Friday, January 8, 2016

Criminals Take Refuge In Burns


In a nutshell, Dwight & Steve Hammond burned federal land, once to conceal poaching, and again to protect their own ranch from wild fires.  The two men were convicted of arson, but were sentenced below minimum guidelines.  After they served their time, the courts corrected the error and resentenced the Hammonds.

In response to the new sentence, members of the Bundy family lead a militant takeover of a federal wildlife refuge.  During the resulting standoff, the Hammonds distanced themselves from the Bundy's actions and surrendered to authorities to accept their sentence.  Now the Bundy militia is refusing to leave the refuge building until the government turns thousands of acres of federal land over to private ranchers.

I get the whole double jeopardy thing.  It's actually not double jeopardy.  Since the first judge made a legal error, jeopardy never attached, but I get why it looks like double jeopardy to some people. Yet, I think the Bundies pounced on the situation to push their own agenda.

The whole thing reminds me of the "Occupy [your city here] Movement" of a few years ago.  A protest over student debt became a movement about adopting a four day work week, erasing ALL consumer debt, and campaign finance reform.  The same thing's happened in Burns.  What began as a protest over a perceived judicial snafu has turned into a land grab by criminals.

Whether, or not, the Hammonds serve additional prison time has nothing to do with who owns refuge land.   If it ever truly was about helping the Hammonds, the occupation ceased to be about that the moment other demands were levied.  There's nothing heroic or noble in the militia's actions.  These are simply criminals who are putting their agenda above the law,

Governor Kate Brown released the following public statement Thursday afternoon, "To members of the Burns-Paiute Tribe and residents of Harney County who seek a return to normal life: I hear you, and I agree that what started as a peaceful and legal protest has become unlawful. It was instigated by outsiders whose tactics we Oregonians don't agree with. Those individuals illegally occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge need to decamp immediately and be held accountable."

Ammon Bundy responded by telling the press his militia will only leave the refuge as "free men."  He has to know that's impossible.  He has to know they'll be arrested the moment they come out.  If the government meets even one of their demands and/or fails to prosecute them, the government will be encouraging future criminal acts by those with an ax to grind.


  1. I understand they have been free to leave every night and are spending their nights in motels in the area. I say, block access to the road in and make them stay there overnight and then shut the power off. Without nice amenities and a bed, this thing will end.

    There is one caveat, of course. They know this is likely to happen and they have moved their women and children to the refuge, thus making it very hard for authorities to mess with their comfort and safety there. And then you have to wonder: what kind of lowlife uses his kin as human shields?

    Nice work, James!

    1. I agree. Cut their supply lines, and they'll come out when they get hungry. Thanks.