Target: Mr. Stuart Rhodes, Founder of the Oathkeepers
Goal: Cease inflammatory actions at Ferguson protests immediately.
A group that styles itself, “the Oathkeepers,” has started marching around the streets of Ferguson, MI carrying automatic assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests. This display has been confusing as the group has not stated their intentions, but beyond that it is extremely threatening to the people who are out in numbers trying to protest inequality. These men must return to their homes and put up their weapons before they exacerbate an already tense situation.
The Oathkeepers are a massive group of mostly white former military members, police, and first responders. The group is classified as an extremist anti-government organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has recently drawn controversy for “standing guard” outside of military recruiting stations. For reference, the U.S. military has asked the group to cease this behavior and views them as a dangerous liability.
This open, and needless, display of force on the part of the Oathkeeprs has had one positive outcome at least. It is a perfect parallel to the type of inequality that the protesters in Ferguson are on the streets trying to prevent. Why is a large group of white men, essentially a militia, allowed to stalk the streets of a city, threatening all who cross their path? Would a group of black or Hispanic men, or women for that matter, be greeted with the same apathy by law enforcement? Of course not. It’s almost as if certain laws and constitutional protections apply differently to different races, you know, like the textbook definition of racism.
These men are only making an extremely tense and charged situation more dangerous and they need to get off of the streets of Ferguson immediately. Please sign here to demand that they do so before someone does something that they will regret and makes matters even worse.
Dear Mr. Rhodes,
I am writing to you on behalf of concerned citizens that believe your group is making an already tense and emotionally charged situation worse by stalking the streets of Ferguson toting automatic assault weapons. I understand your group, its mission, and the rights that you believe are bestowed unto you by the Constitution. I also understand that what you are doing in Ferguson may be completely legal, however that does not mean it is called for or helping anyone.
By prowling around Ferguson with vague intentions, holding weapons that were designed for war, you are sending a signal that not only are you prepared for violent combat, you are actually looking forward to it. I don’t know what you seek to gain from this, but I am certain that you will not get it. I ask you to please leave the streets of Ferguson immediately before anyone does something that they regret and makes matters that much worse. Thank you for your kind consideration and understanding. This should be a time of healing and guns do not heal anything.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann