Oath Keepers Response to SPLC Mouthpiece “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh’s Attack on Patriotic Veterans and Gun Owners

Oath Keepers Response to SPLC Mouthpiece “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh’s Attack on Patriotic Veterans and Gun Owners

Do the Right Thing – Get Attacked by the SPLC.  Missouri Oath Keepers Leader John Karriman Spends a Cold Thanksgiving 2014 Guarding Three Minority Businesses and Apartments From Arsonists in Ferguson, MO


This is in response to this recent Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) hit-piece video:

See also Jason Van Tatenhove’s write up here.


I find it ironically fitting that the SPLC would trot out demonstrated oath-breaker “Waco Jim” Cavanaugh to be their “Federal law enforcement” shill in this hit piece.   He presided over the single worst disaster and royal “Charlie Foxtrot” in FBI history, and is directly responsible for the fiery deaths of dozens of innocent women and children at Waco, a travesty that even managed to out-do the black eye the FBI got from their cluster at Ruby Ridge.  What a great spokesman!  Waco was such a complete disaster that both local and federal law enforcement agencies hold classes on what this guy did wrong, holding Waco up as an example of what NOT to do, to avoid a repeat, with “no more Waco’s” being the cautionary watchword of the class.   Is this really the guy the SPLC expects competent local cops to listen to?

What the “Southern Preposterous Lie Center” Fears Most: A Uniting of the American Warrior Class

This heavy-handed smear video is clearly aimed at trying to convince local cops that we, the patriotic military and police veterans, and our patriotic gun owner brothers and sisters, are the enemies of the police, rather than the flag-burning, America hating Marxist ideologues who are destroying our Republic and currently out there killing cops across the nation.  And notice how many times Waco Jim refers to Oath Keepers, and to the oath of office, as he tries to convince police that the only way they can really uphold their oath is by refusing to listen to us patriots when we point out clear examples of federal government abuse of power and instead just be obedient force-multipliers when the Feds decide to teach a local patriot a lesson.

I find it encouraging that the SPLC is so worried about our efforts to reach out to local police that their whole video is essentially focused on trying to counter those efforts.  It shows you what the SPLC fears – they fear us uniting the American warrior class, by getting local cops (many of whom are also military veterans) to see local veterans and patriotic gun owners as their natural allies in the preservation of our Constitution, and the rights of the people to life, liberty, and property, by means of responsible and effective use of our right to bear arms at the local level (all concepts the Marxist left hates).   They want police to see us military and police veterans as their enemies, and they want to pit the American warrior class against itself, with cops v. veterans.

Note how the SPLC ignores all the times when Oath Keepers and other patriotic veterans have directly teamed up with local law enforcement to stand united against terrorists and criminal thugs.

This the SPLC M.O.  Ignore our very well-documented support for the good cops in local departments, such as our “Operation Protect the Protectors” where we worked closely with local police as we stood guard outside military recruitment centers across the nation after the Chattanooga, TN terror attack.

recruiter-and-chief-2-e1437502467172Oath Keeper veterans standing united with active duty recruiters and local cops

And SPLC ignores how in Ferguson, MO we got along just fine with the officers of the Ferguson PD as we stood guard over minority owned businesses and apartments, protecting them from murderous arsonists who wanted to burn them to the ground (including apartments with children inside).


Natalie, of Natalie’s Cakes and More, with Oath Keepers MARSOC Marine Veteran, Nick Nesbitt.  Gee, What an Extremist!

Something the SPLC refuses to acknowledge is that during the riots in Ferguson we protected three minority owned businesses (a black owned bakery, a Korean owned beauty supply store, and an Asian owned Chinese restaurant) along with a white owned dentist office and a law firm.  We also protected the residents of the apartments above those businesses, so we protected lives, not just property, against the deadly threat of arsonists who had personally walked up during the day and shouted up to us that they would be back at night to “burn these f@#%ing buildings to the ground.”   True to their word, the arsonists came back at night and threw some improvised incendiary devices on the roof, but our veteran volunteers were ready and quickly put them out before they could light the roof on fire.  And contrary to the lies of the SPLC, there were minority Oath Keepers on those rooftops too, not just “white” veterans (not that skin color matters to us, but it sure does to the SPLC, which likes to try to twist anything done by Americans on the political right as being motivated by racism).   Among our volunteers in Ferguson was a current serving Filipino special warfare operator who was on leave at the time.   There are several news reports recounting the rather humorous incident when some protester yelled out “you’re the KKK!” and our Filipino veteran pulled down the scarf he was wearing over his face to keep warm, looked down from the rooftop and and replied, “I didn’t realize the KKK was expanding their recruitment opportunities.”

