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Diatribe: The Fine Line Between “Armed Protesters” and “Terrorists”


Malheur National Wildlife RefugeWhat began as a peaceful protest and demonstration this weekend supporting Dwight and Steven Hammond, father-and-son ranchers who were convicted of arson, escalated to an armed stand-off as a group of anti-government militants took over several buildings in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon.

The group appears to be led by 40-year-old Ammon Bundy, a rancher whose family became a symbol of anti-government sentiment in 2014 when his father, Cliven Bundy, inspired a standoff between armed local anti-government activists and federal officials seeking to confiscate cattle grazing illegally on federal land in Nevada.

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.” – Harney County sheriff, David M. Ward, in a statement on Sunday.

Local families are, once again, frightened as this latest flare-up in a decades-long struggle between federal officials and local landowners over how to manage the Western range. Many ranchers in the area believe federal land policies are intrusive and overreaching. The fact remains, however, that the land belongs to the government and the ranchers are expected, obviously, to follow federal law.

“We will be here for as long as it takes. People have talked about returning land to the people for a long time. Finally, someone is making an effort in that direction.” – Ryan Payne, an Army veteran who calls the group’s action “a liberation of public lands”

Ummm … isn’t that, kinda, what ISIS is doing in the Middle East?

This isn’t the wild, wild west. Obey the law or work to change it.

Due to concerns of possible violence in the area, schools are closed until next week. Seems to me that folks in the neighborhood could use some education.


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From → Diatribes

  1. If the government just ignores these folks, the media will go home because it is a non-story and it is cold. Then, they will just go home as no one is paying attention. My hope is no one get hurt. In our country, we have a right to peaceful protest, picketing, marching, but when guns are brought in, then it makes it unjust.


    • I agree with you … to a point.

      Obviously, I hope that no one gets hurt, and I agree that lack of media attention will make it a non-story. But these aren’t bullies on a playground who can be ignored until they grow up. People must not be allowed to “take” and “occupy” federal, or any other, buildings without repercussion. Like you’ve said, these men stopped being peaceful protesters and started being criminals when they brought deadly force to the scene.


      • I fully recognize all the points made, especially if this was a non-white group. My suggestion is to ignore them and let them dissipate. This place is out in the middle of nowhere. Then arrest them when they go home for criminal trespass.

        My fear is if it gets blown out of proportion, it could get ugly. The other option is to send someone in saying if you leave now, we will give you a hearing of your issues, but you will face charges for criminal trespass. But, your sentencing may be reduced by giving up peacefully.


        • Very good ideas indeed.

          But is it only a matter of time before busloads of armed supporters fill the nation’s highways? Before other federal facilities are “taken” and “occupied”?

          I sure hope they get cold and go home soon.


  2. I have my own Two Cents on the topic:

    But, imagine if these were Black or Hispanic or Muslim “protesters.” Then the Right would be screaming that something be done.
    But white asshats with guns rule.


  3. So nice to have you back. And for the record, I think these guys crossed the line.


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