Who Are the Oath Keepers?

I've been hearing about this group for a number of years now.
It was interesting to see how Police Magazine handled the topic and I think they did a good job.
If they practice what they preach, I'm all for them.
This article garnered a lot of comments - which I always recommend reading, especially paying attention to the kind of attitudes shared by the gun toting, badge wielders you are likely to interact with.


Who Are the Oath Keepers?

Painted as radicals and racists by some, this organization of law enforcement officers and military vets says its only purpose is to uphold the Constitution.

April 04, 2013  |  by Dean Scoville

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.
It started with Katrina. The sight of U.S. military troops, law enforcement officers, and armed government contractors seizing firearms from citizens in the aftermath of that terrible storm shocked the conscience of Yale constitutional law scholar Stewart Rhodes. That these actions were later recognized as wrong by the U.S. Supreme Court did little to assuage Rhodes' concerns. The fact remained that an illegal precedent had taken place, and could well occur again; indeed, it appeared that that the seeds sown in Louisiana might not only take root, but germinate elsewhere, as well.
After witnessing what he saw as an unconstitutional outrage in the wake of Katrina, Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers, an organization for peace officers and soldiers who adhere strictly to the letter of the Constitution and swear not to obey any orders that they believe to be unconstitutional.
The Oath Keepers are essentially a reflection of American political thought in the 21st century. How they are perceived is determined by the ideological bent of the beholder. Lionized by some leading conservatives and libertarians, they have been attacked from the left as radical patriots, tea partyers, birthers, 9/11 truthers, nativists, and racists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has even mentioned them in the same reports that analyze hate groups and white supremacy movements.
Defending History
Oath Keeper founder and president Rhodes says his organization merely stands for a strict interpretation of the Bill of Rights, which service members and law enforcement officers swear to uphold. He also believes one of the primary purposes for his organization is to educate officers and military personnel about the laws they've promised to defend.
Rhodes' perspective is that the officers' actions after Katrina and other unconstitutional excesses by officers are a matter of ignorance at work. Whether it is institutionalized or willed ignorance is immaterial, he says.
"An honorable man who is doing his very best necessarily becomes knowledgeable," Rhodes observes. "Because if you don't know what's right or wrong, you can be an honest person with great integrity and courage and still do the wrong thing."
According to Rhodes, the Oath Keepers' mission is simply to get back to basics—to ensure that at least part of the country's constituency knows and understands the Constitution and its ideological underpinnings to a sufficient degree that they refrain from violating its tenets out of ignorance, apathy, or fear of political reprisal.
"It's not about finding like-minded officers," says the former Yale history instructor and public defender. "It's about creating people who are knowledgeable about the Constitution. What we're trying to do is cure the dumbing down Americans have gotten from the schools. They're not taught history and they're not taught the Constitution. I can't tell you how many times I've talked to rank and file military officers who haven't read the Constitution. Police officers, too. Have they read the Federalist Papers? The writings of the Founders? It's very rare. That's what we're trying to do: Simply show the intentional ignorance of the American population."
Rhodes—whose 2004 Yale Law School paper, "Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status," won the school's award for best paper on the Bill of Rights—says the root of the problem lies within our country's basic curricula. But he also believes there is a silver lining to be found in addressing this deficiency: It's easier when the person reading the Bill of Rights isn't approaching it with notions instilled in them by revisionists.
Tip of the Spear
Rhodes, a disabled Army paratrooper, determined very quickly that he wanted his grassroots organization to work with the men and women serving in the trenches of law enforcement and the military. "We focus on the guys at the tip of the spear, the ones who will be giving the orders," Rhodes says. "The big concern we have is if we have a legion of oath breakers and traitors in Washington, D.C., who have utter contempt for the Constitution then all they care about is power. They just do whatever they think they can get away with."
Rhodes quickly gained the attention of like-minded officers. "In late 2008 I heard on the Internet about the group forming, so I e-mailed Stewart to get more information," says Oath Keeper board member and law enforcement officer John Shirley. "Shortly after that, I had a conference call with him and some other founding members and discovered the group was exactly the kind of organization I had felt was needed for several years."
Shirley got involved and was soon asked to serve as the Texas Chapter's vice president. Less than a year after joining the organization, Shirley addressed a 5,000-member strong Tea Party rally in San Antonio with a speech that was to become a model for future Oath Keepers calls to arms. By July 2010, Shirley was appointed Texas Chapter President and later National Peace Officer Liaison, and he now serves on the organization's board of directors.
Patriot Movement
Since the birth of the organization, Oath Keepers' members have found themselves subject to all manner of suspicion and labeling, and repeated criticism by the anti-Klan Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which cites the Oath Keepers as "a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival." Responding to the SPLC report on the Lou Dobbs radio show, Rhodes said, "They think the word 'patriot' is a smear."
The intent of the SPLC and other critics like the Anti-Defamation League is to characterize the Oath Keepers as a bunch of Timothy McVeigh wannabes. And unfortunately for those who defend the group, there are some fringe elements that are not so much pro-Bill of Rights as anti-government. One Oath Keeper, a former naval officer, actually participated in a plot to take over a Tennessee courthouse to free a man who was arrested for trying to enforce a citizen's arrest on a judicial official who refused to investigate President Barack Obama's citizenship. There are also elements in the group's "Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey" that smack to some of black helicopter globalist paranoia. Rhodes says the list doesn't mean the Oath Keepers believe all of these actions are imminent, merely that they will refuse to participate in them should they happen.
