Founded in 2009 by noted extremist Stewart Rhodes, the goofily named anti-government group Oath Keepers claims to be 30,000 delusional members strong. Such delusion took a troubling leap forward in 2013, when the Oath Keepers announced plans to form so-called "Citizen Preservation" militias in an attempt to defend themselves against some sort of New World Order tomfoolery.
Several members of the Oath Keepers have now descended upon Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the anniversary of Michael Brown's murder by police officer Darren Wilson. Of course, the presence of a group of proudly armed white men simply strolling through the ongoing protests without being arrested or directly hassled by local authorities is an anomaly that's certainly not going unnoticed. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers the Oath Keepers "fiercely anti-government [and] militaristic," worrying that their presence will only worsen tensions in Ferguson and elsewhere.
Though initially thought to have been hired by conspiracy-laden website InfoWars, the group is now considered to be acting on their own terms and volition. "Their presence was both unnecessary and inflammatory," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, shortly before doing absolutely nothing about their presence:
The Oath Keepers are known for their infamous list of 10 "Orders We Will Not Obey," which is kind of like David Letterman's now defunct Top Ten List segments only with more guns and any/all related overcompensation tactics. Peruse the list below, at your own risk, via Vox:
We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.
We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" or to subject them to military tribunal.
We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a "state of emergency" on a state.
We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to "keep the peace" or to "maintain control."
We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
For further proof of their dangerously Glenn Beck-esque leanings, look no further than their smorgasbord of almost self-parodying social media profiles:
To summarize, you can peacefully protest in Ferguson and be swiftly arrested, or you can just be white and armed and stroll through the streets with nary a hassle.