Since the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, there has been a resurgence of protests and conflict between civilians and police. Though worrying, it’s hardly surprising. What is surprising is who joined the protests last night: Oath Keepers.
Oath Keepers is an organization of current and former military, police, and first responders who see it as their duty to uphold their oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” even if those in positions of political or military authority order them to do otherwise.
The Oath Keepers’ website outlines a list of 10 “Orders” members will not obey — including orders to disarm the American people, conduct warrantless searches or “blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.”
Included on the list are two which might have particular resonance in Ferguson. The fourth? “We will NOT obey order to impose martial law or a ‘state of emergency’ on a state.”
And the final item: “We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.”
While the Oath Keepers organization has not made any official statement on its members’ participation in the protests, opposing the escalation of force seen in Ferguson does seem consistent with the ideals of the organization.
It’s unclear at this point what role Oath Keepers will play in the conflict in Ferguson. Also unclear is whether they have violated any laws by openly carrying semi-automatic rifles.
What are your thoughts? Are the Oath Keepers right to join the protests? Let us know in the comments.