“We’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons.” Those were the words of a Spokane, Washington, sheriff’s deputy (shown) explaining why his department needed military-grade equipment.
In a video (shown below) obtained by Infowars.com, the deputy was answering a question from a citizen who wondered why his Spokane County Office of Sheriff had an MRAP armored vehicle. The deputy — only identified as a 20-year military veteran working under Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich — extolled the MRAP’s martial virtues using military language, which included pointing out that the vehicle allowed you to safely take “enemy fire.” The citizen then said that while she understood its use in Iraq, she wanted to know what utility it had on American streets. It was then the deputy replied:
“Well, I mean, we’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons, lots of ammunition. They have weapons here locally.”
Not surprisingly, speaking of “enemy fire” and dangerous “constitutionalists” almost in the same breath did not sit well with many. One of these shocked observers was Spokane Valley Republican Representative Matthew Shea, who, writes Prison Planet’s Paul Joseph Watson, “responded to the video by asking, ‘Will law abiding citizens who love the Constitution and Rule of Law be hunted down with MRAPs?’ ‘Constitutionalism is fundamental to being an American. To hate the Constitution and those who support it means you are a traitor to this country,’ added Shea.”
Watson then continued:
Sheriff Knezovich shot back by claiming the Infowars report was “hatemongering,” “misleading,” and that it was “used to scare citizens and distort the truth.”
Instead of apologizing for the comments made by his deputy, Sheriff Knezovich essentially blamed Infowars for daring to report on the issue, claiming that the quote was taken out of context while failing to explain how such a brazen statement could be taken for anything other than its face value.
One YouTube respondent summed this up in stating, “Simple way to avoid making any future videos like this one. Don’t say that you have MRAPs to defend yourselves against constitutionalists.”
Knezovich also cited the deputy swearing an oath of honor and serving in the military for 20 years as a reason to excuse his comments, when those factors only make the remarks even more chilling.
Watson isn’t alone in this sentiment. In fact, many assert that having militarized police forces — partially manned by veterans with a military mindset — is contrary to the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act, the legislation forbidding the use of the military in domestic law-enforcement matters.
As to the spirit of the deputy’s comment, it’s entirely possible that, like many of what are euphemistically called “low-information voters” today, he doesn’t quite understand what a constitutionalist is. Representative Shea said “Constitutionalism is fundamental to being an American” because the Constitution is the supreme law of the land; thus, “constitutionalist” is synonymous with “law-abiding American.”
But this may not be Sheriff Knezovich’s understanding. The Spokesman-Review’s Rachel Alexander reports him as stating, “Some people say I am a constitutionalist…. The term constitutionalist has a widespread meaning.” While the term does have widespread misunderstandings, it has only one valid meaning: a person who believes in adherence to the Constitution.
The sheriff then continued, according to Alexander, “But people need to understand that there are people who carry that title who have killed police officers.” This is no doubt true. There are also people who carry the title “American” who have killed police officers, people who carry the title “Christian” who aren’t at all Christ-like, and those who carry the title “law-enforcement officer” who have violated the law. Individuals who mislabel themselves shouldn’t cause us to misunderstand the labels.
Whether or not Sheriff Knezovich is a constitutionalist, it’s only fair to point out that he has defended the Second Amendment, saying just last month that his state’s disastrous new gun-control law, Initiative 594, “is just another attempt to erode the Second Amendment.”
Nonetheless, while Alexander writes that the sheriff has said that the “deputy who made the videotaped comment is being counseled against making broad statements characterizing large groups of people,” the real issue is that people be characterized correctly — and that law-enforcement officials understand their land’s supreme law.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the federal government has portrayed constitutionalists unflatteringly. As to this, WND.com wrote in 2010 that the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center was working with the Department of Homeland Security, and quoted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes as saying that the SPLC was writing reports “naming constitutionalists as possible terrorists.”
Yet while being stigmatized, these constitutionalists aren’t being silenced. Today in fact, they’re taking a stand for the Constitution and against the sheriff’s deputy’s comments, as Alexander reports:
Scott Maclay, president of the Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club, has invited other constitutionalists to join him Saturday at 2 p.m. for a protest at the “occupied” Spokane Valley Police Department on East Sprague Avenue. The Valley’s law enforcement services are provided by the Sheriff’s Office under a contract with the city.
Protesters will barbecue food in the parking lot, openly carry firearms and erect a Christmas tree to leave letters of complaint directed at the Sheriff’s Office in its branches.
As a show of good will, perhaps Sheriff Knezovich and his deputy might want to join them — minus the MRAP.
Photo: Screengrab of the Spokane, Washington, sheriff’s deputy from the video obtained by Infowars.com