Those wild and wacky wingnuts are at it again!

What are those zany scamps up to this time? Why, trying to overthrow the government, of course! Unfortunately for them (and hilariously for citizens of the non-crackpot variety), the government didn’t seem to notice.

It happened (or more accurately, didn’t happen) last weekend, at an event called Operation American Spring, OAS for short. OAS was the “brainchild” of a former U.S. Army colonel named Harry Riley. On his website, Riley laid out his plan to “restore the Constitution.” In fine military fashion, Riley broke the op down into three “phases.”

1: OAS would “field millions, as many as 10 million, patriots” who would assemble on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., “spiritually/ Constitutionally armed” to replace the “current government.”

2: One million of the 10 million (Riley later told Alan Colmes that the count could go as high as 30 million) would remain on-site “as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office.”

3: “Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov. Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. attorney general appointed by the new president.”

Yes, there’s nothing that says “restoring the Constitution” like a minority of disgruntled voters overthrowing a freely elected government because they didn’t like the election result, then establishing an unelected tribunal to arrest and punish those they designate as political undesirables. Reign of Terror, anyone?

The coup wouldn’t be easy, Riley warned.

“It will be painful,” he said, “and some people may die because the government will not be nonviolent; some of us will end up in a cell, and some may be injured.”

A fellow named Terry Trussell, who identified himself as OAS’s “chief of staff,” told the “Patriot Nation” radio show that “if things got bigger,” the administration could “pull in drones,” but confidently predicted that “when the government destroys the capital just to get rid of us, I think it’s going to work to their discredit.”

Well, yeah, I guess that would be true. If, that is, the basic premise of the statement weren’t bat-spit crazy.

So the big day, May 16, rolled around, and — well, not much happened. From the live feed that the OAS people thoughtfully set up on the Internet, it looked like about 200 people showed up. It was kind of hard to tell, because for a long time, the camera was apparently lying on its side.

What could be seen in the feed, and in various photos posted from the event, was small knots of people (mostly older, almost exclusively white) milling around aimlessly, shouting a lot, and most definitely not being slaughtered by Obama’s Killer Drones.

“It’s a very dismal turnout,” 61-year-old Jackie Milton, the head of Texans for Operation American Spring, glumly told The Washington Times. One “patriot” was even more poignant; he stood in front of the camera and screamed “Where you AT?” over and over.

It is true that, in advance of the coming of the OAS wavelet, the president and Mr. Biden actually did flee the White House — all the way to a local Shake Shack, where they had a nice lunch and talked to reporters about raising the minimum wage. From the pictures, a lot more people showed up at that event than at the Mall.

Faced with this kind of embarrassment, some OAS supporters took to Twitter, with a variety of excuses for the poor turnout that were so lame that #Americanspringexcuses became a trending topic all its own.

Some posted photos of massive crowds on the Mall, only to have others note from a cursory examination of the signs and clothing that the pictures were from civil rights marches from 40 years ago.

My personal favorite was the often-repeated “well, a lot of these patriots have jobs.” Possibly, but here’s a thought: When the horrible tyranny under which you claim to suffer isn’t enough to make you ask for a personal day to overthrow the government, then maybe the tyranny isn’t so horrible after all.

Another right wing attempt to overturn the election has failed, because, despite the drama-queen ranting of the worshippers of “West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson,” etc., normal people look around and, for the most part, see things as getting better. They may not be completely happy, but unlike the deluded misfits of OAS, they’re not unhappy to the point of treason.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage. Contact him at

(8) comments

Sally Larson

Hilarious story Dusty! We need more humor in our lives, people around here are just too righteous and need a little poking once in a while.

Ce Foote

It's comical! But I see those who disagree lack a sense of humor where the TBers are concerned. Boo hoo hoo...whiners and crybabies.

Frank Staples

I'm back to bring misery to your life for not being truthful and then not deigning to answer honest questions. Hey Sunny, I'm BAAAAACK!!! I've been gone for a month...certainly long enough for you to have researched and come up with an honest answer...oh, for Pete's sake, it was long enough for you to have come up with any answer that might have been more entertaining than your lack of honesty!!

Sally Larson

Skyline, you're starting to sound like a stalker. Whatever it was, you need to let it go.

Frank Staples

Hi SH...yeah, it might sound like that to the uninitiated. But Sunny is still writing trash into the Pilot and refusing to answer an honest question. I have said that Sunny is either ill informed or a liar and I've also said that since she refuses to answer the question then it pretty much sums up that she's a her idol, the lying ignoramus in our White House. It would be much simpler if she'd just 'fess up and admit that she doesn't know what the hades she was talking about. And while I'm at it let me tell you a are well aware that Jimmy Heim and I go at it over voter id, right? Well, for the last month I've taken my wife on a western trip encompassing over half a dozen national parks and spending many nights in motels. Would Jimmy believe that every time I entered a national park I had to show my driver's license along with my N.P. permit? Do you reckon he'd believe that every time I checked into a motel and used my credit card ( which has my photo on it ) I had to show my driver's license? Just downright amazing isn't it?? Maybe liberals don't bother to traipse around the beautiful areas of our country.

Sally Larson

Sky, it still feels creepy and has nothing to do with this article. When things get personal around here, any reasonable conversation goes down the drain.

Mark Hayes

A spineless individual with no thoughts of his own.

Tom Hill

News of the weird, always involving fringe Republican doings, rarely educational, usually undertaken more for the sake of healing personal hurt feelings than in offering any sort of constructive editorial or satire...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now. Or, call customer service at 910-693-2487 for help.


Our system has been updated, if you are a current print subscriber and cannot obtain your unlimited access, please contact customer support 910-693-2490. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days