Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason

Glenn Beck loves them. Tea Partiers court them. Congressmen listen to them. Meet the fast-growing “patriot” group that’s recruiting soldiers to resist the Obama administration. By Justine Sharrock for Mother Jones:

The .50 caliber Bushmaster bolt action rifle is a serious weapon. The model that Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pray is saving up for has a 2,500-yard range and comes with a Mark IV scope and an easy-load magazine. When the 25-year-old drove me to a mall in Watertown, New York, near the Fort Drum Army base, he brought me to see it in its glass case—he visits it periodically, like a kid coveting something at the toy store. It’ll take plenty of military paychecks to cover the $5,600 price tag, but he considers the Bushmaster essential in his preparations to take on the US government when it declares martial law.

His belief that that day is imminent has led Pray to a group called Oath Keepers, one of the fastest-growing “patriot” organizations on the right. Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 912ers. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan have all sung its praises, and in December, a grassroots summit it helped organize drew such prominent guests as representatives Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Georgia Republicans.

There are scores of patriot groups, but what makes Oath Keepers unique is that its core membership consists of men and women in uniform, including soldiers, police, and veterans. At regular ceremonies in every state, members reaffirm their official oaths of service, pledging to protect the Constitution—but then they go a step further, vowing to disobey “unconstitutional” orders from what they view as an increasingly tyrannical government.

Pray (who asked me to use his middle name rather than his first) and five fellow soldiers based at Fort Drum take this directive very seriously. In the belief that the government is already turning on its citizens, they are recruiting military buddies, stashing weapons, running drills, and outlining a plan of action. For years, they say, police and military have trained side by side in local anti-terrorism exercises around the nation…

[continues in Mother Jones]


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11 Comments on "Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason"

  1. in the end, it IS the individual who must decide what is right and what is wrong, whether an order is constitutional or not, and where their loyalties are. these brave men have their hearts in the right place, but by being so open about it, all they've really done is place themselves at the bullseye when the government does decide to act against the people. they will be the first ones targeted for elimination, as dangers to the state. a little more discretion, guys, would go a long way towards extending your lifespans, and increasing your effectiveness. you are of no real use to the people as martyrs. the idea is to make the other bastard die for his beliefs.

    • funny it was ok as long as the figurehead was a good ol boy.
      i'm curious to know what kind of legal training these guys have to be able to decide what is or is not constitutional.

      • Tuna Ghost | Feb 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm |

        Well they are Defenders of the State, and policemen's actions are ruled by laws depending on the constitution, so I imagine that policemen must receive at least some training in that area.

        Not that it matters, really.

      • I wouldn't ask a plumber to fix my tv, or a fast food worker to be my brain surgeon, so training is important, but training only covers things we already know. I won't allow anyone else to tell me what is right or wrong, I make those decisions myself, and accept the consequences.

  2. ZombieSlapper | Feb 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

    Where was Pvt. Douchbag Pray during 8 years of Bush's tyranny? Probably licking his boots. Now that Obama wants to give him affordable healthcare, dude is literally up in arms. Way to go, morons. Or as he would say “morans”.

    • Polymorpheous | Feb 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

      “Now that Obama wants to give him affordable healthcare, dude is literally up in arms.”
      read the bill dude.

      also, g.w. bush had just as much big government, socialist leanings as obama.
      difference being, one president has a cult of personality, the other does not.

  3. Military coup in the United States?

    Let's not forget the many times the Praetorian Guard deposed Caesar.

  4. Polymorpheous | Feb 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm |

    to be fair, many oath keepers joined up during the bush administration.
    the media is, guess what…
    polarizing the issue! these guys are all kooky right-wingers!
    NEWSFLASH:both side of the aisle would like to take away your civil liberties. pay attention!

    • if political orientation has no bearing,
      if they really are worried about the constitution and honoring their oaths it is a noble thing,
      but they don't need an organization for that, but if it comes down to not wanting to follow orders they don't like they are no better then common deserters.

  5. Polymorpheous | Feb 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm |

    bushmasters are junk anyway.
    if the PVT had any sense, he'd buy a barrett.

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