And SPLC ignores the times we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with local cops against criminal gangs and assisted in keeping communities safe from violent criminals, such as when we assisted the Gilbert, WV PD in searching for an armed and dangerous fugitive, or when our volunteers provided security for the entire town of Gilbert, WV during their annual Trailfest event.

And they also ignore our SC chapter ‘s excellent “Operation Backstop” which was put in place last year after the targeted shooting of several police offices, such as officer Goforth in Texas, who was shot in the back of the head while pumping gas.   In response, our SC chapter instructed SC Oath Keepers members to overwatch and protect police against potential terror attack when they stopped for gas, food, coffee, etc, and even built such a close relationship with their local departments that they even backed them up on traffic stops.    In the wake of the recent deadly attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, we are taking that Operation Backstop national, and will be overwatching local police across the nation, helping to watch their six whenever they are particularly vulnerable, such as while getting gas, or a bite to eat, as well as offering our assistance in the event of any other terrorist or attack unrest in our communities.

And of course the SPLC will never mention how we called on our members to reach out to their local police and express our condolences after those horrible terrorist attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge by radical, racist, and Marxist ideologues, and we also called on our members to offer their direct support and protection for their local cops, as part of our national Operation Backstop, and to offer our protection to police families as part of our related Family Safe program where our military and police veterans offer to protect any police or military family that has been threatened with violence.

Card to DART

Oath Keepers Card Expressing Condolences to Dallas Police After Five of their Brothers Were Killed by Racist Terrorist

Nor will SPLC mention how our Baton Rouge chapter directly offered to stand with Baton Rouge police against any further attacks on them by those same radical leftist elements.

Baton 1

Baton Rouge Oath Keepers Leader Paul Richy Presents Pledge of Support to

Major Anthony Ponton, Chief of Uniform Patrol for East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office

Can’t mention any of that!   Instead, the SPLC tries to create an artificial connection between us and cop killers such as Jerad and Amanda Miller, who killed two Las Vegas Metro officers, while of course ignoring the fact that some of the founding members and leadership of Oath Keepers were Las Vegas Metro officers (my first national VP was retired Las Vegas Metro officer Dave Freeman, and I can tell you that we still have members who are current serving Metro cops) or that, at Bundy ranch, we told the Millers to leave and not come back when we found out Jerad Miller was a felon (I know, because I was there and part of that decision).

I encourage police officers to take a look at not just our words, but our actual deeds and judge for yourselves who actually has your back against cop killer terrorists, Jihadists, and looting, burning, raping, and murdering thugs who take advantage of any civil unrest.  And then take a hard look at the Marxist ideology clearly at work at the SPLC.  Nobody from SPLC, or any of their Marxist fellow-travelers, such as the infamous Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, or their carefully coddled and well funded leftist”community organizer” pals in the leadership of the Black Lives Matters movement, is going to stand up next to you, wearing rifle plates and full battle-rattle, with an M-4, to help you hold the line against evil.

Police, when the crap hits the fan in your community who would you rather have standing next to you?

Anti-gun metrosexuals like these two SPLC weenies:lenzpotokweenies

Or a well trained, patriotic, armed veteran like this:


Who do you have more in common with?   Who would you trust to watch your six when things go south?   You know the answer.

And yet, who are those SPLC Marxist weenies trying to get you to think of as your enemy?   That same patriotic veteran who would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you and risk his life to help you defend your community.   Unlike the Marxist weenies, he has already shown his mettle, and then some, and you can count on him to step up again, and stand in the breach in your hour of need, while the anti-gun leftists hide under their beds.

The Marxist leftists want to turn the American Warrior Class against itself, by fooling police into seeing veterans and patriotic gun owners as their enemies, and to likewise convince the veterans and gun owners that the police are a threat to them.  It’s a divide and conquer strategy.

