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‘Militia’ Takes Over Federal Wildlife Refuge

ammon-bundy

A group led by Ammon Bundy, son of Clive Bundy, has taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon to protest somethingorother.

Les Zaitz reporting for The Oregonian:

The Bundy family of Nevada joined with hard-core militiamen Saturday to take over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, vowing to occupy the remote federal outpost 30 miles southeast of Burns for years.

The occupation came shortly after an estimated 300 marchers — militia and local citizens both — paraded through Burns to protest the prosecution of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who are to report to prison on Monday.

Among the occupiers is Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and two of his brothers. Militia members at the refuge claimed they had as many as 100 supporters with them. The refuge, federal property managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was closed and unoccupied for the holiday weekend.

In phone interviews from inside the occupied building Saturday night, Ammon Bundy and his brother, Ryan Bundy, said they are not looking to hurt anyone. But they would not rule out violence if police tried to remove them, they said.

“The facility has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed upon the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy said.

“We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” he added. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”

Given that the Refuge is an incredibly remote location and no civilian lives would appear to be in danger, the authorities are quite rightly treating the situation calmly.

Statement from Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward: “After the peaceful rally was completed today, a group of outside militants drove to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occupied the refuge headquarters. A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being please stay away from that area. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation.”

This is the first I’ve heard of the Hammonds. According to the DOJ:

Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, both residents of Diamond, Oregon in Harney County, were sentenced to five years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken for arsons they committed on federal lands.

A jury sitting in Pendleton, Oregon found the Hammonds guilty of the arsons after a two-week trial in June 2012.  The trial involved allegations that the Hammonds, owners of Hammond Ranches, Inc., ignited a series of fires on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), on which the Hammonds had grazing rights leased to them for their cattle operation.

The jury convicted both of the Hammonds of using fire to destroy federal property for a 2001 arson known as the Hardie-Hammond Fire, located in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area.  Witnesses at trial, including a relative of the Hammonds, testified the arson occurred shortly after Steven Hammond and his hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer on BLM property.  Jurors were told that Steven Hammond handed out “Strike Anywhere” matches with instructions that they be lit and dropped on the ground because they were going to “light up the whole country on fire.”  One witness testified that he barely escaped the eight to ten foot high flames caused by the arson.  The fire consumed 139 acres of public land and destroyed all evidence of the game violations.  After committing the arson, Steven Hammond called the BLM office in Burns, Oregon and claimed the fire was started on Hammond property to burn off invasive species and had inadvertently burned onto public lands.  Dwight and Steven Hammond told one of their relatives to keep his mouth shut and that nobody needed to know about the fire.

This, offhand, does not strike me as tyranny. Indeed, offhand, the Hammonds strike me as psychopaths who ought to have been in a federal prison long ago. Why they’re not in jail now—the conviction occurred in October—baffles me.

I’m more libertarian than the next guy but don’t understand the fascination around such as the Hammonds and Bundys, who apparently think the entire country is some sort of commons for them to use as they please. We’ve had federal parks, wildlife refuges, and the like going back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt; how that has diminished our freedom of Americans is not clear.

Irrespective of the grounds for their grievances, insurrection is an unacceptable solution. They have to be brought to justice. But, again, there appears to be no reason to be in a hurry about it given that they’re holed up in a remote location with little ability to harm others. We don’t need another Waco situation on our hands.

Some on my social media feeds have been rather over-the-top in their reaction to this.

This isn’t “treason.” As defined in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Storming federal property, holding it by force of arms, and issuing threats of violence are all felonies. They’re not treason.

Nor is it “terrorism” in any meaningful sense. While it technically meets the federal law definition of  ”domestic terrorism” in that they’ve take “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States” that “appear to be intended . . . to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” the charge would rightly be laughed out of court absent significantly more violence than has happened to this date.

Nor is it analogous to the tragic and all-to-common situations in which police officers overreact and shoot unarmed blacks. We can be rightly outraged by the killing of children brandishing toy guns or the use of disproportionate force against those resisting arrest while still acknowledging that split-second decisions made under stress are different than planned responses to an in-progress incident. Police would be reacting the same way if this were the New Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. JKB says:

    Wait, I thought Occupy movements were “a good thing”?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 40

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    ” Police would be reacting the same way if this were the New Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter”

    Seriously? Do you really reckon that if, say, 150 armed Muslims were doing this, the National Guard would not be all over them?

