Where have all the oath keepers gone?

Washington, DC (TFC) – Our country is in shambles. Our once inalienable rights are trampled every single day. Hundreds of thousands of men and women took an oath to defend those rights against all enemies foreign or domestic. Where are they?

Revolutionary War Soldiers.  Taking Aim.  Image Source: Rob Shenk, flickr, Creative Commons

Revolutionary War Soldiers.
Taking Aim.
Image Source: Rob Shenk, flickr, Creative Commons

A survey of the Bill of Rights shows exactly how many Constitutionally-protected inalienable rights have been infringed upon, revoked, cancelled, withdrawn, or trampled on. These are rights that every person was born with and that no law can take away. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Let’s take a look.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Laws favoring one religion over another are common place. In some areas they favor Christianity, in others they favor Islam or Judaism. We live in a country that has “free speech zones” and where people are regularly threatened with arrest for exercising their freedom of speech. The US isn’t even in the top 25 countries when it comes to press freedom, which is odd for a country that is supposed to have a completely free press. The US government attempted to define who was and was not a journalist recently. The right to peaceable assembly has been completely trampled. Some public lands are off limits, and at others you are required to obtain a permit. We still have the right to petition, but it doesn’t get read or acted upon.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment is more or less intact. In many areas it is even making a comeback.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Soldiers employed as SWAT police officers routinely commandeer homes without consent or due process for the purposes of surveillance or as a staging ground for a raid on another home.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

From NSA surveillance, to roving checkpoints, to immigration checkpoints, to “Constitution Free Zones,” the Fourth Amendment isn’t dying. It’s dead.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

An indictment in Federal Court is a foregone conclusion. The system is so corrupt that a ham sandwich could be indicted. State and federal jurisdictions often try the defendant for the same crime. Confessions are often obtained through torture. Civil forfeiture laws allow for no real due process before property is seized.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Indefinite detention is commonplace. Warrants are issued and trials by secret courts are occurring.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

This has more or less been left in tact.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Fines today often far exceed what the defendant will ever be able to repay in their lifetime. Torture and unusual punishments are used before a defendant is ever found guilty.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The people of the United States have repeatedly stated that they have a right to be secure in their communications and electronic data. Our government doesn’t care.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

The states and the federal government are so closely tied at this point that it is difficult to determine where one ends and one begins. The federal government often funds state law enforcement agencies and encourages them to carry out their agenda.

So the question remains: where are all of the oath keepers? If you are a cop today and you are not actively working to change the system, you are not keeping your oath. For organizations that bill themselves as defenders of the Constitution: Where are you? You need to be on the streets every day.

This article isn’t an indictment of the Oath Keepers organization, even though the questions raised apply to them as well. This goes to everybody that is wearing or has ever worn a uniform. Is this what Americans have sacrificed for? Is that we bled for? Is this what we killed for?

I know many people that are active in the fight that are members of the Oath Keepers, but what the public sees isn’t an active organization. When citizens in Missouri were crying out saying they were being deprived of due process, where were the Oath Keepers? They were coordinating, albeit with some hostility, with the same law enforcement agency that was violating people’s rights. When a torture center was uncovered in Chicago, where were the Oath Keepers in Chicago’s police department? When troops enforced a curfew in Baltimore, where were the Oath Keepers in the National Guard? As militarized police storm our streets, kill innocents, and act like the security services of some third world dictatorship that we would overthrow, where are the Oath Keepers? For the organization to regain the respect it once had, it’s going to have to do more than protect wealthy ranchers and gold mines. It’s going to have to recognize the enemy for who it is.
If an organization that set out with the best of intentions has devolved into just another fraternity, let us know. We can establish a different organization. For those that aren’t part of the organization, what are we waiting for?