Perhaps the criticism that makes Rhodes bristle most is any insinuation that Oath Keepers promote white supremacy. Opining on the Oath Keepers, a visitor to the SPLC Website asserted that its members  are "nothing but the Ku Klux Klan with a new name and without the silly robes and pointed caps." Oath Keepers refutes such charges formally as evidenced by its bylaws and informally by the demographic of its membership. Rhodes himself says he is one-quarter Mexican and part Apache.
Freedom of Speech
Rhodes also laments that Oath Keepers has borne the brunt of attacks from Democrats simply because that party currently occupies the White House. "That is the unfortunate reality of our political system,"  he notes. "When your party is in political power and anybody criticizes them, you attack." The mission of Oath Keepers crosses political boundaries, he says. "I support the Constitution. I don't like oath breakers, whether they're Republicans or Democrats."
While the organization's stance on the Second Amendment has garnered the lion's share of media-related attention revolving around the Oath Keepers, it is another amendment that looms ever larger as a barrier against the organization communicating its message.
Many active law enforcement officers find their First Amendment rights cramped by their employing agencies. In some cases, such suppression is due to strict departmental regulations barring officers from voicing personal opinions about law enforcement in public forums, whether printed in newspapers and magazines or posted online in social media. In other cases, the lack of a clear policy may lead officers to err on the side of self-suppression. In either instance, many officers are fearful to stand up and openly voice their opinions.
Because of the restrictive policies of many law enforcement agencies, Shirley finds it difficult to believe that "there are officers out there who are working the streets, fighting crime, protecting the public who, when they hang up the uniform at night, can't exercise their basic rights under the First Amendment."
As an active duty police officer with the Houston Police Department, Shirley clearly and repeatedly states that when he advocates for Oath Keepers, he does so as a private citizen and not as a representative of his department. In doing so, he is careful to act within the department's policy.
In Shirley's estimation, "Just because you wear a badge doesn't mean you surrender your First Amendment rights. I look at it like departments should not try to squash the First Amendment rights of their officers and step all over the fact that because they happen to carry a badge doesn't mean you hang up your constitutional rights so you retire. That's a very unethical and a very dangerous place to go for an agency."
Eroding Rights
In recent months, the Oath Keepers have argued against what they say are new and alarming overtures by the Obama administration. While the need for greater intelligence sharing between law enforcement and military parties is a legitimate one, the melding of their responsibilities through interventionary operations relating to homeland security and narcotic investigations further elevates Rhodes' concerns.
High on the Oath Keepers' list of concerns is Eric Holder's stumping for the usage of drones on domestic targets and the drumbeat for gun confiscation among some liberal political camps.
"They don't understand that they are putting police officers on a collision course with veterans and gun owners in their communities," notes Shirley. "The Oath Keepers' message for both sides is to not to bleed for corrupt politicians. That means that police officers have to refuse to use force."
The Oath Keepers believe that what they see as the transgressions against the Constitution committed under both Bush's and Obama's watch will encourage Americans to educate themselves as to the true breadth of their rights and to re-examine their society.
"Educate yourself," advises Shirley. "The main impetus of the education you got in whatever police academy you've been through has been liability control for whatever agency you work for. Educate yourself on the Constitution. Educate yourself on the founders. Educate yourself on what is expected of you on the street vs. what the Constitution says. If you apply what the Constitution says, you're not going to get crossways with the people or in most cases your department. It's errant policies and errant oath breakers and politicians who are going to push you to do things that you've never done before. Trust your gut and educate yourself on what you really swore to that day you held your hand up and swore an oath. Be prepared to stand up for what you believe in and what you swore an oath to."
Rhodes and Shirley are reaching out to active law enforcement officers to help spread the word and renew their oaths to uphold the ideals within the Constitution.
"One guy at the right place at the right time can make all the difference for an entire unit," says Rhodes. "It's nice to have police officers use their quiet discretion and make it known within their communities that they are on your side. But it's also critically important for the tip of the iceberg to be there too. There are very vocal and very public peace officers who step up and risk their careers like John [Shirley] is doing to say there are people among us who understand the Constitution and will not do this."
In the meantime, Rhodes sees the organization as a means of preventing confrontations and de-escalating situations both through finding common ground with less predictable sources and mitigating the prospects for needlessly precipitous actions by law enforcement administrators.
"It helps the people feel more secure," explains Rhodes. "Because what other securities do they have? If they can't rely on the politicians to not trample on their rights in the first place, and they can't rely on the judges to fix it, they have to have some reliance that the police officers are not going to do it."

10 Orders Oath Keepers Swear to Disobey
  1. We will not obey any order to disarm the American people.
  2. We will not obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects—such as warrantless house-to-house searches for weapons or persons.
  3. We will not obey any order to detain American citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" or to subject them to trial by military tribunals.
  4. We will not obey orders to impose martial law or a "state of emergency" on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state's legislature and governor.
  5. We will not obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.
  6. We will not obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  7. We will not obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
  8. We will not obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to "keep the peace" or to "maintain control" during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.
  9. We will not obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext.
  10. 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.