    And as for the Black Panthers: not only did they have many armed engagements with the authorities, them waiving guns in a way reminiscent of the Bundy people led to a whole wave of restrictions on open carry- endorsed by Ronald Reagan.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 3

  3. Mikey says:

    This isn’t “treason.”

    This is actually a terrorist act. These people have occupied a government facility under force of arms, and expressed a willingness to do violence in pursuit of a political aim.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 2

  4. James Joyner says:

    @humanoid.panda: If they took over a wildlife refuge in the middle of nowhere? Yes. Same result.

    @Mikey: I’ve addressed that. I accidentally published before I finished writing that part of the post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  5. humanoid.panda says:

    @James Joyner: Well, unfortunately we can’t run a natural experiment on this, but I think you are suffering from a failure of imagination here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 4

  6. humanoid.panda says:

    Nor is it “terrorism” in any meaningful sense. While it technically meets the federal law definition of ”domestic terrorism” in that they’ve take “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States” that “appear to be intended . . . to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” the charge would rightly be laughed out of court absent significantly more violence than has happened to this date.

    The occupation itself probably doesn’t constitute terrorism. The fact that they publicly brag about having BLM agents under sights in Nevada, and say they wil do so again in Oregon, pushes them over that threshold.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  7. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner: We’ll see how it turns out. People have been arrested, tried, and imprisoned under anti-terrorism laws for doing much less than what this “militia” has just done.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  8. SenyorDave says:

    SWLM – Spoiled white lives matter. Not only do these assclowns not get everything they want in life, people less deserving (any non-white people) sometimes have more than they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  9. JKB says:

    John comes to power in 1199 and England is more or less bankrupt. In order to raise money for the crown he has to get creative. At the time, as a result of William the Conqueror a century earlier, there’s a concept called the Royal Forest. A Royal Forest doesn’t necessarily have trees. It’s just a parcel of land. It could be heath or swamp or hills or forest. You’re not allowed to cause any damage to the animals or greenery of the Royal Forest unless you pay for the privilege.

    That’s a nice little moneymaker, so what do you do if you’re John? That’s right. You expand the Royal Forest. By the time of the Magna Carta the Royal Forest is up to something like 20% of the land in England. What this means, essentially, is that if you own land that has been afforested by the crown, you now have to pay for the privilege to use your own land. If you own a bit of fenland that’s no good for anything but pigs, you have to pay pannage even though there’s no other use for it. If you want to heat your hovel in the winter, you’re paying estover for firewood and turbary for turf. If you want to keep a cow and that cow is going to eat grass, that’s agistment. That’s on land you theoretically own, mind.

    This is King John riding o’er the sward. I’ve never been exactly sure what a sward is, but you can bet that if you owned one you were bloody well going to be paying swardage on it.

    There are instances of entire villages being burned out in advance of afforestation amounting essentially to seizure of land. The law of the forest was enforced somewhat arbitrarily and without due process. You could be blinded or mutilated or killed for poaching a deer. You could be severely fined for just about anything.

    The Magna Carta and the companion document the Charter of the Forest are a rare example of what happens when you push Monarchic rights too far. The Magna Carta disafforests all of the land taken by the crown during John’s reign and basically ensures that it can never happen again. The Charter of the Forest basically establishes personal property law. In one fell swoop the Magna Carta gets rid of unreasonable taxation, unreasonable seizure, establishes due process of law and ensures a properly sized pint.

    Well, it seems the other side of the story is that the men set preventive fires on their own property that then burned some less than 140 acres of federal land. 140 acres sounds like a lot but it a pittance compared to what the feds “accidentally” burn when they have a burn plan go bad.

    In any case, it is not quite a black and white as presented. And the Royal Forest agencies have been being quite hostile to individuals in the last few years. May just settle peaceably, may just be a tragedy or it may actually provoke change as it did in 1215.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 59

  10. Chip Daniels says:

    This sounds more analogous to the MOVE standoff in Philadelphia back in the 80s or 90s.
    As I recall, the cops ended up using a bomb to dislodge the occupiers.

    James is correct on the most narrow legalistic grounds of course, but what makes this alarming is the way their actions are continually escalating. With each appeasement by the law enforcement, they get bolder, and their plans grow bigger.

