An armed militia took over a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon late Saturday and vows to occupy the outpost for years to protest the federal government’s treatment of a pair of ranchers facing prison time.
The occupation of a portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles southeast of Burns, Ore., followed a peaceful march for ranchers Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, who are scheduled to report to federal prison in San Pedro, Calif., on Monday after being convicted of arson, according to the Oregonian.
Sigh. I'll go get a new desk panel for my IKEA workstand so I can /headdesk with a fresh pressed-wood sheet.
Thing is, the Hammonds are already planning to turn themselves in to authorities to serve out their sentences, and that they were part of a peaceful protest that happened earlier in the day, and so far don't seem to have anything to do with this seizure of federal parkland going on in their community's back yard. The Hammonds just issued a statement to the local media that basically said in one sentence "WTF you all doing, we don't want you doing this."
What's happening here is outside agitators showing up with their own anti-government greivances, and unable to garner a violent response from authorities so they can play the martyr they all decided to go pro-active and instigate a more direct means of confrontation to ensure they get that martyrdom.
The angry guys leading this terrorist act are all familiar anti-government faces: three of them are from the Bundy clan out in Nevada who started an armed confrontation with authorities over unpaid fees for using federal grazing lands. Like Coates noted back in 2014 these clowns are a perfect example of privileged whites armed to the teeth to defend their criminal acts, who are then let off the hook because the government fears instigating another Waco (because THAT led to a lot of innocent people dying in terror acts like Oklahoma City).
So far, the response has been minimal by authorities, mostly local cops and national park workers monitoring from a distance. However, the lack of a more urgent response - the unusual lack of locking down the surroundings to prevent people going in or out, no barricading efforts, no word about the National Guard getting called in - is telling in its under-reaction. We've got the local communities shutting down their schools in panic, but that's been about it.
Twitter is heating up with observations about how Black protests over police shootings (Black Lives Matter) get immediate SWAT response with tear-gas and rubber bullets and batons, but a bunch of armed white guys illegal seize federal property - it falls under Seditious Conspiracy (18 US Code s2384) and carries 20 years as a felony - and everyone in a position of authority are moving like they're swimming in molasses.
Right now, there's no shooting or deaths reported. But what happens when this carries onward, from days into weeks? We've got a company of armed angry white guys, calling out to their fellow angry white guys to rally to their banner, and the ever-increasing likelihood that this is going to turn into a shootout with a body count and the Far Right enraged to the point of open warfare.
Just how far into the madness are the political and media elites who can do something about this to tone it down and lessen the anger - the Far Right Noise Machine - willing to let this all fall?