Comments (42)

Ima Leprechaun @ 4/4/2013 2:11 AM
If you are going to swear an oath to your State Constitution and the U.S. Consitution you must first read the entire U.S. Constitution from the Preamble through the Articles and all the Amendments. The US Constitution keeps with the "reasonable man" principle meaning that if your conduct is legal and reasonable then the Constitution will back you up. But if you never bother to read it, then how do you know what it says and how can you swear an oath to it? So read the entire U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights for yourself and never take the word of a lobbyist like the NRA as to what they think it says because they are completely wrong. Read it for yourself and follow all of the U.S. Constitution not just the parts you agree with. Any illegal orders given by a supervisor you are not required to follow by law. All legal orders must be obeyed whether you agree with them or not but only by reading the entire U. S. CONSTITUTION will you know the difference between an illegal or legal order. Order number 1 in the list above is an illegal order because it is so vague. Order number 10 is also too vague since many protests become violent quickly and have to be monitored to keep the peace for everyone. To blindly obey any list is to enlist disaster. Read the Constitution for yourself because that is your standard bearer that you took an oath to protect and defend.
Jon @ 4/4/2013 4:17 AM
Ima Leprechaun is really a troll. He needs to go read the Constitution himself - after he learns English well enough to understand it. Until then, go back and hide under your bridge like a good little troll...
Hefe @ 4/4/2013 6:42 AM
Ima Leprechaun is totally wrong. The NRA characterizes the Second Amendment in much the same way as a majority of US Supreme Court justices do, and consistent with recent SCOTUS opinions on the subject. NRA has always held these beliefs, borne of deep study of the historical facts. The Left insists on ignoring inconvenient facts and trying to rewrite history. Thank God it isn't working. Leprechausn is EXACTLY the kind of nascent traitor the Oath Keepers are concerned about--a power-loving thug with a gun, badge and radio system. It was the same in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and we MUST prevent America from getting to that point politically.
Raymond Shurtz @ 4/4/2013 10:48 AM
I learned a lot reading this article! Thanks again, Dean, for a well rendered, very literate article. Although I've read the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, etc, and did study it in High School, I didn't memorize them as I don't think most people have. I think there are jobs, like in law enforcement, where it would be advantageous to be very familiar with the both documents, I think the majority of the American people do still trust, (somewhat) that the country is not suddenly going to run amok with peoples' guns being confiscated and that cities will suddenly be blockaded--I just choose not to believe that way. I think part of the problem lies (as it does with religion) as to the interpretation of said documents. I remember in my college theology class, we were taught the principles of interpretation as the literal, the symbolic, and the mystical. I suppose the 'mystical' is interpreted as such by the Supreme Court, and I will allow them to do this for me. I'll stop here, keep it simple, just want to state that there are some mystics out there, who choose not to interpret hell as a hot place of eternal suffering that smells exactly like sulpher, and that perhaps, doctrine can be interpreted as to suit and fit the time in which we live. As for Hefe, I could say the exact same thing in regard to the 'right' and the rewriting of history. As always, there is your version of what happened, my version of what happened, and the truth, and the truth considers as much to left as it does to the right. Great article, Dean, except I don't see much allowance for 'freedom of speech' here, without once again name calling and self-righteousness, which doesn't move anything forward. Just one mans's opinion. Traitor? I don't thinks so...
Anonymous @ 4/4/2013 10:13 PM
Ima Leprachaun is a good example of what a lot of normal citizens like myself think of cops and why we fear them. He hates the NRA because he hates the idea of normal citizens having the right to bear arms and the ability to defend themselves. Thank God for the Oath Keepers and I hope that they continue to grow.
Ima Leprechaun @ 4/5/2013 5:03 PM
Define "normal". Jeffery Dalhmer may not see what you consider to be normal based upon your ideal of the word or perhaps he would. I don't hate the NRA actually I have no interest in the NRA, I just want Law Enforcement Officers to actually read the State and Federal Constitution that they swore an oath to protect and defend, why is that so hard? Normal seems so subjective to me. But I do know there are quite a few bloggers here that are not really in Law Enforcement.
Jess Bernstein @ 4/7/2013 4:38 PM
Support your local sheriff who remains true to their constitutional oaths. Here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we have a great one in Sheriff Clark. We also have a lousy police chief for the city of Milwaukee, who violates citizens rights concerning open carry. Support Good police who don't mind cameras and expose corrupt ones. Are you oath keepers? Or oath breakers. If there is a G-d, then remember who has the big camera.
Just a thought.
Jess Bernstein @ 4/7/2013 4:42 PM
I still don't understand the need for a concealed permit with the second amendment...what’s the difference between open carry and concealed? they know what you have or they don't. You don't need a permit to open carry, so why do we need one for concealed carry?
And it’s funny, a permit by its very name grants a privilege where a right exists already. The state will grant you permission, will permit you to carry??
Now people are starting to see... ask yourselves, why was the bill of rights written in simple language by such brilliant people? So, that there should be no misunderstanding in their intent. And that was so that the rights of the people shall not be infringed, without cause and due process.
just some thoughts.