    Part of me wants to compare this with ISIS, where a radical group is deliberately seeking to provoke and engage, and wants a bloody apocalypse. Which means we should try to avoid being drawn into exactly what they want.

    But another is that the nation is watching, and the notion that we would treat a group of Muslims doing this is ludicrous on its face.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 2

  11. Davebo says:

    They have to be brought to justice. But, again, there appears to be no reason to be in a hurry about it given that they’re holed up in a remote location with little ability to harm others.

    Well I suppose we could wait them out spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in manpower.

    But then, we did that with these people already in Nevada didn’t we? If indeed there are 100 or more people in the group (which I doubt) they should be dealt with immediately. Arrests should be made and let them take their chances with the federal criminal justice system.

    We should absolutely not repeat the same mistake made before with these fools.

    The only upside is that with any luck no of them will be allowed to legally posses a firearm for the rest of their pathetic lives.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 1

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Police would be reacting the same way if this were the New Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter.

    James, your naivete is matched only by your willful ignorance. Tell me, how many “militia men” were arrested for their clearly criminal acts during the Bundy Ranch standoff?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  13. SenyorDave says:

    @JKB: I’m not understanding the “other side of the story” in this case. Hammond and his people illegally slaughtered deer on BLM property and then committed arson on the property to cover up their crime. The arson actually put at least one person at risk. What’s next? the Hammonds go to Yellowstone and illegally shoot some of those pesky bears. Then they can set some fires there, and I guess we’ll have another case of the “other side of the story” not being told.
    The Hammonds burned taxpayer lands in act of arson, diminishing their value, and then cost additional taxpayer money in putting out the fire.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 3

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    I’m sorry James but you are wrong on this one. I have visited Malheur Wildlife Refuge many times and it is truly a national treasure. These people are terrorists and should be treated as such. They should be given a chance to surrender and if they refuse I don’t really have a problem with their being shot and killed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 7

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    I’m sorry James but you are wrong on this one. I have visited Malheur Wildlife Refuge many times and it is truly a national treasure. These people are terrorists and should be treated as such. They should be given a chance to surrender and if they refuse I don’t really have a problem with their being shot and killed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  16. steve says:

    “Well, it seems the other side of the story is that the men set preventive fires on their own property that then burned some less than 140 acres of federal land.”

    Yes, that was their side of the story. Witnesses to the act say they deliberately set a fire to cover up some illegal deer kills. They had a trial and the judge/jury did not believe their version.

    James- They could be psychopaths. More likely, especially since militia are involved, they are part of the group out there that government does not have the right to set limits upon them that they do not like or accept.

    Steve

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  17. Jim says:
  18. Ebase22 says:

    Side thought: with the legal definition of domestic terrorism, wouldn’t that include any type of theoretical rebellion or uprising? There’s definetally a distinction between an armed rebellion and terrorism I would think.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  19. MarkedMan says:

    I think the rather obvious is being missed here. They are not just terrorists but Christian terrorists.Bundy’s son has literally said that God made his will known to him and he would be punished if he didn’t mount an armed resistance. So – there are Christians reading this comments section. Are you obligated to denounce his actions and point out that not all Christians are terrorists? JKB is obviously sympathetic to these terrorists and posting encouragement on OTB. Should James be turning this sympathizes contact information over to the Feds?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  20. CSK says:

    I swear my first thought on reading this was: “They’re bucking for their own reality show.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  21. bill says:

    it’s a cabin in the woods- not like some urban building where anyone would care……google it, who even cares about some cowboys “occupying” a veritable “rest stop”?! i mean, aside from the msm?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 32

  22. CSK says:

    @bill:

    This wildlife refuge is apparently very popular with hunters (waterfowl and upland birds), photographers, birdwatchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts whose taxes pay for the facility. Can they use it safely while these loons are occupying headquarters?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  23. Xenos says:

    It is as much my land as it is theirs.

    I want my government to get these obnoxious squatters out of there ASAP. These cretins have a lot of nerve waltzing in with guns into MY bird sanctuary. This attempt at adverse possession by force of arms on my land deserves a forceful police response.

