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