And when considering the propaganda spewed by SPLC mouthpiece “Waco Jim,” (who declared last year that Obama should issue a “directive” that we should not call Islamist terrorists Islamist, despite their declarations that they are Islamists), I encourage readers to revisit the horrible Federal government actions at both Ruby Ridge and Waco.   Both are examples of federal agents artificially creating conflict and initiating violence, and then following up with more violence.  When you read the accounts of Ruby Ridge, review the fact that the FBI sent in an informant to snare Randy Weaver by having him saw off a shotgun to just under the legal length limit, and then attempted to use that to coerce Weaver into becoming a government informant to be used to infiltrate White Supremacist groups.  When Weaver refused to be their snitch, the ATF then brought firearms charges against him.  That is how it all kicked off – by entrapment meant to force Weaver to turn snitch on groups he didn’t even belong to.  If he had agreed to be their snitch, they never would have charged him but defying that calculated attempt at coercion earned him a felony charge.  Then, when Weaver refused to show for court (after concluding that he would not get a fair trial), the U.S. Marshal service began a military style  “reconnaissance” operation to scout out places in the woods around the cabin to ambush and arrest Weaver.

And then consider that the violence at Ruby Ridge was started by Art Roderick, a bone-headed U.S. Deputy Marshal on that reconnaissance team who threw rocks at the Weaver cabin to test the reaction of the Weaver’s dogs.  Predictably, one of the dogs reacted by following the bugling and noisy agents back into the woods (with Sammy weaver and family friend Kevin Harris following in the hopes that the dog was chasing a deer they could shoot).  Then the dog walked up to the “reconnaissance team” with its tail wagging, dancing around them like it wanted to play, and that same idiotic agent, Roderick, promptly shot the dog, which caused 14 year old Sammy Weaver to fire at the man who had just shot his dog right in front of him.   Thus began the fire-fight, with Sammy Weaver shot in the back as he fled, and Kevin Harris shooting and killing Deputy Marshal Degan (Harris was later acquitted by a jury that ruled his actions to be self defense).   Thus, a series of stupid decisions by federal agents lead to the needless death of a 14 year old kid (and his dog) and a U.S. Deputy Marshal.

Then the FBI doubled down on stupid by issuing special Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Ruby Ridge:

  • If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed, if the shot can be taken without endangering any children.
  • If any adult in the compound is observed with a weapon after the surrender announcement is made, and is not attempting to surrender, deadly force can and should be employed to neutralize the individual.
  • If compromised by any animal, particularly the dogs, that animal should be eliminated.
  • Any subjects other than Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Kevin Harris, presenting threats of death or grievous bodily harm, the FBI rules of deadly force are in effect. Deadly force can be utilized to prevent the death or grievous bodily injury to oneself or that of another

Note the FBI’s affinity for shooting animals simply because the animals notice their presence, such as a dog barking, which they consider “compromising.”  Nothing cures the “compromise” of a barking dog quite like shooting it, to REALLY let everyone know that you are there.  As a former Army reconnaissance team member, I can only shake my head at the stupidity.  At Waco, the ATF opened up the festivities by shooting a female dog and all of her puppies, who were in a pen near the front entrance, presumably in the name of “officer safety” no doubt – so, once again, at minimum, bumbling federal agents kicked off a fire-fight by opening fire on people’s pets (and it may well be that they also fired first on David Koresh, as he opened the front door, but we’ll likely never know since that door magically disappeared after it was all over).

Those Ruby Ridge ROE were essentially military ROEs, and a radical departure from the standard ROE:

“Agents are not to use deadly force against any person except as necessary in self-defense or the defense of another, when they have reason to believe they or another are in danger of death or grievous bodily harm. Whenever feasible, verbal warning should be given before deadly force is applied.”

The Ruby Ridge military ROE were illegal, as it was later determined.  But note that, as described in the Ruby Ridge Wikipedia entry, while some of the FBI field agents balked at those ROEs and decided not to follow them, the HRT, ever the obedient attack dogs, had no problem whatsoever with those ROEs, and promptly got down to the business of shooting on sight at any armed adult on the Weaver property.