    They want a war? Let them have it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  24. @bill: By that logic anyone should feel free to gather some armed friends and just take over anything that is remote. I mean, really, who cares?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  25. walt moffett says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    I think more like the Edward and Elaine Brown siege or the much earlier Montana Freemen situation. Isolated area, like risk of harm to others, so wait them out. No need for an Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc to get everybody cranking out reams of reports, agitated and/or create martyrs for the cause.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. Chip Daniels says:

    @walt moffett:
    As much as I don’t want to make anyone into martyrs, I also notice how the appeasement at Bundy Ranch only emboldened them.
    The federals have to end this, one way or another, and let it be known this sort of thing won’t be tolerated.

    But just in case they don’t, I got dibs on Yosemite.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  27. CSK says:

    @walt moffett:

    One problem with this: As I pointed out, it’s supposed to be open to a very large constituency of hunters, hikers, bicyclists, boaters, photographers, horseback riders, and school groups for nature study. It may be remote, but the public uses it.

    I can see this pack of bozos starting a shooting match with some legitimate hunters. You know they’re just itching to do that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  28. Mu says:

    @Xenos: No no no, it’s theirs. They’re part of a small group that “leases” huge tracts of public land for pennies, and considers those lands their property. They don’t accept the whole concept of “land being held in trust for the nation”, it’s the wicked government holding back their natural rights. Happens all the time here out west whenever some public land use interferes with their unchallenged rule, be it wolves being reintroduced or some piece closed off for mining or drilling.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  29. Pch101 says:

    Police would be reacting the same way if this were the New Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter.

    I do hope that you were using the sarcasm font.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  30. Argon says:

    First “Occupy Wall St”, now more hippie nonsense…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  31. Gustopher says:

    If it was a peaceful occupation — i.e., no guns — and they were doing no damage, I would say wait them out. I’d prefer to err on the side of freedom of speech for political protesters, and charge them with trespass when they are done.

    But, this isn’t a peaceful occupation. And this isn’t the first time they have had an armed standoff. If they can be contained and starved out quickly and surrender, then great. Otherwise, we have to end this, and unfortunately with force. And, since they have a lot of guns and are a threat to our law enforcement officers, it’s going to have to be lethal force.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  32. CSK says:

    Apparently, all the schools in Harney County have been shut down for the coming week because of this. Swell. Just swell.

    Bundy–who claims the Lord is directing him–says he wants to die a free man. Sure hope he doesn’t take a lot of innocents with him.

    It occurs to me that a really great use of some public land–and taxpayer money–would be to build a giant theme park where these $h!t-for-brains could exercise and exorcise their Davy Crockett fantasies

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  33. al-Ameda says:

    If that militia was Black, we’d be reading about the body count.

    All it it took was the election of a moderate Black president to bring these people out of their bunkers and basements.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  34. C. Clavin says:

    We held Muslims in Gitmo, without process, that did less.
    I say level that building and teach white Christian domestic terrorists a lesson.
    Given Republican attitudes towards terrorists I would expect bi-partisan support for this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  35. C. Clavin says:

    What was it Ted Cruz said?
    Let’s make that part of Oregon glow in the dark….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  36. C. Clavin says:

    Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb Oregon….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  37. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Remind me to bring up this thread if my fellow liberals start to pontificate about how the NRA people are just itching for an excuse to shoot people in the next gun control thread ;-).

    Let’s be clear: from my point of view the use of lethal force by the state should generally be limited to situations where it is required to prevent the loss of life and liberty. Shooting people because they inhibit some property rights in the backend of nowhere should not be punishable by death no matter how obnoxious the gits are.

    What should be done is to starve them out, nab every single one with overwhelming force once he leaves the protection of the group and then both charge them with intended manslaughter as well as present them the bill for the entire “starving out operation”. That should be hopefully enough to encourage copycats.

    The Bundy people were not encouraged because there was no Waco-style shootout the last time. They were encouraged because they faced absolutely no penalty for their behaviour afterwards.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 0

  38. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Could someone rescue my comment? Thanks :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Remind me to bring up this thread if my fellow liberals start to ponteficate about how the NRA people are just itching for an excuse to shoot people in the next gun control thread ;-).

    Let’s be clear: from my point of view the use of lethal force by the state should generally be limited to situations where it is required to prevent the loss of life and liberty. Shooting people because they inhibit some property rights in the backend of nowhere should not be punishable by death no matter how obnoxious the gits are.

