In Oath Keepers Webinar, Student Gun Control Activists Are ‘The Enemy’

An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana. The "Oath Keepers" are a national, ultra-rightwing "Patriot" group comprised of former and active military, police and public safety personnel who have taken an oath to "uphold the Constitution" and to refuse to follow orders that they decide are unconstitutional.
William Campbell/Corbis Historical

The Oath Keepers militia group on Monday issued an official “call to action” asking their members to serve as voluntary armed guards at U.S. schools, in order to intervene in the event of a mass shooting.

But the group doesn’t seem to think much of some of the students they say they want to protect.

During a meandering Monday night webinar held by the far-right, anti-government group, the gun writer David Codrea referred to Emma González and David Hogg, survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida as “the enemy.”

González and Hogg have been at the forefront of a student activist movement urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.

Codrea, a writer for the Oath Keepers and War on Guns blogs, also said that Gonzalez’s father is a “refugee from Castro’s Cuba,” and lamented that the National Rifle’s Association 595,000 Twitter followers paled in comparison to the one million that follow “this young Communist girl.”

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who hosted the webinar, suggested that law enforcement may have deliberately ignored multiple tips about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, in order to allow a massacre that could pave the way for gun control.

“It was a conspiracy to intentionally leave our children exposed to mass murder,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes and other speakers also talked about the group’s effort to station armed Oath Keepers volunteers, who are military and police veterans, at schools across the U.S., “whether they want us to or not,” as Rhodes put it at the start of the webinar.

Rhodes spoke to TPM about that idea Monday.

Another speaker on the webinar, Matt Bracken, said that sending armed guards to schools, “if handled right, could be very good PR” for the group. Bracken is the author of several books promoting gun rights, including “Enemies: Foreign and Domestic,” “Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista” and “Foreign Enemies and Traitors.”

So far, only Indiana member Marc Cowan appears to have taken up the call to arms, stationing himself since Friday on the perimeter of Fort Wayne’s North Side High School’s campus with an AR-15 and handgun.

The Fort Wayne school district said they don’t think the presence of armed volunteers like Cowan makes their students any safer.

The online session, which went on for almost two hours, was marred by technological glitches. Bracken’s video stream was the only one visible. Codrea chose to remain off camera because he’d been stricken by pneumonia, and as a result, he said, had been in a robe all day.

The conversation focused less on operational details for members, and more on denunciations of what Codrea called the “Leni Riefenstahls” in the media, bent on manipulating the national conversation on guns.

“When are citizens going to enforce our constitution?” one participant asked in a chat on the sidebar.

“We should be all the time, that is up to all of us!” replied the Oath Keepers’ moderator.

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