Why Is a Militia Group Taking Over a Federal Building?

An armed group has taken over a federal building in Oregon, has threatened any police who might come to remove them, and is calling for a revolution. Under normal circumstances this should be a a call for the national guard and an extraction attempt, as well as a public debate about whether or not this constitutes treason. Instead, the response has been a slow one, and an alarming amount of people are siding with the members of the group itself. So why exactly have the self-proclaimed militia taken over a national wildlife refuge, and what is stopping the government from dealing with an armed group who claims they are revolutionaries?

The current standoff began first as a march in protest of the mandatory minimum sentencing of two local ranchers, a father and son. The Hammonds had been sentenced for starting fires on government property – twice – and despite receiving short sentences which they served, they were now being told they must serve longer sentences because the land they burned was federal property. So-called “Patriot” groups gathered in Burns, Ore., to protest the new sentences. Rather than go home after their march, however, many decided to converge upon the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and take it over as their new headquarters for apparently overthrowing the federal government.

Among those at the refuge? Ammon Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy of the Nevada cattle standoff. Ammon appears to be leading the militia movement in the refuge, according to Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone. “Ammon Bundy appears to be leading the takeover,” writes Dickinson. ”In a video posted to Facebook, he declares: ‘We have basically taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And this will become a base place for patriots from all over the country to come and be housed here and to live here. And we’re planning on staying here for several years.’ Calling his group ‘the point of the spear,’ Ammon Bundy called on like-minded militants to ‘bring your arms.’”

Ironically, the Hammonds don’t really appear to want the Bundys to be in charge – or for any sort of armed endeavor in the first place.

“According to media reports, the Hammonds haven’t asked for the militia’s help,” reports Raw Story. “’Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family,’ the Hammonds’ attorney, W. Alan Schroeder wrote to Harney County Sheriff David Ward, according to local station KOIN.”

Regardless of who invited them or who opposed their presence, the militia is inside, and they are telling media they are “willing to kill or be killed” if necessary. Likely, it won’t be, however, since local law enforcement has given the group wide berth. Now the FBI is getting involved as well and says it is dedicated to finding a “peaceful” solution. “The FBI has taken charge of the law enforcement response to an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, saying that it will work with local and state authorities to seek ‘a peaceful resolution to the situation,’” reports the Washington Post. “’Due to safety considerations for both those inside the refuge as well as the law enforcement officers involved, we will not be releasing any specifics with regards to the law enforcement response,’ the FBI said in a statement.”

Obviously, no one wants bloodshed and taking a step back to negotiate in order to save lives is always a good thing. Yet a look at how the last “Bundy standoff” turned out is a reminder of what happens when the federal government completely caves to the demands of the so-called Patriot movement. After allowing Cliven Bundy and his sons to have a government showdown that only ended after one participant suggested putting women on the front line as a human shield, two gun happy members of the standoff crew eventually went on to plot to take over a courthouse and execute public officials – a plot that never came to fruition because they died in a shooting spree after killing a civilian and two police officers.

So far there is no estimate for a timeline for ending the Wildlife standoff. Meanwhile, the two ranchers that the militia say they are protesting on behalf of? They have already agreed to go serve their sentences.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

130 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y3 years ago

For those of us raised in the West who love the land this is a travesty. Hopefully it won't turn into a tragedy; the Feds are handling it smartly this time. Look, I think the Hammonds should not have to serve twice, it seems almost like double jeopardy. Just fine them and let it go. Everyone agrees they deserve their day in court, this is not a pro- or anti-government thing out here. On the other hand we don't need amateurs trying to do controlled burns, especially on public land. Let the Forest Service scientists do that, it's what they're paid for. Fires can get really out of hand with the droughts in the West now. You need to have a large crew on hand and firefighting capability in case it suddenly spreads or the wind turns. So that's why the consensus here is the fines were fair (even the Hammonds agreed), but the second sentence is maybe too much.

That being said, who in heck asked the Bundys are any other out-of-state nuts to come here and occupy a refuge? The Malheur Reserve is supported by local residents including hunters and ranchers! It means birds and other wildlife have a place to recover and build up their numbers where it won't interfere with ranching or recreational uses. What are these outta-town guys trying to do? We hope they freeze their butts off and go home. Malheur to them, hopefully (it means misfortune in French, I pray it's only theirs).

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Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson3 years ago

Marianne and Mike... Y'all are way too creative for me to compete against in a naming contest. I give you each the top score: TENS all 'round, lol;)))

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Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

P.S. to Mike Kelly:

I just realized: that would make them "yee-hawdists."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA!

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Marianne C.
Marianne C3 years ago

@ Mike Kelly:

How about "Yee-haw Qaeda?"

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Tony Lyons
Away L3 years ago

That the country has so many lethal weapons at large is one problem... that t some of the media 'romanticise' what these well armed thugs are doing is the other problem... As has been said, had they been black they'd be in a gang... had they been Muslim they'd be terrorists... 'Ranchers' is not adequate to describe their ignorant, self-serving thuggery.

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Mike Kelly

We need better names for these white terrorists in hobby-horse cowboy-costumes who take up arms against the United States of America.

How about: "Y'all Qaeda" or "Vanilla ISIS"

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Ake Lindberg
Past Member 3 years ago

What if the thieves were black? The police had killed them at once without any warnings!

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Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson3 years ago

Marianne,
I wish I could send you a hundred stars for your intelligent and hysterical remarks! You are fantastic:)!!!

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Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson3 years ago

If this land is to change hands, it should be returned to the native tribes from which it was stolen!!! Certainly NOT given to ranchers and loggers for their individual profits for them to desecrate and abuse it!!!
Any person of reasonable intelligence would have to agree that if heavily armed Muslims or blacks had taken over a federal building, the bloody end to such a siege would've occurred shortly after this illegal seizure.
I should stress, REASONABLE INTELLIGENCE. It seems some commenters on this thread are teetering on a borderline IQ level of about 70 or so.
The mere fact that the Hammonds have distanced themselves from the group which claims to have started this protest on behalf of them is telling in itself.
If they don't leave with fair warning, bring out the teargas and drones....

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