    What should be done is to starve them out, nab every single one with overwhelming force once he leaves the protection of the group and then both charge them with intended manslaughter as well as present them the bill for the entire “starving out operation”. That should be hopefully enough to encourage copycats.

    The Bundy people were not encouraged because there was no Waco-style shootout the last time. They were encouraged because they faced absolutely no penalty for their behaviour afterwards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Pch101 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    If that militia was Black, we’d be reading about the body count.

    If they were armed blacks, then they would be labeled as a gang or terrorist group. It’s only white thugs who have the gall to refer to themselves as a “militia.”

    They forget the fact that a militia has the president as its commander in chief. If Obama commands them to stand down, then of course they’ll obey their leader…right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  41. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Test. Can I post anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    Could someone release my comment from filter hell? Thanks a lot :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Gromitt Gunn says:

    If 100 *unarmed* Black LIves Matter activists had taken over the County Administration building where the Tamir Rice prosecutors work over a holiday weekend, there would already be bloodshed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  44. MattT says:

    @JKB: Except, unlike the British whose lands were seized by King John, the Hammonds never owned what is now the wildlife refuge. They merely lost their favorable (ie, taxpayer subsidized) grazing rights. To apply a phrase that’s popular in militia circles – they want their free shit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  45. @JKB:

    Well, it seems the other side of the story is that the men set preventive fires on their own property that then burned some less than 140 acres of federal land.

    Perhaps you missed the part where that defense was rejected in court and they were convicted of arson?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 1

  46. KM says:

    One part of this that’s not getting much attention is the fact that these losers are protesting the injustice of mandatory minimums…. or more specifically, that the Hammonds managed to get out of them originally via illegal “judicial activism” and are now being expected to fulfill the rest of their sentences as per the appeal. That’s some serious privilege right there – to expect to get out of mandatory minimums and throw armed temper tantrums when that doesn’t happen.

    Bundy and his ilk are VERY clear in that they don’t think laws apply to them. These are convicted criminals refusing to go to jail as required by a lawful trial/conviction and the dangerous nutcases harboring them. If it was anyone else other then angry white rural males threatening to pull Ruby Ridge Part 2, would we even be having this conversation or would they be back in their cells already?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  47. @Ebenezer_Arvigenius: Agreed. There is no reason to start talking about shooting people. I do hope there are serious consequences for this behavior and lament the lack of consequences for the Bundy clan’s previous misbehavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  48. CSK says:

    According to CBS News, the Hammonds don’t want Bundy’s help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    Let’s be clear: from my point of view the use of lethal force by the state should generally be limited to situations where it is required to prevent the loss of life and liberty. Shooting people because they inhibit some property rights in the backend of nowhere should not be punishable by death no matter how obnoxious the gits are.

    When the gits are holed up with a lot of weapons, and are threatening to shoot any police who come near — and, anyone in the area they think might be a law enforcement officer — they cannot be given unlimited patience. And, when they are trying to encourage others to join them, they are creating an increasingly dangerous situation.

    They can surrender at any time, but at some point we have to clear them out if they don’t.

    Short version: if you carry a gun and threaten people with it, you must be stopped.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  50. Jeremy R says:

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/01/02/3735576/150-armed-militia-members-take-over-federal-building/

    In an ominous sign, one member of the group, Jon Ritzheimer, posted a goodbye video to his family on YouTube today. “I want to die a free man,” Ritzheimer says.

    Ritzheimer was the guy behind heavily armed anti-islam demonstrations outside mosques in Arizona and other related threatening displays:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3337435/Armed-anti-Islam-protester-threatens-New-York-confront-Muslim-newspaper.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  51. @Gustopher: It is one thing to acknowledge that the situation could end in violence. It is another to call for the shooting to start now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  52. Lit3Bolt says:

    “White Christian Terrorists Treated With Kid Gloves By Authorities”

    I know it’s not the same situation, and I agree with the official response to give these losers the time and space they need to figure out they’re idiots, but it’s amazing to see the double standard so flagrantly displayed.

    Why do police officers leap at negotiation and blockade tactics for white criminals, and white terrorists, but “feel threatened” by black homeless people armed with nail clippers and thus must use lethal force?

    The eternal American mystery, ladies and gentlemen.

