As you’ve probably heard by now, a group of far-right, anti-government “patriots” have taken control of a federal facility in Oregon, led by two of Cliven Bundy’s sons. The group includes anti-Muslim extremist Jon Ritzheimer. They are doing this to protest the fact that a father and son there are scheduled to go back to prison for committing arson that burned more than 100 acres of wildlife refuge.
Some background. Dwight and Steven Hammond are a local father and son who were convicted of arson after setting fire to 139 acres of a federal wildlife refuge that borders their property. They were sent to prison, but an appeals court ruled that the district court had erred in applying federal sentencing guidelines and ordered them returned to prison to serve out the remainder of the longer, proper sentence. But as Vox points out, it’s really about federal ownership of land and the scope of federal authority.
But the Hammonds’ political cause isn’t primarily about sentencing. Rather, it’s about federal land use — and opposition to what is seen as an intrusive or outright illegal federal government.
Federal agencies own and regulate huge chunks of land in western states like Oregon and Nevada. As such, those with anti-government views, particularly in western states, often focus on the federal government ‘s land-use policies. Hence the significance of the Hammonds’ case — and the change to their sentencing, which just further fed into views of a tyrannical federal government out of control.
So it’s a repeat of the Bundy ranch standoff of a couple years ago. In both cases, we have people who refused to comply with the law, were on the receiving end of a perfectly valid court order and then screamed TYRANNY and called for armed wingnuts to come and defend them. And these are the kind of far-right extremists who bizarrely believe that the highest level of legal authority in the country are county sheriffs. And these dimwits claim to be defending the Constitution, for crying out loud.
In fact, the self-declared militia leaders have called for the local sheriff to put the Hammonds under protective custody in order to prevent federal marshals from returning them to prison. And there is some indication that they seized the federal wildlife refuge headquarters in Burns, Oregon with the intent of giving them a place to hold up against the police, with these pathetic little wannabe soldiers to protect them. But the Hammonds have said that they plan to peacefully report to prison and they have rejected the efforts of these nuts.And they are making no bones about being willing to start a fight to the death.
In a phone interview with the Oregonian, Ammond Bundy said that “would not rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them.” He called the headquarters building “the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds” and said he was “planning on staying…for years.” In a message on Facebook Bundy said he planned on establishing the facility as a base for militia members across the country…
And Ryan Bundy told a local reporter that he is “willing to kill and be killed if necessary.” The dumbass Ritzheimer, meanwhile, did his usual melodramatic Youtube video in which he said goodbye to his family to drive to Oregon, saying he is “100 percent willing to lay my life down in order to fight tyranny.”
And of course, God is on their side:
In a YouTube video released Dec. 31, Ammon Bundy says that God directed him to go to Oregon, a state he had never visited before.
“I began to understand how the Lord felt about the Hammonds,” Bundy says in the video. “I began to understand how the Lord felt about Harney County and about this country. And I clearly understood that the Lord was not pleased with what was happening to the Hammonds… If we allowed the Hammonds to continue to be punished, there would be accountability.”
Yes, yes, yes, God is always on the side of the most horrible people, it seems. And honestly, part of me really does wonder if it’s time to give these people what they want. What they want is to spark a war with the government, a showdown over their bizarre ideology. And frankly, I’m just getting sick of these douchebags. As a pragmatic matter, it’s probably a bad idea. A lot of people would likely die. But isn’t it kind of inevitable anyway? These people can’t be reasoned with. Their minds are trapped inside every stupid conspiracy theory anyone among them can pull out of their ass. It’s likely to happen sooner or later anyway, isn’t it?
And why isn’t this being called terrorism? If 150 Muslims took over a federal building, it would be terrorism.