Ferguson, Missouri – The Missouri chapter of the Oath Keepers are planning to hold an open carry march through downtown Ferguson, Mo., which will reportedly involve arming 50 black protestors with AR-15 rifles.
The decision to hold the event transpired after St. Louis County officials, in violation of Missouri’s open carry law, insisted that members of the group could not open carry long barrel rifles within the city. In a video uploaded to YouTube, police chief Jon Belmar is seen warning a number of Oath Keepers that open carrying long barrel rifles would be a violation of the law.
“My only problem is with the long guns and inciting these guys out here,” Belmar said, referring to the Ferguson protesters.
When one of the men questioned Belmar regarding Missouri’s open carry law, he responded by saying, “I have attorneys. I didn’t go to law school. I get what you guys stand for and probably agree with most of it. All I’m trying to do is manage this thing.”
While trying to simply manage things is semi-understandable, it's Belmar’s duty to assure that those he employs respect Missouri’s open carry law and the Constitutional rights' of American citizens.
Head of the St. Louis County, Mo. Oath Keepers group, Sam Andrews called Belmar out for his blatant disregard of the law.
“He (Belmar) was thumbing his nose at the legislature of the State of Missouri. It was like he couldn’t give a crap about the Bill of Rights or state law.”
Andrews told Red Dirt News that the march would be held in the next “couple of weeks,” as a means of demonstrating the veracity of Missouri’s open carry law to law enforcement.
Andrews explained that he and members of his group spent almost an entire night speaking with black protestors about the events in Ferguson and the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
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“Every person we talked to said if they carried they’d be shot by police. That’s the reason we’re going to hold this event and it will be a legal demonstration,” Andrews said. “I’m sick and tired of law enforcement who doesn’t think they have to abide by the law. They’re narcissistic and that guy (Belmar) discredited my men.”
Oath Keepers are made up mainly of current and former military and law enforcement officers who have sworn to place their oath to the Constitution ahead of any law or command given that violates the rights of the citizens.
Last year, Andrews told the New York Times that the group’s membership includes “a really broad group of citizens, and I’m sure their motivations are all different. In many of them, there’s probably a sense of patriotism. But I think in most of them, there’s probably something that they probably don’t even recognize: that we have a moral obligation to protect the weakest among us.”
Andrews said that the 50 African-Americans, armed with long barrel rifles, will be accompanied by Oath Keepers members during the march through downtown Ferguson.
While the mainstream media has worked feverishly to paint the Oath Keepers as a some quasi-racist fringe right wing militia group, with the explicit implication that blacks should fear them, they have shown themselves to be true defenders of the rights of all Americans.
Andrews went on the record in an interview with Josh Cook of Truth in Media:
“We have people from all different races on our security team. We’re not racist and we wouldn’t tolerate anyone in our organization who is a racist. If we found out that someone was a racist we would kick them out of our organization. So that should dispel myth number one...
“The second myth is that the police are doing the right thing. The truth of the matter is Chief Jon Belmar of St. Louis County Police has been breaking our state law, threatening to disarm people, and violating people’s rights. They’ve been breaking Missouri’s revised statute 44.101. I would encourage everyone to look up for themselves. It prevents the police or any government official from disarming anyone during a state of emergency. Yet Belmar continues to threaten to do that and continues to try to intimidate anyone who is armed...
“The third myth is that we are out in Ferguson to hurt people. And that’s the opposite of the truth. We are there to protect people. We’ve been guarding African-American people, Asian people, white people, people in mixed marriages, Korean people, Chinese people. It’s just ridiculous that the media continues to try and put forth this lie that we are racist and white supremacists. That’s not true at all...
“We’re a cross-section of America. We’re made up of people of all races, all political persuasions.”
Cook asked Andrews what he would say to the protesters in Ferguson.
“The first thing I would say is ‘Black Lives Matter.’ The second thing I would say is that the Oath Keepers are there to protect your rights. We care about you, regardless of all the lies that the media and some other instigators have tried to propagate. Black lives matter, we care about you, we love you and we are there to protect you,” said Andrew.
“We love the people of Ferguson and they deserve to be protected and the St. Louis County police is not doing the job.”
The right to bear arms is the last line of self-defense against tyranny; a crucial lesson that those most tread upon in society would be wise to learn. Andrew's efforts to empower and protect those most victimized, while recognizing his moral obligation do to so, shows a character that seeks to truly enlighten and empower those disenfranchised by the state.
When protesters are out in force, and the police don't respect their right to demonstrate, open carry levels the playing field and keeps the police from engaging in reckless brutality and unprovoked violence.
Please share this story if you're tired of the divisive race baiting and wish to see more genuine displays of unity and the empowerment of all peoples! United we stand, divided we fall.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has been published on BenSwann's Truth in Media, Chris Hedges' truth-out, AlterNet and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.