Oath Keepers Interfering with Racial Grievance Narrative

The Oath Keepers are a network of current and former military and police that exists to defend Constitutional rights against government overreach. There are a small number of them -- four or five according to reports -- who have deployed to Ferguson on the anniversary of the riots there. They are going among the protest groups lawfully armed. Police may have a duty that requires them to be in opposition to the protesters in terms of controlling violence and lawlessness, but in this way some of the police can show that off-duty they have an equal concern for the rights of black citizens. Although the police leadership has suggested it would prefer they go away, on the ground officers seem to have worked out an understanding with them that's keeping both sides cooler than they might otherwise be.

Naturally, this is unacceptable. It's important to remember that armed white people are scary and unwelcome. Anyone who suggests that the rights being defended first came to be realized because of similar armed citizens -- many of whom happened to be white -- are dangerous history nuts.


Anonymous said...

Peaceful protestors were arrested eight hours before this for simply filming the police and two reporters were just charged with multiple crimes for not leaving a McDonald's quickly enough.

Can you imagine a black person or group with guns wandering around like this? They are killed when UNarmed! White privilege is really invisible in this hall, isn't it?


Tom said...

Links to support the claims in your first paragraph would be nice. Drive-by commenter privilege isn't invisible anywhere.

Grim said...

He (or she) is right about the claims, even if they aren't linked.

Being unarmed is part of the problem, if you ask me. The original Black Panthers had it right. They were lawfully armed while asserting their rights in almost exactly the same way as the Oath Keepers. It was only when they took a turn toward lawlessness that their movement lost out.

Black cops, veterans, and military members can join the Oath Keepers too. This had to start somewhere. It happened to start with white men. It doesn't have to stay there. It would be better if it didn't. We should all take an interest in defending each other's rights.

Grim said...

As a broader criticism, I think the #BLM movement has adopted an unwise approach. It's decided to rely on illegal actions instead of lawful ones. The reason it comes into conflict with the police all the time is that it has structured its protest in a way that is designed to force the police to arrest or counter them -- blocking off the interstate, for example. This creates a dynamic of constant conflict that reinforces the narrative that the police are especially against black people, but it doesn't offer any way to resolve the conflict. The police can't stop enforcing the law.

The alternative approach I'd suggest involves being scrupulously law abiding, while lawfully heavily armed. Then the police do not have a duty to interfere with you, and they have a powerful disincentive. This is even more true if you have brother officers like the Oath Keepers among the protest. They don't want a conflict in that case.

In that mode, you would have a protest that demonstrated that black Americans can exercise their rights -- even ones deemed dangerous -- peacefully and without interference. That doesn't reinforce the narrative. Rather, it changes the game. That is a way to make people feel empowered, and encourage them to become engaged and active rather than frightened and angry.

Tom said...

Well, here you are: http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2015/08/12/armed-black-panthers-march-in-waller-count-texas-oink-oink-bang-bang/

Not sure what I think about this yet.

Grim said...

That's the wrong way, too. The "New Black Panthers" are still advocating lawlessness, and practicing it.

When the originals got started, though, they carried shotguns and a capacity to quote the law to the police verbatim. They made a lot of headway at first, because everything they were doing was legal. They couldn't be stopped from carrying shotguns, as long as they didn't have a round in the chamber while they were traveling in the car. They couldn't be disarmed, as they had a constitutional right. They knew what they were about, and it worked as long as they kept to it.