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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Bundy brothers are not entirely nuts

This blog does not a dog in the fight surrounding the occupation of the vacant federal wildlife refuge building in Harney County, Oregon nevertheless some context is in order. My first thought regarding the Bundy brothers was it must be great to be a Mormon husband. I shudder to think what would be said if I announced to the spouse that my brother and I would be heading out to Oregon and we may come back sometime this year. I don't have a ranch to run or children to raise but suffice it to say that my wife's thinking may not be old fashioned but it's certainly not Latter Day either.
To begin with, tension between citizens of rural Western states and the federal government seem to be the by product of Democratic administrations going back to Jimmy Carter and the Sagebrush Rebellion.  Ronald Reagan declared himself a sagebrush rebel in an August 1980 campaign speech in Salt Lake City, telling the crowd, "I happen to be one who cheers and supports the Sagebrush Rebellion. Count me in as a rebel. As president Reagan declared that the federal government would observe a "good neighbor" policy and as tensions waned so did legislative reforms spearheaded by Orrin Hatch who was a bit of a firebrand in those days. Prior to 1976 and Federal Land Policy and Management Act federal land was technically still open to homesteading and the was no Bureau of Land Management.
By the end of his first term Bill Clinton had managed to re ignite the antipathy many citizens of the rural West harbor for the federal government. The Militia Movement was born and the venerable Posse Comitatus began a new life. There was the memorable stand off with the Montana Freemen at their "Justus Township" compound and the shameful shoot out at Ruby Ridge that left one US marshal and two innocent civilians dead. Again tensions abated until the Obama administration and its penchant to control everything. Only a Trump or Cruz administration is apt to broker a temporary peace and a lasting peace most probably is dependent on legislative reform that grants more local control of federal lands.
The take over of the empty wildlife refuge building by Bundy and company certainly set the mainstream media into a frenzy. It was, after all, a challenge to the uber state that they revere. While some were quick to denounce it as terrorism the Washington Post posted an asinine treatise, Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers ‘terrorists’? which only implied they were terrorists. Washed up talk-show host turned  infomercial hustler  Montel-don't call me motel-Williams post a tweet that was captured by The Blaze.
#OregonUnderAttack by a bunch of undereducated terrorist buffoons who follow #ClivenBundy shall we send them to meet #ISIS.”
Followed by.
“Totally fine with a massive use of deadly force in Oregon to take out Ammon Bundy. #OregonUnderAttack.”
Eventually John Podhoretz of the Weekly Standard put the take over in context.

In 1973 a group of around 500 American Indians with the American Indian Movement (AIM) took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C.and held it for 7 day. They destroyed office equipment and irreplaceable records dating back 50 to 100 years yet there was no bloodshed. There was a negotiated end with some of the protesters agreeing to leave for the price of air fare home. Presumably Williams thinks they should have been shot.
Although the Bundys' tactics may strain one's sympathy for their cause their case is not without merit. A true injustice has been committed against rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond. They were not convicted of arson as reported in the media. They were convicted of domestic terrorism hence the mandatory 5 year sentence. They were over charged for starting two fires on federal land that they held under lease. It seems the jury was unaware of the domestic terrorism wrap. Bear in mind Obama is currently releasing drug dealers because,as he says, mandatory sentences are unfair.
Setting fires is not that uncommon on the open range. It is done to kill invasive weed and also to burn of combustible vegetation before it becomes a hazard. So the fires got out of hand and the Bureau of Land Management had to extinguish them. Two men in the middle of nowhere start a fire and it's terrorism? Who was terrorized? Is jail time warranted? Only if you are not part of the federal Establishment complex. Federal employees have done far, far worse with impunity. How many EPA employees have been charged in the Gold King Mine incident? Who is 3 million gallon of polluted water containing cadmium, lead and arsenic going to hurt. The EPA quickly put together a "technical evaluation" authored by 3 bureaucrats and reviewed by 3 bureaucrats. Not one person was suspended for as much as a day. Mistakes happen.
Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian killed 8 and injured 200 passengers, 11 of them critically. There is no dispute that his train was doing 102 miles per hour in a 50 mile zone yet to date no charges have been filed. Naturally the National Transportation Safety Board could not bring itself to speak ill of a fellow employee.


  1. This is one of your most comprehensive posts EVER. And funniest.

    I have avoided even reading about this because Bundy makes me nervous and I'm not much of a protester, as protests go.

    But really, those Hammonds were grievously mistreated by the government. Why anyone would trust the feds for anything? They're so corrupt, top to bottom.