Heroes: Oath Keepers Come To The Rescue In Ferguson
by Renee Nal
I feel a lot better having those guys up on the roof.” – Ferguson resident Greg Hildebrand
“Historically, the government almost always fails to protect people.” – Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers
Despite a militarized police force and an unfulfilled promise of National Guard protection in Ferguson, dozens of businesses were vandalized and many were even burnt to the ground, as reported at Broadside News. The riots inevitably ensued after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, who was killed after a scuffle with a police officer, but not because he was a black American.
The Oath Keepers have taken it upon themselves to protect the residents and the peaceful protesters of Ferguson, who have been living in fear as they see their neighborhood crumbling around them. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported in a must-read article on Saturday that “volunteers affiliated with a 35,000-member national organization called Oath Keepers” are maintaining a presence in Ferguson.
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.
“Victor Clark, a dentist at Ferguson Dental on South Florissant Road, said he was happy to have their free assistance. He wants to reopen soon. On Monday, rioters shattered the front door and window, stole dental needles and anesthetic.
Then Oath Keepers showed up out of the blue. “We gave them our keys,” he said. “We didn’t know that much about them, but we got a feeling of trust. You have to do something to protect our building.”
Commenting on the article at oathkeepers.org, Stewart Rhodes thanked author Jesse Bogan, who, he said “deserves our thanks and gratitude for reporting fairly and accurately, which is, sadly, such a rarity among mainstream media that have covered us.” ,