Wonderland crap that I’m game for a wrongful arrest lawsuit.  I could use the money ;)).   And I know Sam, the local Team Leader feels the same way, but he also correctly realized that if we forced them to arrest our team, our guys would have been removed completely from the picture and completely unable to provide any assistance to the property owners, possibly all weekend, till they could get before a judge and post bail.  And he wanted to have the option of trying to find a way around this obstacle so our guys could be there tonight, so, he made the tactical decision to pack up for the night early in the AM this morning.  I have to respect his judgment on that, as the leader on the ground, on the spot.  So, I won’t be second guessing it, and he probably did make the right call.  I’m just personally done with complying with bullshit, arbitrary, Orwellian nonsense.  I’d rather go to jail, but that’s just me.

Our guys did take their sweet time packing up, so the buildings were left unguarded for a shorter time in the dark.   And they WILL be back tonight.  We are not giving up on these good people and we will do all we can to keep our promise to protect them, one way or another.  So, our guys are indeed going back there tonight as protesters, to hold signs and walk the sidewalk in front of the strip mall, calling Chief Belmar an oath breaking ghoul, and a friend of arsonists.  Clearly, he wants those buildings unprotected.  My sign will say “Chief Belmar “hearts” arsonists.”  Or, “the Chief says ‘burn this bitch down!’”

We knew, going in,  that they would try to pull some kind of bullshit nonsense or another, and we figured it would be something stupid like this, so we will adapt and overcome.  We are working behind the scenes through various channels to put some pressure on the Chief to back off, and we WILL be suing, and I may also file for an injunction or a writ of mandamus, but while we do that, we need your help to try him, and fry him, in the court that really matters – the court of public opinion.  So, all Oath Keepers, please come down and help us protest against this injustice, and the absurd spectacle of a Chief of Police, in the middle of a friggin declared emergency, and the worst rioting and arson since the Watts riots back in the 60s, doing all he can to keep us from stopping looters from burning down these buildings, where people live in apartments above the shops.  It’s absurd, obscene, and criminal.  Imagine the lawsuit if those buildings burn to the ground after the Chief has directly removed their only protection.  But we will be there in one form or another.  Two can play this game.   Let’s see them arrest us for carrying signs outside.

Bottom line is he did not replace our team with his own men.  He wants us out (or to be more accurate, the Obama Admin wants us out and he is their tool of oppression they intend to use to do it). And he doesn’t care if the buildings are all burned to the ground.

So, overload the Chief and the Governor with calls, emails, and protest signs, telling them what you think of someone who would remove the most effective example of a secured block of buildings in the city – where we have been completely successful, and abundantly competent, at doing it right, by preventing arson and vandalism while not violating anyone’s rights. That is an example of good, of just, of Constitutional and liberty respecting, sane methodology that “they” just cannot suffer to exist side-by-side with their gross incompetence (at best) and willful, intentional, criminal endangerment and artificial crisis at worst.  I consider the Chief to be a terrorist, or at least an accessory and supporter of terrorism since he is aiding and abbetting the arsonists who have ALREADY told our team that they will be back to burn those buildings to the ground.

I am flying there by Monday morning at the latest.  If you are an Oath Keeper, I urge you to join me on the sidewalk outside of Natalie’s Cakes and More to support her right, along with the other tenants, to associate with fellow Americans who simply want to help her keep her shop from being burned to the ground by horrible terrorists.  And her right to not have to worry about her own Chief of police doing all he can to prevent that protection, with a callous, brutal disregard for her safety and property, or the lives of the tenants who live in the apartments above the shops.  What kind of a Chief of police does such a thing?   Even Bull Connor, the infamous oppressor of black people during the battle for civil rights, did not conspire to see them burned to death.  Let’s fight fire, with fire, and use one of their own favorite tactics against them – ridicule.  The Chief makes it easy.   He is like a hall monitor telling a kid he needs a hall pass to leave a classroom in the middle of a fire, arguing about it till the burning building collapses around them, all because the devil on his shoulder says so.  Burn that bitch down!  The devil says.  Okeydokey, says the Chief!

Let’s dance with the devil gents.  If you can get there, get there ASAP and help us shine light on this cockroach nest of corruption and oath breaking and use it to show the people what it is “they” fear most – people coming together to help protect each other, and the strong standing up to protect the weak.  No terrorist, no arsonist, no looter is dangerous to their power, but that simple idea of human decency combined with courage is DEADLY to their power.

Love conquers hate, and the true source of all courage is love – love of the man to the left and the right of you, and love of your fellow Americans that causes you to set aside your concern for yourself, to fight through your fear, and step up, into harms way, for a friend.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 KJV

And that is what they know is our greatest strength and their greatest weakness.  All they have is fear, but love conquers all, and they know it.   Step through your fear and think of all who came before us, and walk in love – love of your country, love of your family, love of your brothers in arms, and love of liberty.

I’ll see you on Florissant Rd.
 Oath Keeper Nick Nesbitt and Natalie Dubose


As you may well be aware, Oath Keepers in Ferguson, MO, are protecting some stores. One of those stores is Natalie’s Cakes & More. Above is a picture of Natalie, thanking one of the Oath Keepers, Nick Nesbitt. Good job Nick, Sam and everyone involved.

She says on her Facebook page:

“Thank you to the guys and gals like this wonderful man, protecting me and my bakery.”

We at Oath Keepers are pleased to help you, Natalie, and your neighbors. We thank you for being a good community member. Your Facebook page tells us you are a fine example of a neighborhood business. Keep up the good work.

And a big thank you to those Oath Keepers who have risked their lives defending those people and stores. You are real Patriots and good citizens.

Here is a link to: Our Legal Counsel’s Letter To St. Louis Chief Of Police Belmar, in response to their unlawful order.

Oath Keepers volunteers continue to guard Ferguson businesses and we have retained two patriotic St. Louis, Missouri lawyers from the firm of Hearne & Bendick to represent us in our defiance of, and legal challenge to, the St. Louis Police Chief’s unlawful order asserting that we cannot guard Ferguson residents and businesses against arsonists without a “security officer” permit.

Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers Founder and President

1 comment:

Tim said...

This should help to quell nasty rumors. Proud to be an Oath Keeper!