Tuesday, January 05, 2016

My Two Cents: Armed Patriot Militia Takes Over Federal Building In Oregon

Last October, two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond, Jr. and his son, Steven Hammond, were sentenced to five years in prison for arsons they committed on federal lands. 

The trial alleged that the Hammonds, owners of Hammond Ranches, Inc., ignited a series of fires on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management [BLM], on which the Hammonds had grazing rights leased to them for their cattle operation.

Now, a conviction of arson on federal land carries a minimum five-year mandatory sentence, but when the Hammonds were originally sentenced, they argued that the five-year terms were unconstitutional and the trial court agreed; the imposed sentences were reduced to well below what the law required. Then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal law, reasoning that “given the seriousness of arson, a five-year sentence is not grossly disproportionate to the offense” and vacated the original, unlawful sentences and ordered the Hammonds be resentenced “in compliance with the law.” 

Well, cut to January 2016, and now a few hundred supporters of the Hammonds marched in Burns, Oregon in protest — as is their right — and then these anti-government "patriot" militia members took over a federal installation — which is not their right.

The leaders of the group include three sons of Cliven Bundy, that Nevada rancher who leased federal lands for decades yet refused to pay over $1 million in grazing fees. Cliven Bundy is not believed to be part of the takeover directly, but Ammon Bundy, Cliven's son, has issued a call for fellow militia supporters to join him and the roughly 150 men who have taken over a federal headquarters building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The men claim "the federal government had no authority in Harney County" — in Oregon, one of the United States — and say they will stay for years if need be, willing to defend themselves in any way; another Bundy son, Ryan Bundy, has said they are willing to kill and be killed.

And, let’s keep in mind that this little takeover of federal property by some asshats with weapons is neither condoned nor endorsed by either of the Hammonds; in fact, they want nothing to do with this. This is all Cliven Bundy and his offspring and their anti-government “patriotism.”

But, while this is a huge mess, with a lot of conflicting reports, let’s try and play it like this …

What if the armed men who took over this federal building on federal land — and vowed to kill to protect themselves — were Black? Would we be sitting and waiting and talking or would the police have already gone in, guns blazing.

Or, what if the men who took over this piece of property were Muslim? Well, they’d be terrorists, right? And the FBI and every member of law enforcement in and around that area would be marching in to take over.

But these men aren’t Black and they aren’t Muslim; what they are is white, homegrown terrorists using guns and their warped sense of patriotism to get their way when the rest of us should follow the law.

Is that what we want in this country? Is that how we should be settling disputes in the future, be they with one another or the government? Take out guns and just take over a piece of land because, what, we can?

This is terrorism, plain and simple, and anyone who thinks it isn’t is fooling themselves.


www.DiatribesAndOvations.com said...

I completely agree. These men stopped being protesters and started being criminals as soon as they brought weapons to the scene.

It's amazingly clear that the balance of "people with guns" versus "people with educations" is drastically askew.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Sadly Bob you are right; whites are treated differently, here and in the US. And where will it end, all the guns swilling round the US used to kill innocent people while the NRA plays the deus ex machina to stop any kind of control.

Mitchell is Moving said...

You are right on all counts, Bob. And they should be labeled as terrorists in all news reports, as well.

Fit Studs said...

Yup, like others said before me, in the comments... You're right, buddy!

the dogs' mother said...

I have been all over Oregon in my years but amazingly had to look up where Burns was on google.maps. Very, very remote.
Today the occupiers/terrorists/protesters made their demands public - release the Hammonds (who don't want anything to do with them) and the ongoing issue of federal lands - by a Tweet. A sign of the times.

anne marie in philly said...

domestic terrorist asshats; jail ALL of them!

Debbie said...

I really wonder why it is that these white men want to live like its 1860. I don't get it.