In a move that is being characterized as either a heroic stand against tyranny or a case of domestic terrorism, and everything in between, a group of people protesting the treatment of two Oregon ranchers has taken over a building on a large chunk of federally owned land.
The building is apparently unused, but the protesters are packing guns, so the Left is screaming bloody murder despite the gathering of self-described patriots being peaceful, if a bit in the face of the government.
Liberal talk show host Montel Williams went so far as to tweet his encouragement for sending in the National Guard with orders to “shoot to kill.”
Because liberals view everything through the prism of skin color and the protesters are for the most part white and conservative, somehow this is being turned into a racist event by the nutjobs on the Left. One twit named Qasim Rashid, Esq., tweeted, “If 150 armed Muslims took over a chicken coop there’d be a worldwide terror alert. But 150 armed white folk seize a federal building & meh.”
Still not sure when “Muslim” became a skin color, but the intent is clear.
What the protesters themselves claim to be doing is protecting their constitutional rights. Whether you agree is probably subject to some interpretation.
The folks who have “seized” the empty building broke off from a larger protest against the sentences given to ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who are expected to turn themselves in to authorities to begin serving four-year sentences for arson.
The sentences derive from two incidents when the Hammonds say they set fires on their own land to clear non-native vegetation and the flames spread to federally owned property. Although they put out the fires themselves, the pair were still sent to prison for a time.
Here’s the part that’s really got some folks upset. After the Hammonds had served their sentence and been released, another court decided their sentences weren’t long enough and gave them four more years.
I’m no lawyer, but that doesn’t exactly sound legal. Nonetheless, the Hammonds were planning to turn themselves in when the protest took place. Scores of people from that protest broke off and took over the building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge some 30 miles away, refusing to leave. The Hammonds seem to want nothing to do with the Malheur occupation for their part.
The group, which resembles a Boy Scout jamboree more than a smoldering rebel alliance, says it plans to stay “for years” and turn the building into a patriot headquarters to protest an overreaching federal government that it believes has oppressed ranchers by taking land that should rightly be usable by them.
That’s according to Ammon Bundy, group spokesman and son of rancher Cliven Bundy of previous federal standoff fame. Because of his father’s previous experience standing up to the Bureau of Land Management, and because there are big, nasty guns in sight, the whole Oregon affair is prepackaged by liberals as extra scary with a dollop of cold sweat.
According to Bundy, however, the group has no intention of shooting anyone unless the feds start shooting first.
While the Left screams terrorism, the group’s only real offenses so far seem to be trespassing, plus the heinous anti-PC crimes of being opposed to federal government overreach and owning a gun at the same time.
If that’s the bar for terrorism, it’s set pretty low. At this point, the group hasn’t actually done anything that Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter haven’t done, and they’ve done it without verbally or physically harassing anyone or committing any vandalism. I’ll bet they also bathe regularly, which puts them brackets above Occupy.
The group’s actual goals for their “seige” are a bit murky, even if the participants are well-intentioned. So the real danger here is that some hothead in the Obama Administration will go in like Williams suggests and turn this into another Ruby Ridge or Waco fiasco.