please feel free to respond.
John Wesley Nobles @ 4/8/2013 2:21 PM
Every man or woman in this country should be an Oath Keeper. For those of us that have lost our fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and children we will not allow their sacrifice to be in vain. Supporting our constitution is the very reason we have freedom. Supporting our constitution meant making the ultimate sacrifice by hundreds of thousands of our patriot countrymen, we must never forget we share that same duty. We know that freedom has never been free. Every American Citizen should be an Oath Keeper.
Phil @ 4/9/2013 12:03 PM
Every badge carrier out there took an oath like the one that I did when you started your career. I swore to support and defend the Constitution not someone's political agenda. I do not support radicalism but with what is happening out there today in CT and other states, the public is being pushed around unconstitutionally and this could cause a huge rift between the law enforcers and the law abiding who get fed up with unwarranted laws that challenge their freedoms. A few out of control wackcos should not cause punishment on the law abiding citizens of this country. I know for most of us following orders are part of the job and what we do but I pray that our leaders follow their heart and their oath when issuing those orders.
" I, ___________________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
jon @ 4/9/2013 6:13 PM
Ima Leprechaun should change his name to, Imajackass...

Who's side are you on anyway?? Are you a peace officer?? Than stick to your OATH.

The Law is being perverted by liberals. Thats why Oath Keepers were created, because they saw that something was wrong with these UnConstitutional acts and the direction these liberals were taking the country in.

Being that "Ima" Criminal Justice graduate, let me educate you about Policing & Law. In case you didn't know...

Law should be used for nothing less than a universal administration of JUSTICE. LAW IS JUSTICE. It is the purpose of the law to PREVENT injustice from reigning. Not the other way around.

Justice is achieved ONLY when injustice IS ABSENT.

What was witnessed during Katrina, with the door to door gun confiscation, was criminal. Period.

MLK once said:

"InJustice anywhere, is InJustice everywhere"...

Morning Eagle @ 4/9/2013 7:45 PM
Thanks Dean. Finally, here is a fair and more objective assessment of the true purpose of the Oath Keepers organization. Most of what the media puts out about them is just reiterating the intentional misconceptions the SPLC and other left-wing liberals spew out about them or anyone else that supports the Constitution and Bill of Rights or objects to the methods being employed by too many government agencies today. As a former law enforcement officer and retired U.S. Army Veteran I was immediately attracted by OK the first year they were formed and joined them. When I suggested to others that they check them out I found that some were hesitant because they had “heard” that it was a conglomeration of subversives and extremists who advocated opening fire on law enforcement officers. Nothing could be farther from the truth and I greatly admire the efforts and dedication of Officer J. Shirley and many others to educate other officers, members of the military, and the general public on the meaning of the oath we all took.
ScotcopsUSA @ 4/9/2013 9:04 PM
I am a proud Oath Keeper, and have been for many years.

Jess, IMHO permits are required now because too many hand wringing irrationally fearful people decided that the mere presence of a firearm somehow breeds violence. Instead of being able to openly carry a firearm, as guaranteed by the Constitution, you now have to prove to the government you deserve the privilege of exercising your rights. Some state “public safety” or “public order” as the reasons for needing the permits, some claim you needlessly “alarm and panic” the sheeple who view guns as bad or evil, and some just plain want to keep you from having something they are too afraid to own themselves. Hence if they think it is bad for you, you must be too dumb to realize it yourself, so they will just have to take it away before you hurt yourself or someone else.

Wow that sounds a lot like communism, fascism and socialism to me, not a democracy of, by and for the people. I guess that is why the Founding fathers had the foresight to explicitly enumerate our rights as citizens of this country in the Constitution and Bill of rights.
Jim A @ 4/9/2013 11:30 PM
Reading the Constitution does not mean that we will be able to interpret the Constitution. The Supreme Court can't even seem to agree on what is says. The normal man, or even normal police officer cannot begin to understand the ins and outs and the changes that occur in the interpretation every day. And that interpretation is swinging to the far left, if you know what I mean.

Ima Leprechaun obviously understands the "to the left" comment.

But Jess, I also agree with you. The language seems clear to me. I am not sure why there is so much confusion on some issues (Second Amendment) but I understand why the line is blurred in other areas. But suddenly, the law-breakers seem to have more rights than the honest citizen who sits at home and shakes in their boots, afraid they will be harmed in some way by the bad people out there!

Liberalism is killing America. Not necessarily any political party, but everyone is becoming more liberal. Not everything is ok. Not everyone is ok. Some things are wrong, sinful, and illegal. Drugs are bad. Kids need to be led by responsible adults, taught, and corrected. Bad people need to be punished. Some "SICK" people cannot be fixed and ought to be GONE. Some things are worth fighting over. People murder people. We cannot blame it on guns, knives, or baseball bats. It is bad people, sick people, angry people, people with mental health problems. I do not care the reason - just punish it. Draw a line in the sand and say NO.

But I do thank you Ima for creating the discussion issue.

