Mention Oregon – I guarantee armed militia doesn’t come to mind. Above all U.S. states, Oregon conjures images of Birkenstocks, Tofurkey and craft beer. A polite, mind your own business, unassuming enclave of hippies and loggers – boy, was I wrong.
News of Saturday’s armed “militia” occupation of a federal building shattered notions of sleepy little Oregon. Led by Ammon Bundy ( son of Nevada’s Cliven Bundy – see link below ) out of state “patriots” seized headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, promising to occupy federal property “for years” if necessary. Armed occupation followed a march in Burns, Oregon to protest prosecution of local ranchers Steven and Dwight Hammond Jr. for burning brush on federal land.
“He said many would be willing to fight — and die, if necessary — to defend what they see as constitutionally protected rights for states, counties and individuals to manage local lands.”
“The best possible outcome is that the ranchers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down forever and the federal government will relinquish such control,” he said. “What we’re doing is not rebellious. What we’re doing is in accordance with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.”
Ammon, his brother Ryan and indeterminate number of hard core militia posted a call for all patriots to join them in Oregon. Ammon’s Facebook post urging concerned militia (and weapons) to make their way to Malheur refuge has been taken down by Facebook.
Holy crap sentiments are difficult to define. Days of applying Canadian sensibilities to American behavior are long gone. Despite an enormous capacity to suspend belief in matters of the sacred U.S. constitution – how could this not be considered domestic terrorism? Could a band of African Americans hunker down, weapons ready in occupation and defense of their constitutional rights? How about Muslim Americans storming a federal building to protest unfounded racial profiling?
The Hammonds broke the law, as did Ammon’s father Cliven Bundy when charged with tax evasion. Since when does proclaiming yourself a “patriot” negate consequences of flagrant disregard for law? In which alternate dimension does white America get to strut like Peacocks under the guise of constitutional privilege?
Self proclaimed patriots, armed and in possession of government property, strikes me as criminal. Each and every one of these numskulls should be prosecuted and sent to prison. For the life of me, why America fuddles about in such cases eludes reason.