Three of Cliven Bundy’s sons & 150 militia members seize federal building in Oregon
When Cliven Bundy was initially in the news, I did think he was being treated unfairly. I even went out to his ranch one day with my partner Tiffiny Ruegner to see what was happening and talk with the people there. Even though Bundy turned out to be racist and things did get tense between the Feds and the militia at his ranch, I still thought Bundy was more in the right than the Feds. That didn’t make Bundy a saint or a hero, just someone who was more right than a federal government that was trying to take away his livelihood.
I can’t say that I feel that way about this case in Oregon.
Bundy and his supporters were in Oregon after two men were scheduled to go to prison on Monday for setting fires on federal land, according to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting. The case has caused a stir in eastern Oregon because the two men were charged under anti-terrorism laws.
The two men, Dwight and Steve Hammond, appealed their cases multiple times, the report stated. They were required to report to prison on Monday.
The militia groups say the Hammond’s were illegally prosecuted for setting what they claim was a controlled fire because the federal government has no authority at the county level.
“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy told the Oregonian.
…It’s unknown if the men are armed, but Cliven Bundy told John Sepulvado with Oregon Public Broadcasting that the militiamen have enough food supplies to last “a while.”
In an interview with The Oregonian, Ammon Bundy refused to rule out violence if law enforcement officials try to intervene.
There were two fires involved. The first sounds like a straight up arson designed to cover up poaching. The second one sounded like it was merely irresponsible: a fire set while there was a burn ban that made it onto government property. That being said, the judge in the initial case thought the mandatory five year sentences were too harsh for the crimes committed. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the legal authority to reduce those sentences and both men were re-sentenced to jail.
Intelligent people can differ over whether the sentences are fair and of course, a peaceful protest is always fine. However, taking over a government building and trying to provoke a violent government response is so irresponsible that it borders on insane. It would be nice if the people involved came to their senses and called this whole thing off before anyone gets hurt, but common sense doesn’t seem so common in the age of Obama.