Article and Photos by Alejandro Alvarez
Video Report Filmed and Edited by Ford Fischer
For Richard Kent of Houston, Texas, Independence Day meant a little more than fireworks and barbecues.
His holiday weekend plan: deliver a ‘second Declaration of Independence’ and a bag of dirt from Southern states to the White House.
“I know people try to label me a domestic terrorist or some nonsense like that,” he would later tell a Secret Service official, “but I’m the farthest from it.”
Kent, a commissioned Houston security officer and member of the militia group Oath Keepers, drove all the way from Houston intending to organize a march to the White House. His mission, he said, was to hold the Obama administration accountable for ‘treason against the American people.’
Joining him was Sean Bosilovick, General of Special Operations for the United States Militia, who said he was sent to ensure Kent accomplished his goal.
As crowds gathered around the Washington Monument for the Fourth of July fireworks, Kent and Bosilovick sought to secure as many signatures on their declaration as they could. They did not reach their goal number of signitures. Still, they pressed on with delivery.
Kent’s own “Declaration of Independence” is a self-professed rewording of the original, for example substituting “British crown” with “government crown,” and plugging in extremist groups such as the ‘Islamic State’ in the place of 18th century British mercenaries.
Accompanying his declaration was a small bag of dirt and grass Kent gathered from each Southern state he crossed on his way to the capital. According to Kent, it was a gift meant to symbolize President Obama’s disregard of the South. “Obviously, [Obama] has not visited all the Southern states,” Kent said, “So let me bring him a little of them.”
The pair had planned to meet a larger group of activists in Washington, but their plans were hampered by a downpour and a communications breakdown on the afternoon of the delivery.
Kent and Bosilovick arrived at the White House that evening. They worked their way through the spectators gathering for the fireworks display and presented their declaration to a US Park Police officer – who, it turns out, knew Kent by name.
The pair was shortly after met by a group of Secret Service who, much to the amusement of onlookers, pulled them aside and searched them for weapons. As the fireworks began to boom behind the White House, Kent explained his delivery to a Secret Service officer, who promised to pass his declaration, including the bag of dirt, through the proper channels.
Neither man was surprised by their encounter with the Secret Service. “We freaked out a lot of people,” Bosilovick said, “Which we should (…) the American people are over the bullshit.”
After making the delivery, Kent and Bosilovick walked away confident they had completed their mission. “It was a definite success,” said Kent, “[The Secret Service] was more worried about militia and patriots than not; they knew it was me and the militia coming.”
Kent believes his activism is worth having law enforcement on his tail. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be on the radar for a long, long time to come,” he said, to which Bosilovick was quick to add, “That’s what you do for America. We came here, we said what we were going to do, and we did it.”
Bosilovick, disappointed at the day’s low turnout despite the thousands of followers both men have online, said he hoped their stunt would inspire others to take action against the government.
His final message to fellow militiamen: “You guys want to keep typing on your keyboards? I’m standing right here in Washington, DC, baby.”
Clarification: Richard Kent is a commissioned security officer in the state of Texas, not a public police officer as originally reported.