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  53. Jeremy R says:

    Ian Kullgren, reporter for the Oregonian:

    https://twitter.com/IanKullgren/status/683524884484390912

    I talked to Ryan Bundy on the phone again. He said they’re willing to kill and be killed if necessary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: when should the shooting start? I mean, I agree, not now, give them a little time to cool off and come to their senses and surrender, but how long?

    How large of a perimeter do we put in place around armed thugs? The larger the perimeter, the safer it is, but the greater the expense. And, since this is woodlands, there is enough cover for the armed thugs that the perimeter isn’t really safe.

    And, at some point, the thugs are going to get hungry, and start venturing out to hunt varmint and the like. With guns. And come across law enforcement officers of one stripe or another.

    We cannot leave them there indefinitely. How long do you want to leave them? I say about a week, less if we see other armed thugs trying to move in to give them support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  55. @Lit3Bolt: That there are some clear varying standards on display here is clear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JKB: I think you and James are missing the point. We are living in times where a bunch of towelheads have invaded our country and are stirring up restive anarchy in both our nation and countless other nations around the world. It’s time for the government to take a tough stand to show the world at large that we are not going to be ordered around even if that weak-kneed Obama is still president for 11 months.

    We should blow up the office in an aerial carpet bomb raid. Since it is winter, the possibility of range damage is greatly reduced and it will be cheaper to build a new office building (next to the Malheur Forest Commemorative Anti-terrorism Monmument) than it would be to extricate those wingnuts, try and imprison them.

    And if they happen to be people that I would count as political enemies, that’s just icing on the cake. The more important thing is surely the solving of a contentious problem in a convincing and budget friendly way. Long live “WE THE PEOPLE!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  57. @Gustopher: I do not know enough about the logistics of the situation to have a definitive answer.

    I do not deny that force may have to be used by law enforcement, I just think that some folks are letting their frustration get the best of them at the moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Xenos: Exactly! LONG LIVE WE THE PEOPLE!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. DK says:

    Police would be reacting the same way if this were the New Black Panthers or Black Lives Matter.

    Is this satire — or are old white males really this clueless? If this were 10 armed black men forcefully occupying a federal building they’d be dead by now, let alone 150.

    I suppose authorities would be treating 150 armed Muslims occupying government land, right? Herp derp.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  60. Jenos Idanian says:

    All the idiots here saying that if the occupiers were black, we’d be tallying up the body counts are conveniently forgetting that it would be federal officers carrying that out — federal officers under the command of Barack Obama. So you’re saying that Obama (or his designated sock-puppet, Attorney General Lynch) are racists.

    That’s even dumber than the protesters, who forgot that only leftists are allowed to pull these kinds of tactics. In addition to the Occupy movement, has everyone forgotten (conveniently, in most cases) the occupation of the Wisconsin State House by anti-Scott Walker scumbags back in 2011?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 37

  61. Patterico says:

    This, offhand, does not strike me as tyranny. Indeed, offhand, the Hammonds strike me as psychopaths who ought to have been in a federal prison long ago. Why they’re not in jail now—the conviction occurred in October—baffles me.

    I’m more libertarian than the next guy but don’t understand the fascination around such as the Hammonds and Bundys, who apparently think the entire country is some sort of commons for them to use as they please.

    Psychopaths. My, oh my. This seems like quite the snap judgment as regards the Hammonds, especially the older one. Have you read any of the court transcripts or decisions, or just the DOJ press release? Do you know how the sentencing judge felt about the testimony of the relative repeated in the press release? I’m going to guess the answers to these questions are “no” and “no.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 21

  62. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    They want to die free. I think that the government (or gubmint, if you prefer) should facilitate their desire as promptly as it can scramble a bomber wing for a fly over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. James Pearce says:

    If you’re militia-curious, keep a close eye on your wallet. Brave freedom fighters with Gofundme accounts are parachuting in from Nevada and Idaho as we speak and they NEED YOUR HELP.

    @CSK:

    According to CBS News, the Hammonds don’t want Bundy’s help.

    I saw that too, but that statement came from the Hammonds’ lawyer, whose defending an actual case in front of an actual court. He’s going to be arguing that his clients should not be imprisoned, an argument that would be complicated by offering support to the militia’s armed takeover of Federal property.