The Denver FBI SWAT team assigned to Ruby Ridge thought the ROE were “crazy” and agreed among themselves to follow the FBI deadly force policy. However, most of the FBI HRT sniper/observers accepted the ROE as modifying the deadly force policy. Examples: HRT sniper Dale Monroe saw the ROE as a “green light” to shoot armed adult males on sight and HRT sniper Edward Wenger believed that if he observed armed adults, he could use deadly force, but he was to follow standard deadly force policy for all other individuals. Fred Lanceley, the FBI Hostage Negotiator at Ruby Ridge, was “surprised and shocked” at the ROE, the most severe rules he had ever heard in his over 300 hostage situations and characterized the ROE as inconsistent with standard policy.[50] A later Senate report criticized the ROE as “virtual shoot-on-sight orders.”

And those “shoot-on-sight” orders lead directly to HRT sniper Lon Horiuchi (who was reportedly also at Waco) shooting at both Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris as they ran back to the cabin after going to a nearby shed to visit Sammy’s body, and then shooting Vicki Weaver in the face while she stood with a baby in her arms, holding the cabin door open for her husband, her daughter, and Harris.

And please reflect on the fact that the HRT followed similar ROE at the road block where LaVoy Finicum was killed earlier this year in Oregon (with either actual Ruby Ridge style ROE, or de facto – it will likely take a FOIA Request to find out).  Although it was not initially public knowledge, it was later discovered that an HRT team member fired three rounds at LaVoy, narrowly missing him, while he had his hands raised immediately after he got out of his truck after putting it nose first into a snowbank.  So, as LaVoy got out, with his hands in the air, trying to surrender, the HRT fired at him.  But the HRT initially tried to cover that up, picking up and hiding the brass, and team members closed ranks and lied to investigators about what happened.

As Police Defensive Tactics instructor John Karriman (our Missouri chapter leader) recently noted during a Webinar, the HRT doesn’t miss, and certainly not three shots at close range on a man knee-deep in snow.   John’s conclusion is that the HRT fired and “missed” on purpose, to get LaVoy to go for his gun (any reasonable man in the same circumstances, being fired on even after he raised his hands, with live rounds zipping past his ears, may conclude that he was going to be killed anyway, and may feel he has no choice but to try to defend himself).   John thinks that the HRT murdered LaVoy by getting him to go for his gun after being fired upon while trying to surrender.  I agree with John.   I think they set him up in a very slick, dirty tricks way, and then let the Oregon State Police do the actual shooting.

The FBI has zero credibility left.  Many of us in the freedom movement have known this for decades, but it is now becoming clear to all Americans after the FBI let Hillary Clinton walk despite incontrovertible and publicly known facts that show she committed multiple felonies.   It took that in-your-face display of above-the-law privilege and abuse of power to get most Americans to finally catch a clue.   They could see that if any of them had done anything remotely similar, they would be in prison.  But Hillary can do as she pleases, in direct violation of the law, get caught red handed, and still walk away untouched.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that there are any sincere defenders of the Constitution left inside the FBI.  We have police veterans in Oath Keepers who claim to know honorable current-serving FBI agents who still have some conscience left, and some desire to respect the Constitution.   But now, with all that has happened which has been publicly disclosed, how can those current-serving FBI agents be part of such a corrupt, politically motivated and controlled, rights-violating arm of the regime where the “little people” are routinely snared by paid snitches and provocateurs, or are outright murdered, but the elite are now “untouchables” who can literally get away with murder?

As Jason said in his piece, the more we can expose the truth, the better.  Now is the best time to get those newly awakened Americans to see the whole truth of what the FBI, ATF, DHS, NSA, etc has become – our Gestapo.  Our Stasi.  I still hold that we should give our local police and Sheriff departments the benefit of the doubt and the chance to do the right thing by siding with the Constitution, with our full support, up to and including continuing to stand with them physically in defense of our communities against terrorists, cop killers, and thugs, but the only federal agents I now have any interest in helping are perhaps the rank-and-file Border Patrol officers who are still trying to actually do their job under the Constitution by defending our borders.  Until we see some resignations-in-protest and more whistle blowing within the FBI/DHS (like this), they are on their own.

For the Republic,

Stewart Rhodes

About Author

Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.