Every now and then we hear about local governments that don’t get along well with their state or federal government.
If you’re a farmer or homesteader, you probably have a better idea about that than most of us. Perhaps you recall the events that took place on a certain Nevada ranch in April of 2014.
On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, I talk with Troy Grice about his latest novel called Oathkeeper. It portrays a situation that pits locals versus the feds. A county sheriff in Colorado finds himself at odds with the big boys from DEA. Broadly speaking, it raises the question, “How should we prepare to live in today’s America?”
Troy Grice has been on DestinySurvival Radio with me before to talk about a couple of his previous books and to give his perspective on the shape of our economy. But the last time we visited was three years ago.
I heard from him recently with info about his latest novel, and I decided to read the book. I invited him to be a guest once again. He agreed, and we had a good discussion.
Here’s author info for you.
Troy Grice has been an avid reader of dystopian novels and science fiction since his teens. He describes his own writing as “abrasive satire” and “counter-propaganda.” His fiction questions the legitimacy and motives of authority, attacks establishment corruption and hypocrisy, and decries the semi-lucid majority that enables it. For Troy, no institution is beyond reproach.
When he’s not working or writing, Troy enjoys the outdoors, playing his Gibson Les Paul, and spending time with his family in the foothills near Evergreen, Colorado.
A small Colorado town sees a rise in drug use and crime. An alert, armed veteran, Monte Turcot, intervenes to prevent a mass shooting from escalating further. He becomes a hero in the town’s eyes.
In a DEA raid Monte is wounded, and his wife is killed. Supposedly the DEA raided the wrong place.
Later Monte is accused of shooting a DEA agent and is tried for murder. But the DEA wasn’t happy with the result of Monte’s trial.
Tension rises as Sheriff Ellison stands his ground against the feds. He protects Monte, believing the DEA has overstepped its reach by going after him.
As you can probably guess, Oathkeeper isn’t a postapocalyptic story. And it’s not about preparedness. But it depicts a scenario that could happen at any time as our federal government assumes more power for itself. Doesn’t it make sense that we should consider how we ought to be prepared for that?
What would happen if you or I were victims of the kind of federal overreach portrayed in the story?
This is the kind of world we live in now. How ready are we for it? How should we be ready?
But back to the book.
Oathkeeper is a story for our day. In the onset of recent terror attacks, we’ll see our federal government seeking to assume more power. But rather than focus on the aftermath of terrorism, Troy chose to depict a scenario featuring tension between the local sheriff and the DEA.
The novel shows us what looks like the proverbial picture of good cops versus bad cops as Sheriff Ellison takes his stand. But Troy Grice isn’t trying to cast stones at law enforcement altogether. He could have picked any federal agency to write about because his aim is to illustrate the aggressive growth of centralized government and its use of force.
Troy’s writing exhibits a cutting attitude, which I think will resonate with many readers. Plus, if you have libertarian leanings at all, you’ll appreciate the points of view expressed in the diatribes from Turcot’s lawyer at the murder trial, a pep talk Frenchie gives to Ellison, and Ellison’s speech to reporters.
To me, the novel’s narrative breezes too quickly through the shooting of the DEA agent, the search for a key witness, and the subsequent trial. But Troy gave a reasonable explanation in our conversation as to why we don’t get more details.
The book starts with violence and ends with violence. But I believe you’ll find the result satisfying.
I’ll mention three of the story’s characters because we discover the most about them.
Monte Turcot is the veteran who took justice into his own hands to take down an active shooter at an Alco store. That must surely be a fantasy for some of us.
Though Monte becomes a popular man, he suffers a good deal of self doubt and inner turmoil. I suspect this illustrates what many veterans must experience when they come back home.
The champion of the novel is Sheriff Bear Ellison. We get a glimpse into the kind of man he is when he finds an unsolicited MRAP vehicle has been given to his department. It’s like a tank the military would use, and Ellison isn’t pleased.
We get another glimpse of who he is near the end of the novel when we find out how a broken watch made him the man he became.
We also learn about the former sheriff, who goes by the nickname Frenchie when he disarms a bomb in a pickup near the library. A considerable police presence had gathered to deal with the presumed threat.
I can imagine that doing what Frenchie did is the fantasy of some of us who think too much is made of the fuss and commotion that surrounds unknown packages and powders. In spite of the events in recent weeks–and even years–the police and federal authorities overreact to the point of becoming ridiculous.
As for the DEA’s actions in the novel, there’s no question the feds are made to look bad. On the other hand, the good guys resort to their own irregularities, which go against protocol. As Troy pointed out in our conversation, these are flawed human beings with various aspects of self interest in mind.
Do you know how your county sheriff will react in the event a federal agency muscles its way into local affairs? Will he go along unquestioningly, or will he buck the system and stand up for what’s right according to the Constitution?
The vast majority of our law enforcement officials are good people with good intentions. But we all know, thanks to our sensationalist media, that there are some bad apples. And stuff happens.
That said, the increasing abundance of regulations makes us all law breakers at one time or other. That’s even more likely to be the case when police and federal officials overstep their bounds.
We hear much about how we live by the rule of law, which supposedly makes us noble and good. But the law is applied inconsistently. These days we have to ask ourselves, where is equality of rights under the law? What became of limited government?
We’re being conditioned to fear. As a result we surrender our freedoms, presumably to be safe and secure.
But what have we become as a country?
What should be our response to the growth of government power and the loss of our freedoms? Troy and I talked about what not to do as well as a possible solution or two. How much are we able to part company with the present system?
I’m reminded of those who live in northern California and southern Oregon who call their area the State of Jefferson. They’ve banded together to stand against governmental intrusion into local matters.
It’s plain from my conversation with Troy Grice that he holds strong libertarian views. I agreed with him on nearly everything he said. And I’ll bet you’ll find it hard to argue against his points as well when you hear them.
But you won’t know for sure unless you hear what we discussed. Do that by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for December 3, 2015. (Right click to download.) Troy’s Web site is TroyGrice.com.
I enjoyed Oathkeeper and encourage you to get a copy for yourself by clicking on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where you can place your order.
Do you enjoy stories like this one?
What would you do if your home was raided by a SWAT team? How do you think we should prepare for the ongoing rise of power exhibited by the government?