    My take is that the Hammonds would very much like Bundy’s help, if Bundy were capable of helping.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  64. Patterico says:

    My take is that the Hammonds would very much like Bundy’s help, if Bundy were capable of helping.

    It’s always nice to see a “take” based on zero evidence whatsoever.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  65. James Pearce says:

    @Patterico:

    It’s always nice to see a “take” based on zero evidence whatsoever.

    What’s your take then? I’m all ears to hear how Bundy intends on helping the legal defense of the Hammond family.

    “Step one: Take over Malheur” would just be bad advice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  66. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That’s even dumber than the protesters, who forgot that only leftists are allowed to pull these kinds of tactics. In addition to the Occupy movement, has everyone forgotten (conveniently, in most cases) the occupation of the Wisconsin State House by anti-Scott Walker scumbags back in 2011?

    Really reaching here, eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  67. Jenos Idanian says:

    @humanoid.panda: The Wisconsin occupation led to the Occupy movement, and also involved people taking over government property. If you can’t see the parallels, that’s your intellectual shortcoming…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  68. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    The Wisconsin occupation led to the Occupy movement, and also involved people taking over government property. If you can’t see the parallels, that’s your intellectual shortcoming

    Remind me again where these “scumbags” stated that they were armed to the teeth, would resist any attempt to remove them with deadly force and had already set up “counter-sniper positions” just in case. Must have missed that press release.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  69. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Occupy and the Wisconsin folks weren’t armed. They were peaceful protesters.

    Big difference.

    Doing thing X while unarmed is not the same as doing thing X while armed. The latter is a threat.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  70. Patterico says:

    What’s your take then? I’m all ears to hear how Bundy intends on helping the legal defense of the Hammond family.

    My “take” is that you and I both have no idea whether the Hammonds actually want the support of the Bundys — or whether they possibly consider them a nuisance that could interfere with their bid to get clemency. I am willing to take their attorney at his word that the Hammonds do not want the help of the Bundy folks. But you have a “take” in which you made up a scenario out of your head, in which they do — even though you have no idea one way or the other.

    Also, when you say “I’m all ears to hear how Bundy intends on helping the legal defense of the Hammond family” you are switching the topic and moving the goalposts. I made no statement regarding how Bundy “intends on helping” the Hammonds. I said only that we don’t know whether the Hammonds want the Bundys’ help, other than their lawyer saying they don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  71. James Joyner says:

    @Patterico:

    Psychopaths. My, oh my. This seems like quite the snap judgment as regards the Hammonds, especially the older one. Have you read any of the court transcripts or decisions, or just the DOJ press release?

    I’ve read the charges, of which they’ve been convicted by a jury of their peers and sentenced by a federal judge. My snap judgment as to their mental state comes from reading their bizarre rantings.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  72. Pch101 says:

    @Gustopher:

    In the world of Jenos and his ilk, a black kid with a fake gun should be killed immediately, while a bunch of white guys with real guns deserve a pass. Not that he’s a racist or anything…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  73. Patterico says:

    My snap judgment as to their mental state comes from reading their bizarre rantings.

    What bizarre rantings of theirs have you read??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  74. Patterico says:

    “With regard to character letters and that sort of thing, they were tremendous. These are people who have been a salt in their community and liked, and I appreciate that.” — Judge Michael Hogan, at the Hammonds’ sentencing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  75. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian: @Jenos Idanian: Intellectual shortcomings. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  76. Davebo says:

    @Gustopher:

    How large of a perimeter do we put in place around armed thugs? The larger the perimeter, the safer it is, but the greater the expense. And, since this is woodlands, there is enough cover for the armed thugs that the perimeter isn’t really safe.

    Actually aside from some trees planted within the facility there isn’t a tree in the area for miles. But you are right about the expense involved in waiting them out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  77. Davebo says:

    @Patterico:

    I’m confused. So you support the idea of a federal judge ignoring federal sentencing guidelines?

    Luckily he’s retired, sadly he now draws income as an arbitrator which is generally binding so no one can appeal his current decisions to ignore the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  78. bill says:

    @CSK: the “refuge” is huge, the “cabin”- not so much. google maps…..jeezus.
    and armed white guys get along anyways, wtf cares?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  79. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Joyner: I’ve read the charges, of which they’ve been convicted by a jury of their peers and sentenced by a federal judge. My snap judgment as to their mental state comes from reading their bizarre rantings.