Trigger @ 4/10/2013 5:16 AM
I took my oath when I began my law enforcement career in 1978. I wonder now many of the "Oath Keepers" have actually lived up to their "Oath"? When given a lawful order or directive and you do not agree would you turn in your id and badge? Reading something on a piece of paper is one thing, standing up for your beliefs is something completely different..
AJ @ 4/10/2013 7:33 AM
re: Ima Leprechaun... DNFT (do not feed the troll)

I'm going to attend a local meeting and check it out.
Jim A @ 4/11/2013 2:01 AM
Just a word to the wise. Be very careful of what groups you put your name on. I can imagine that with the ways things are going that attaching your name to this group (even though they may have good intentions - up to your point of view) or any of the other groups around may have negative consequences that we are not thinking of today. Imagine going on vacation and finding your name on a "No-Fly List" because you are seen by the Government as a danger or possible anti-government activist / terrorist! Just a thought.

Also I was reading about the Texas college stabbings (15 at one time). Because of that, I think the Democrats might be proposing new laws putting limitations on steak knives, limiting the length to 3/4 inch (thickness of an average steak), number you can buy, and requiring a background check before you can buy one. We could have a national knife registry by the end of the week?

Liberalism and Hemorrhoids hang out in the same place.

So there are my words for the week. Everyone be safe.
Ripley @ 4/14/2013 6:18 AM
@ Jim A. "Reading the Constitution doesn't mean we can interpret it". Really? Brother, its not written in Swahili. It's written in plain English. And the Supreme Court doesn't possess the only magic decoder ring. If you are a law enforcement officer (or anyone who took an oath), then reading the Constitution should have been part of your to do list. I am glad that Constitutional issues are being talked about. I am also glad that there is an organization that is being a proponent for officers keeping their oaths. It's just sad that organizations like the SPLC apparently look down on organizations that advocate honor and character.
edmarshall1968@yahoo.com @ 4/17/2013 7:31 AM
F Excellent, I have had doubts on elected officers that have read our foundation of this country, combat vet from Nam with total 20 years of service. Read oath hundreds of times soldiers staying on active duty. I am a constitutionist and I do believe there to many folks that just take for granted without study.
Hill, Bill E. @ 4/17/2013 3:10 PM
Excellent article! And I'm glad to see it in this magazine.

To every Peace Officer out there who works and lives within their Sworn Oath, we have your back!

And Thank You for your work.


Oath Keeper, Veteran, Patriot, Constitutionalist, American.
Gerald @ 4/19/2013 1:40 AM
Thank you for this fine article, Dean.
With a little embarrassment, I admit that I hesitated on “pulling the trigger” to join Oath Keepers.
I was concerned about getting on a “Govt. Shxx list.”

Then I thought about the Oath I took when I joined the military and how I had written a blank check to this country payable in an amount up to and including my life. I wasn’t too fearful then. So why now? Was it because I was older and wiser? Was it because I had a family now?
I was given a piece of paper years ago and on it was the historical accounts of the prices the signers of the Declaration of Independence paid for using their discretion and daring to stand up for what was right, even though “The Crown” had declared it illegal.
The checks those men cashed to give us our great nation can never be repaid, nor can all the countless ones cashed since then for us to keep it. They were both young and old and most of them had families.

So, I felt kind of cowardly, for being afraid of merely just getting on someone’s list.

After thinking about what countless men and women before me had sacrificed, suddenly just being on someone’s “list” or being called names or even losing my job, didn’t seem like too big a price to pay for doing the right thing compared to the prices paid by others that allowed me to call myself an American.

The founders didn’t have a constitution to protect them back then. We do, all we need to do is learn it and follow it! We don’t need to fight again.

Needless to say, once I figured all this out for myself, I clicked the “Join” button on the website right away. But I am still embarrassed that it took me a couple of days to figure it out. Bottom line is that every man or woman must decide for themselves what their “line in the sand” is and then take the appropriate action. Let your conscience be your guide.

I enjoyed this article and comments thus far. Thank you, my brothers and sisters for your service and for doing what is right.
David Wright @ 4/19/2013 7:10 PM
@ Jim A>> Attaching your name to this 'group' means you take the Oath that it took to wear that uniform and badge seriously. It means you will protect the Constitution against all enemies. There is a process in place that amends the Constitution and this 'group' believes in, and will protect that process as well.

SCOTUS has held that:

To be that statutes which would deprive a citizen of the rights of person or property without a regular trial, according to the course and usage of common law, would not be the law of the land. Hoke vs. Henderson,15, N.C.15, 25 AM Dec 677.

All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void, Chief Justice Marshall, Marbury vs. Madison, 5, U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 174, 176, (1803).

The United States Supreme Court stated further that all rights and safeguards contained in the first eight amendments to the federal constitution are equally applicable in every State criminal action, "because a denial of them would be a denial of due process of law." William Malloy vs. Patrick J. Jogan, 378 U.S. 1, 84 S. Ct. 1489, argued Mar 5, 1964, decided June 15, 1964.

We find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another. Simmons vs. U.S. 390, U.S. 389 (1968).

