Well, the trial came up right real quick, which itself is a bit odd because usually these things pad out for months if not a full year with court fights and delays and stuff. I figured the prosecutors must have had enough of a case with the evidence on hand - these Bundy Boys videotaped themselves doing this! The whole world saw this... - that they just wanted it done-and-done.
Annnnnnnnnd... The jury in Oregon just acquitted them on all charges.
The verdicts finding Ammon Bundy, older brother Ryan Bundy and five others not guilty of a federal conspiracy drew elation from defense attorneys who spent five weeks arguing that the armed takeover amounted to a time-honored tradition of First Amendment protest and civil disobedience.
Despite overwhelming evidence these clowns occupied a federal building on federal land... with guns... with the intent to disrupt federal employees... essentially an open attempt at insurrection...
And this jury in Oregon looked at all that and said "Huh. Guess they were just showing off their camping skills."
The jury apparently bought the defense's argument that this was an honorable protest, a legitimate uprising against unlawful authority. The jury must have ignored the vandalism that took place at the wildlife preserve. The jury must have thought... well, crap, I can't comprehend what the hell this jury was thinking.
The jury must have figured this trial wasn't all that big of a deal.
This trial - and there's been a lot of them over the years - brings up the biggest vulnerability of any jury system: The jurors themselves.
We're talking about a group of people who may not necessarily be "peers" of those on trial. We get jurors who are, despite all the court instructions and seriousness of the matters at hand, are going to bring their own personal biases and perspectives. This Oregon jury had to be made up of people who at some level sympathize with the Bundy movement's arguments against federal land use laws.
White juries freeing violent White radicals. Gee, who'd a thunk it.
Worst of all: These juries are made up of people who are not experts on law, being asked for that trial to become experts. And many of them are just not up for it.
The outrage is going to spill over into this day and week. I'm sure the political landscape will get affected, because a lot of the "Alt-Right" crowd are going to be crowing about this victory over the hated Feds while everybody is going to go WTF.
Meanwhile, there's a protest going on in North Dakota over a pipeline going through a tribe's water source. I guarantee you a lot of those peaceful and unarmed protesters - most of them Natives - are going to see jail time, 'cause you know, Not White. Meanwhile, there's been protests in a lot of cities across America over this Black Lives Matter thing, with a lot of peaceful and unarmed residents - most of them Black - getting jailed half the time simply because that was their neighborhood they lived in. I figure most of them are going to see jail time, 'cause you know, Not White.
I'd argue for more protests in the streets about the inequalities of the jury system, but I figure only White Boys like me should show up for it. And not a lot of White Boys will, will we, since this is a system that benefits us, right?
This year can't end fast enough.
I hope to God this ends well.
(Update) just to add this from Vox.com:
The verdict is completely absurd.
Eight months after the nation watched an armed militia take over a wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest federal land ownership, a jury has come back and said that the militia members are “not guilty.” This includes not guilty of a charge that describes what everyone knows these militants did, considering that they live-streamed themselves doing it: conspiracy to prevent Bureau of Land Management and US Fish and Wildlife employees from doing their jobs at the wildlife refuge.
Again, this is literally what they did. They armed themselves and took over a wildlife refuge, preventing federal workers from going into the facility and doing their jobs. Ammon Bundy, the militants’ leader, even participated in interviews in which he called for more people to join him in his cause...
...The defense argued there was no intent to keep federal employees off the refuge. But come on. An armed group occupied a federal building. Your imagination doesn’t have to stretch very far to realize what was happening.
Yet a jury found them not guilty.
It is impossible to ignore race here. This was a group of armed white people, mostly men, taking over a facility. Just imagine: What would happen if a group of armed black men, protesting police brutality, tried to take over a police facility and hold it hostage for more than a month? Would they even come out alive and get to trial? Would a jury find them and their cause relatable, making it easier to send them back home with no prison time?...
At some point, the reality that juries are going to be habitually biased is going to sink in.
At some point, the Angry White Guy movement is going to cross a line nobody can excuse or defend, even the damned NRA (who sells White Fear to make profits off of guns). And of course, when that happens a whole lot of innocent people are going to pay for it.