This policy of using SWAT to serve search warrants on gun owners simply because they are armed, and where there is no long history of violent crime, has got to stop. I think taking a stand over the use of SWAT against this young Marine in Tucson is a good place to start. And we also need to demand some answers from Pima County Sheriff Dupnik about exactly why this young Marine was left to bleed out while paramedics were prevented from treating him for an hour and fifteen minutes. Jose would have had a better chance if he had been shot in Iraq, where a corpsman would have braved enemy fire to treat him.
As we head toward Memorial Day, I find it disgusting that this young Marine survived two tours in Iraq and returned home to a family who was no doubt relieved and grateful to God that he had survived war, only to be gunned down in his own home, by his own government. As a veteran, I am just plain ticked off. But also as the Founder of this organization, I am convinced that we Oath Keepers veterans need to step up with as much resolve as we expect the current serving to do. We ask them to “steel their resolve” to do what’s right by their oath. We veterans need to do the same, and we Oath Keepers need to take the lead on encouraging other veterans and veterans organizations to step up.
As I've said before, I can't get behind the OK for philosophical reasons, but if it's going to exist, I'm pretty happy that someone like Rhodes is at the helm. I suppose I might yet have to change my mind about that, but not yet.
He talks nicely, but has he called for specific action as a result?
He says to "do what's right", but provides no direction to the organization.
So, what's "Right", Mr. Rhodes?
I don't think that the role of OK is (or should be) to take direct organizational action--they've made no secret that their principal purpose is to refrain from acting--and so I don't hold a Stewart Rhodes accountable because he does not use "his" organization in a manner that contradicts that.
He's also in an impossible situation in the first place (why anyone would piss up that rope I can't fathom). Remember that OK is, by definition, a political organization, but not a favored one. It has no power to effect change within the system in which it resides. None. (We might agree that the system has been carefully groomed to prevent any such influence in the first place.) And that means that the only point behind the organization is the distribution of awareness.
Personally, I'm of a mixed mind on OK. Their very existence is a contradiction, and their singular "weapon" of selective non-participation is, at best, a partial withdrawal of consent. They ain't gonna solve our problems, for sure. But I'm not interested in purity pissing matches any more (as Claire has put it before, "that way lies madness", and we got us enough enemies already), and Rhodes is a bloody sight better public interface than most. If he can reach people that I can't, in the service of the things we do agree on, I'll stay out of his way and even wish him well.
Respectfully: I think OK remains more potentially powerful without the sort of "direction" that you're implying here, and it doesn't bother me at all that Rhodes is refraining from acting like a traditional authoritarian "leader" by agitating implicit threats other than non-participation. All such would accomplish (like it or not) would be to present a picture of someone agitating for hard conflict, and from there it would be just stupidly easy to either a) just take him out as a threat to Fatherland Security (and throw parades afterward, natch) or, worse, to b) "prove" to everyone that (and yes, we know this already) the organization has no power to effect systemic change, thereby marginalizing the whole effort completely. Any real power OK has doesn't come from Rhodes anyway--it comes from its independent members, or people that the concept may have influenced (there's that "awareness" thing again). Threepers commonly point out that their strength is precisely in their decentralized non-structure--in their independent minds and wills; notwithstanding the inherent contradiction of an agent of the state being a suitable vehicle to restraining the state, I don't think OK is any different.
I don't see the point of agitating for hard conflict, either. First and foremost, it plays right into the hands of those causing the problem in the first place, and I'll do everything in my power to deny my enemy that. Second, although it might--might--alleviate some of the symptoms of our problems, it doesn't and never has fixed them. (Did the American tyrannies not fire themselves up right after the Revolution, and simply accumulate and progress into the hell we now suffer under? Look around you: the Revolution fixed nothing.)
As Jeff Cooper often said, the purpose of fighting is winning, and sometimes one can fight more effectively without "going hot". The best hope I can see right now is real public withdrawal of consent, and that can only happen if enough people see that it can work. In that regard, the potential value that OK represents ("Uh, guys? We can simply say 'no; here...") is very high, and thus far Rhodes is doing a fine job of making it available to anyone who will listen.
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