This "group" happens to agree.
David Wright Jr.
Florida Oath keeper
Brevard Chapter
Ken Fruit @ 4/20/2013 8:21 AM
David put it in very clear, concise terms. I am not just saying that because he is a fellow Oath Keeper. I'm saying that because it is the simple truth.
There is so much literature available outside the actual Articles of the Constitution for the United States, written by several members of the generation that founded this nation; literature which succinctly renders their EXACT thoughts on why the 2nd Amendment, and indeed many other amendments were proposed, added and ratified as part of our nation's governmental charter.
In the simplest terms, the 2nd Amendment exists as a final statement of natural rights the citizens and lawful resident aliens in the U.S. have. A right is NOT a privilege. It exists beyond the will of individuals, groups, governments, indeed even beyond religious or spiritual commands and beliefs. The sole requirement for a person to have such rights is that person be alive. That's it.
Someone mentioned above that "these liberals" are responsible for abridging rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Anyone with eyes to see can tell this isn't a left-right issue. BOTH major political parties, through many of their candidates elected to office, have been responsible for the erosion of civil liberty in the U.S.
Fear bordering on paranoia is the largest, loudest excuse. Once upon a time, this nation and her people were not afraid. America has done extraordinary things, not because of some crazy idea of exceptionalism, but because America's PRINCIPLE IDEALS are extraordinary. The founders were simply people. They became heroic forgers of a new nation because of their unwavering dedication to principles, to duty, honor, and to their sworn oaths.

Kenneth Fruit
Florida Oath Keeper
Broward Chapter
Dave Dube @ 4/24/2013 5:04 PM
I killed my TV many years ago and divorced myself from social interaction - until two months ago. My son drug me to a 2ndA rally in front of our State Capitol building. I met a young National Guardsman that iinvited veterans and LEOs to renew their Oath. Which I did. I then began looking into Oathkeepers as an organization. I believe LEOs, particularly publicly educated younger men, are unfamiliar with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights through no fault of their own. I spent 4 years in the Navy, one of which I spent as a Marine in South Vietnam. As I remember what I came home to find was a Progressively Liberal generation of young people who disdained authority, particularly police. As I remember it, they were called 'PIGS'. I could never understand it. I still don't. But I see no attitude like that in this day and age. There are 'bad people' in every career path I can think of, and I have spent at least twenty years with an organization that had men who wore a firearm as part of their uniform. There were 'bad' men in that career path as well. As a Computer Security specialist, I know this to be a fact. I respect ANY man who does his duty, and I expect every man who chooses a career in Law Enforcement. I was reluctant to join the Oath Keepers because of the 'bad' publicity. I've spoken face-to-face with a number of members. I AM an Oath Keeper, if in name only. I was invited. I'm reading the Federalist Papers because I didn't read them when I probably should have read them. The principles behind the organization made sense to me. This forum is an excellent place for a little good publicity for the organization.
R.E.Massey @ 4/28/2013 10:20 AM
It's good to see so many honorable Peace Officers discussing their oath to the constitution here. Most of my family have been or are Peace Officers. As a young man of 18 I was admitted to the Missouri Highway Patrol Academy. Perhaps this was my father’s way of getting his son to walk in his footsteps, he was an early member of the OSS in WWII thru the Korean War, then he became an FBI agent working in the covert section investigating the KKK and other organizations that were of a subversive nature back then.
R.E.Massey @ 4/28/2013 10:20 AM
I was all ready to go when I got a phone call from a U.S. Army Colonel who's first statement was "Russell, I would like you to enlist in the United States Army to learn to jump out of airplanes and eat snakes for a living.” That too was most likely was influence by my father, so with the two choices, both vocations bound by an oath to the U.S. Constitution and to serve the citizens of this Republic I chose the Army. That was in 1978 when the Brown Shoe Army was winding down but the type of training that I attended was led by combat Rangers and Special Forces who had received the baptism of fire in South East Asia, (Vietnam War). These men taught us boots to be true to the oaths to the constitution that we had sworn to at the MEPPS station before moving on to boot camp and to always consider the constitutionality of any orders given to us by those appointed above us before carrying out those orders and before that can be done in the split second of time that it would take, we first had to know the constitution and Bill of Rights like we knew the back of our hand, it had to be ingrained in our minds to accomplish this task that we may find ourselves facing because believe me the decision that was made could mean serious repercussions to your person or those around you in the fog of battle. What I am getting here is that today our enlistees in both the criminal justice and military vocations are not getting these types of individuals as their primary train
R.E.Massey @ 4/28/2013 10:26 AM
trainers and if they do have those types of people to lead them and train them, these leaders are often hamstringed and not able to reinforce the principles that can make the difference if and when the issue of constitutional and lawful orders arises. That’s where the Oath Keepers organization comes into the picture. The Oath Keepers are men and women who are non-partisan and strictly educational in respect to the United States Constitution the obligation that was sworn to at the beginning of ones career and the need for men and women already on duty with the life experience on the job to step up to start to educate the younger members of an agency is imperative, a must do for an honorable and ethical individual in an important and serious position of leadership, even if you do not hold a position of leadership it is only logical that a person of honor like most of you are would want to have yourselves surrounded by like minded individuals that you could depend on watching your six and backing you as well as you being able to honestly back them in decisions that you may have not considered yourself. One poster has stated it already, that our young people are not being taught the constitution in the public school system and have not been taught it for some time now. That is why you as leaders of men and women have an obligation if you consider your oath of fealty and support to our constitution as sacrosanct and uncompromising, to teach your charges and fellow officers that the solemn oath that they swore to is probably the most important thing that they have ever done as an adult and citizen to the United States of America. Thank you for your service to our Republic in what ever capacity that you are in and thank you too for staying true to your oath to our constitution and the precepts that it espouses for us to honor and pass along to the next generation of guardians.

