What’s The Buzz?
Everyone has something to say about Ferguson, Missouri’s monumental moment of madness. The wire services, the channels, the stations, the headlines, the Internet, the workplace – all are abuzz with Ferguson. But is the buzz contradicted by the truth?
That is not a good question, because the buzz is coming from all sides, from all points of view, from all political powerhouses. All sides are buzzing as loudly as they can. The truth will end up supporting some of the buzz, and eliminating other parts of the buzz.
Oath Keepers finds that as of August 21, 2014, there is not enough information assembled to know whether justice shall point its wabbling finger at Officer Wilson or at Mr. Brown. Oath Keepers has no position on that question at this time.
Our focus at Oath Keepers national is on the deployment of police assets and a wee little problem about a stand-down order from above in the chain of command which caused the police to ignore the looters whilst firing non-lethal bullets and gas canisters at innocent protestors. And, we might add, there is this tiny little problem about trotting out the militarized assets of police-state equipment against citizens who were demonstrating peacefully.
One of the problems with this has to do with the conveyance of the perception of the police as military units prepared, and perhaps eager, to do some serious combat – but not with the looters. No, the looters were left to their wiles while the peaceful demonstrators/protestors were targeted by armored police of various sorts. Oath Keepers has now learned that the police were told that instead of arresting the looters, they should stand to in military-style formations and focus on the demonstrators and journalists and photographers. That was a mistake so far as winning the hearts and minds of the demonstrators and the media. It was a mistaken application of police assets which was developed during the anti-war and civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s. Here is how one of our Oath Keepers on the ground there put it –
The previous focus on peaceful protesters with lines of policemen equipped in riot gear, in fundamentally static positions, are being thwarted by modern looters and thugs with cell phones and team work. One active sergeant told us, “I don’t want my guys stationary, they just become targets for the thugs throwing bricks and taking pot shots at us with their pistols”. The analysts in our group take this kind of reporting very seriously. The local police are equipped to handle the current situation, but only if a paradigm shift in strategy and tactics can be made. The leadership, Gov. Nixon and down the chain of command must make the changes before the whole city of Ferguson turns into a burned out war zone, more businesses are destroyed, and more lives are lost forever. One retired Green Beret in our group suggested that instead of grouping our officers in large blocks (50 to 100 men), that Nixon must order a specific change in tactics. Break up these groups into rapid reaction teams of 20 to 25 officers and hide them, staging them in places spread around Ferguson. Our intel guy concurred, and added that the younger minority officers should be in street clothes to blend in and work as Scouts, identifying threats and looters. The Scouts should be directing the rapid reaction teams to protect the businesses from the ongoing crime, and refocus the police resources away from unconstitutional activities like shooting OC gas at peaceful protesters. They should get to the business of putting the criminals behind bars. With hundreds if not thousands of criminals stealing the businesses of Ferguson blind, how many arrests have been effected? The percentage is embarrassing, not enough. The Highway Patrol’s tactics did not work, and it is time to admit it. Bringing the National Guard in for force protection secures the Command Location, but what about all the other locations where people’s lives are being destroyed? The National Guard is not the answer when the number of civilian arrests that need to be made, beg for an increase of 1000 percent. Officers should be focused on looters, not bullying the media in McDonalds. We need officers to put criminals in jail, not shoot tear gas at reporters too stupid to not shine lights in the officers eyes while they are trying to work. We need a Governor smart enough to reject the riot control tactics developed before cell phones that are now failing catastrophically, and smart enough to not disable the internet and violate our rights and freedoms. We need a Governor to show enough wisdom and to lead our state by the Constitution rather than against it with ineffective abuses like curfews. Governor Nixon should be wise enough to defeat the criminals without taking our rights and freedoms, and to change failing tactics and demand from police that they discern between peaceful protesters and looting thugs.
(end paraphrased message from Missouri Oath Keepers)
Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers founder, is composing a letter to the Governor of Missouri right now (August 21, 2014). That letter will point out the above quoted passage by our men at Ferguson, among other vital points which could, providing the Governor will have his police community leadership consider objectively the conclusions drawn by veteran cops and combat Veterans of military service who as Oath Keepers on the scene have offered similar critiques, be greatly beneficial in healing the community wounds – and also in healing community perceptions of their police and the government’s police power in general.
Yes, Oath Keepers from the Missouri chapter are on the scene and are talking consensus for the benefit of the police and the people equally.
This is still America. The public’s perception of the police should never be promoted by outdated tactics of deployment to quell protest/demonstration. The police should not be militarized in logistics or in attitudes. The people are not an “enemy”. Police should not make war on the people. Crowds of citizens are not “enemy combatants”. As our people on the ground there advise our national Board, better tactical deployment of assets could have saved much damage while protecting the people’s right of peaceful assembly.Police departments everywhere should take note of the flaws in execution of security measures from the Governor and throughout the chain of command. And nothing “federal” should be a part of smart tactical deployment on U.S. soil.
Here is how one outstanding Marine put it:
Be it known: Oath Keepers opposes the militarization of our police. I will update as time permits. Stewart Rhodes’ letter to the Governor of Missouri will also be published at our website and emailed to all members and supporters on our national list.
Elias Alias, editor