Published DateBy Daymond Steer
OSSIPEE — Three people, who are members of the Oath Keepers organization, say they plan to be "observers" at weekly county commission meetings.
James and Jane Hazard, from Ossipee, along with John Ruckenbrod came to the county commission meeting on Jan. 30 and introduced themselves during the public comment period. James Hazard said he has lived in the area for about 10 years and was interested in learning about the various levels of government starting a the local level. Jane is also a member of the organization.
"I'm here as an observer," said James Hazard who was dressed in an Oath Keeper T-shirt.
John Ruckenbrod, of Ossipee, who was wearing an Oath Keeper hat, introduced himself and said he was attending for the same reasons has the Hazards.
"I care about what's going on in our community and what's going on in all the levels of government," said Ruckenbrod.
County commission chair David Sorensen welcomed the group to the county meetings.
Oath Keepers was founded Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes explains the purpose of his organization in a video on the national Oath Keeper's website, which is oathkeepers.org. Rhodes says this country is united by the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.
"Our mission is simply to use the First Amendment to reach out and remind all-active duty military, police and firefighters of their civic obligation of their legal duty and responsibility under article six of the U.S. Constitution," said Rhodes adding the oath is to the U.S. Constitution. "It's not some oath to an individual."
Oath Keepers New Hampshire's website has a list of 10 orders that Oath Keepers will not obey. The top three say they will refuse orders to disarm the American people, conduct warrant less searches and detain American citizens as enemy combatants or subject them to military tribunal.
At a prior meeting, commissioners talked about an anonymous letter they received asking commissioners to have a law enforcement officer attend county meetings because armed citizens have been attending the meetings.
When Ed Comeau, of Governmentoversite.com, asked about a decision on police attending meetings, Sorensen replied no decision has been made. Sorensen suggested the commission could have police presence at meetings on a case-by-case basis — such as if there was a particularly hot item on the agenda.
Comeau attends meetings while armed with a handgun. Comeau believes the letter was an attack on his right to bear arms.
Commissioners said it would be costly if a deputy had to attend every meeting. But the sheriff planned to attend most of the meetings or send his chief deputy anyway.
Hazard the commissioners should consider asking retired military people provide security on a volunteer basis.
"That should take any fear out of the public," said Hazard.
In an interview, James Hazard said Oath Keepers is the an organization people can join to make a positive difference and it also offers a forum for people to talk about current events and civic issues.