Ron Howell @ 4/29/2013 1:43 AM
After reading the comments here on defending our constitution I can't put in words how proud I feel to be an American and how glad I am police, military, firefighters are re examining their oath to office. God bless you, and God bless America!
Mike Chism @ 4/30/2013 6:14 PM
It is of great importance that we ensure everyone who has sworn that Oath, truly understands it's responsibility. I thank this magazine for it's article and the many who commented. I, as other Oath Keepers, try to help bring together those that believe in OUR Republic. Those that are in positions of authority in many ways have the greatest of responsibilities . Once I said to a Friend, "With knowledge comes one's responsibility to control their fears". Mike....For OUR Republic
R.E.Massey @ 5/15/2013 12:22 PM
As a State Forum Moderator and a Georgia State Chapter District Coordinator, I would like to invite you all to the Oath Keepers intuitive, Operation Sleeping Giant at http://operationsleepinggiant.com/. Oath Keepers, founded by Stewart Rhodes, Constitutional Scholar, Lawyer and a Veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division is a non-profit, non-partisan, educational outreach organization with a primary mission to reach out to our guardians in Police Forces, County Sheriffs Offices, Fire Fighters, EMT’s, Paramedics, National Guard Units, Regular Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine personnel to remind and educate these fine Americans who serve our cities, states, counties and nation under their sacred oaths to our United States Constitution that the Constitution must under all circumstances be followed and that they have the duty to disobey illegal orders contrary to the law of the land the United States Constitution. The Oath Keepers organization is made up of Active, retired and honorably discharged members of these local, state, county and federal organizations and citizens that have never taken the oath to the Constitution but believe that it must be upheld and protected are also welcomed to become associates of our organization.
R.E.Massey @ 5/15/2013 12:23 PM
. Operation Sleeping Giant is a way that citizens of our nation can come together in mutual support and defense of each other and support of your local Peace Officers, mainly your county Sheriffs. You see, we as citizens of the United States do not need an all powerful Federal Government to maintain order and protection. In fact the Constitution explicitly gives the Federal Government few and enumerated powers which sadly it has been aloud to grow by our servants in congress and ourselves through non-vigilance of this body of representatives to expand to such a degree that it is now becoming a danger to both our way of life, personal security and frankly becoming tyrannical beyond all comprehension. So I would like to invite all like minded American to visit our web page set up to help you form your own mutual support and security groups in your own local areas and help you weather any and all storms that may befall our great nation in the future. Thank you for your due diligence and Good Luck to you all in your future endeavors in liberty and the American way which has made America so great.
Georgia Region 8
Jim B @ 6/17/2013 10:36 AM
A 45 year business career, 4 military reserve units, and 10 1/2 years as a local elected official. I've been a proud OathKeeper for several years, and I believe OathKeepers and the NRA are the 2 most vital organizations to help maintain our American freedom.
Dennis @ 6/18/2013 8:14 AM
God Bless you Oath Keepers speaking here. Almost all of you understand the concept and are Oath Keepers whether you are a member of the organization or not; by your perspective and your sense of right and wrong. You folks don't need tags but I support the formal organization as well. We are all in this... Maybe not tomorrow or the next day by every subversive communist political movement that has taken over countries always turned on those whom they used to get a foothold. Everyone of them puts their ideology ahead of human beings, it is an historical fact.

If you need guidance about the Constitution look into the Federalist Papers. Here is a site to download a PDF version that you can do searches on.


The Declaration of Independance is mentioned in the Papers as "the declaration", study it as well. This will leave you with little doubt as to what we have and what was intended. This is not Republican or Democrat and it is not political, it is the Law of the Land. You have heard that "ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it" well this is the law. Every power delegated to the government by the People is in here. As Madison said in Paper 45, the powers delegated to the government are "few and defined". Look it up do not take my word on it, I would not take another's on what I have given my oath to defend. We are all brothers and sisters here. When we make the journey, when we face the judgement for the way we have lead our lives before the Master Judge by whatever name you may call, I hope we all can say that we kept our solemn promise to God and our fellow human beings. Thank you for Oath.

Again God Bless you all,

Dennis Jackson

APfromFR @ 6/18/2013 11:41 AM
Did you guy had ever heard of the battle of Athens Tennessee, 1946?
A link to wikipedia about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_%281946%29
This is the illustration of why the second amendment is so important. There will always be politicians who will try to use the laws and the political systems to set up they own power. This is why the Founding Fathers had given the ultimate barrier for freedom in the Bill of Rights.....
Hitler when to power through legal vote using the laws and political system of hes country.
What gave the right the Founding Father to say "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness" and reject the British laws and government. Had they lost, they would have been convicted by British court for rebellion, and all sort of crimes. They would have been shown as criminals and terrorist leaders. Unfortunately, the first thing dictators do when they get the power is purges, they will get rid of all people who won't obey to them blindly. So may God protect and bless people like the "Oath keepers".
De_Oppresso_Liber @ 6/18/2013 4:03 PM
I applaud those that have stood up and re-affirmed their oath and continue to learn the history of the US Constitution. It is a rich history that has it's basis in recognizing every human being's natural rights enumerated as early as Magna Carta. The US Constitution was and is nothing less than a monumental breakthrough in philosophy and governance.

