One of the most disturbing groups swept into the semi-mainstream along with the Tea Party movement is the anti-government Oath Keepers, an militia group of current and former police officers and soldiers who vow to mutiny and defy orders if they are asked do to something that violates their radical view of the Constitution. The group’s founder Stewart Rhodes, a former staffer for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), has appeared at numerous Tea Party rallies and on conservative radio and TV shows, and even alongside some Republican politicians, like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Underscoring the danger of the Oath Keepers is the case of Charles Dyer, a former Marine from Oklahoma who served in Iraq and is now the target of nationwide manhunt after he jumped bail on charges of possessing a stolen grenade launcher and raping a 7-year-old family member. Dyer’s first trial ended in a mistrial, but he didn’t show up for the new trial Monday. Police are clearly concerned he could be dangerous:
“We’re sure he’s going to be armed,” said Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney of Dyer. “There’s no doubt about that.”
McKinney also said Dyer had begun posting messages threatening local law enforcement: “If the sheriff’s office came to his house, he was loading his weapons and putting his bullet-proof vest on and having a showdown with us.”
“What concerns me is his ties with some of these very radical groups,” McKinney said.
Watch a report from New 9 in Oklahoma:
The core philosophy of the Oath Keepers is a list of “10 orders we will NOT obey,” including, “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.” In early 2008, the Rhodes warned that a “dominatrix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clinton” would impose a police state on America and shoot all resisters. After primary voters chose a different candidate, the Oath Keepers simply rewrote their paranoid fantasy with President Obama as the arch-villain.
Dyer claims he’s a patriot who is being unfairly targeted by the government to keep him quiet. He has made numerous web videos and blog postings explaining his beliefs, saying, “At every turn my family and I have been threatened and bullied by both the state and federal governments.”