Unfortunately, It has been dismantled and neutralized over a very, very long period of time. So much so that every war since WWII has been illegal, and to the point that every time a LEO puts on his or her uniform most are violating their oath somehow that day. It is a sad state. It's all well and good to affirm your oath, it's something entirely different to uphold it.

Most don't have the courage to put themselves out there; to stop a fellow officer that is beating a suspect into the ground for possession of a plant, or just sitting there; or to protect people's right to buy unpasteurized milk from their neighbor, if they so choose. Instead, the man with the plant dies from massive trauma while a dozen officers stand and watch him scream for help "daddy!"; and the family farm is raided by a federal swat team, their animals destroyed, livelihood lost... Surely, many officers have been in a similar situation, have been compelled to stop the madness, but were simply unable to gather the courage to step forward, across that thin yet expansively vast chasm of a blue line. After all, everyone has family, bills, commitments, and you need that job. Meanwhile, little by little, society is slowly remade into a dystopian scene from Orwell's "1984", or Kafka's "The trial". Secret courts, secret evidence; no need for a jury trial for misdemeanor offenses, thought crime; the Boston bombers surely deserve to be treated like enemy combatants, no need for constitutional protections... and the precious little light of freedom flickers out.
J3 @ 6/18/2013 5:11 PM
Excellent article, and some fine responses that boost my faith in the current crop of LEO / Peace Officers. Our country has seen such a complete inversion of values and morals by the current regime, that a 'rapper' who calls himself 'Li'l Wayne' makes a video of stomping on an American flag and saying vile trash about this nation, and gets defended for his brave exercise of the First Amendment - while a 14 year old kid who wears an NRA T-shirt to school is led off in cuffs, and threatened by a judge with a fine and a year in jail Is it any wonder that people are saying, "No more!" ? The good thing about the Oath Keepers is that we KNOW what they stand for. If I see an Oath Keeper, in uniform or out, I know he will have my back if the SHTF; and he can count on me having HIS back, too, come what may. Semper Fidelis.
B Woodman @ 6/18/2013 7:14 PM
To all those who are concerned about confusion in interpreting the intent of the Constitution, it should always be done to a lowest common denominator that gives the most freedoms to We, The People; and restricts the Gubbment to ONLY those duties ennumerated.
Wynne @ 6/19/2013 7:20 AM
Here's something that's been worrying me for awhile: when stuff hits the fan, the Oathkeepers will be attached to their units; how are we to know the good guys from the bad?
Nous Defions @ 6/19/2013 9:10 AM
@Wynne We will know by their actions.... God Bless the Oathkeepers
Josh @ 6/19/2013 10:04 PM
There is no confusion in the plain language of the Constitution. The only issue is that tyrants wish to bend or break it. This requires them to muddy the waters for those who do not understand its importance. They know perfectly well what it says, what it means today and what our founders meant when they wrote it. Obama was a professor of Constitutional Law, for Heaven's sake!
SMS Morton @ 6/21/2013 5:09 PM
Reading the above comments makes feel both privileged and proud to be an American. I would like to weigh in on a couple of the comments however.
The Constitution does not require interpretation. While the language is somewhat archaic from our point of view, which may cause some disagreement on what is said, it is not difficult to find and read the discussions that surrounded it's writing and ratification.
I do find the concept of getting a permit to exercise a right repugnant, however, at least one SCOTUS (I don't have the citation at my fingertips.) opinion held that while we have and absolute Right to be armed, doing so in the context of a group (or mob)can be interpreted as inciting to violence, and so is not protected, and neither is the carrying of a concealed weapon protected. Let me say this about that, to paraphrase one of my favorite authors, ' a majority opinion of politically appointed black robed priests is not required for me to understand my Rights.'
It is also important to remember that the Constitution did not give us any Rights, it merely enumerated some of the Human Rights that all Mankind is endowed with. Our Government has no Rights, it is merely our Servant, so it can neither bestow nor remove them.
The real hazard for any for any LEO has been summed up by Chris Hernandez in his blog article "My life as a tyrant." Well worth reading.
Thank you all.
JayQue @ 7/11/2013 7:25 AM
Politicians MUST stop violating the Constitution !!! We do not need new laws,we need to enforce the present laws. The Supreme Court should enforce the Constitution without looking for loopholes to save their political reputations. Powerful government agencies should not be used to destroy political opposition. Enforcement supervision without looking inept, should be able to explain facts about an ongoing major investigation and his boss should not be able to violate the Constitution at will. This is an American tragedy,shame on this present regime,it is despicable and reprehensible. After serving my country in the military and law enforcement for 30 years, I consider it an honor to be an "OATH KEEPER"...

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