    Nice argument. Mind if I borrow it for citation in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown? Or, at least, variants of it? (The Brown case never reached a jury; it was too obvious to waste any more of the court’s time on it.)

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 27

  80. Jenos Idanian says:

    @humanoid.panda: OK, if you don’t like “intellectual shortcomings,” I’ll rephrase.

    I’m sorry you’re too stupid, too unimaginative, or both to see the parallels. You might want to work on those flaws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  81. Patterico says:

    I’m confused. So you support the idea of a federal judge ignoring federal sentencing guidelines?

    Indeed you are confused. I said nothing of the sort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: In the world of Jenos and his ilk, a black kid with a fake gun should be killed immediately, while a bunch of white guys with real guns deserve a pass. Not that he’s a racist or anything…

    The sad thing is, I’m actually starting to think you really are so stupid as to believe that, and you’re not just trolling/baiting me. God help you.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 23

  83. Davebo says:

    @Patterico:

    My mistake, I apologize.

    So, if you were an AUSA, given the limited facts we have now, what charges would you file after they inevitably give up the ghost?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  84. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Patterico: I’m a layman, but it seems to me that “guidelines” are, by definition, not binding, but rather give suggestions for factors the judge should use in assigning punishment within the legally-mandated ranges.

    Sounds like the moron pch doesn’t understand basic English. My low opinion of his/her/its intelligence is being reinforced.

    Or, pch, are you saying that the initial sentence was outside the legally-mandated minimum or maximum?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  85. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Davebo: Mr. Patterico is a prosecutor in real life. I think it might be inappropriate for him to offer such an opinion — it could raise the issue of prejudice in a future case.

    Of course, considering that he is currently prosecuting gang members in California, I think this is a bit afield for him…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  86. Patterico says:

    davebo,

    I can’t say what I would file because I don’t know enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  87. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian: See, this is your mistake: when you are trolling, you are supposed to rile the other peson up, not get riled up yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  88. Davebo says:

    @Patterico:

    That’s what I hoped you’d say.

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m well aware of that Jenos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  89. Davebo says:

    I will say that Seditious conspiracy seems like a slam dunk in this instance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  90. Patterico says:

    More info here at my blog. I have the sentencing judge’s transcript and the Ninth Circuit’s decision there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  91. James Pearce says:

    @Patterico:

    But you have a “take” in which you made up a scenario out of your head, in which they do — even though you have no idea one way or the other.

    No, you mistook a quip for an argument.

    Let me offer a revision:

    My take is that the Hammonds would very much like Bundy’s help, as any reasonable person would accept a genuine offer of help, but Bundy is more interested in advancing his own anti-government agenda than actually “helping.”

    Less quippy, more argument-y., but pretty much the same content-wise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  92. Patterico says:

    OK. I don’t think they want to be associated with the Bundys in any way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  93. James Pearce says:

    @Patterico:

    More info here at my blog.

    Which contains this quote:

    The Bundy action, taking over a building in the middle of nowhere, may be bringing attention to an injustice.

    It’s a common idea among activists, left and right, this idea that the existence of an injustice somewhere justifies their actions.

    It never gets old pointing out just how wrong that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  94. JKB says:

    Well, now many here are saying they are armed and violent, but none of that is in the excerpts James used in the post, even the statement from the sheriff.

    Perhaps something unfortunate will happen, but at this point they’ve broke into a building but done nothing else that the Occupy movements, the Wisconsin capital occupiers or the Ferguson protesters have done. Yet, here many are calling for the feds to roll in with intent to kill. Hardly the SOP in such situations. And given the only thing impacted here is a remote building that government workers occupied to administer a remote federal lands area, but it is the dead of winter when use is probably at a minimum given the already restricted uses permitted for wildlife sanctuaries.

    And the claim they’ll occupy for years is on its face simple rhetoric as at some point they will run out of fuel, food, perhaps water, etc.

    As for the Hammonds, yes they have been convicted, but these days one should always be skeptical of a DOJ press release especially in political cases. There are many recent instances of DOJ lawyers being revealed to have hidden exculpatory evidence, suborned perjury, wrongfully run blogs to comment on their pending cases, etc. And a lot of political “convictions” that don’t stand up to scrutiny and federal prosecutor misbehavior is revealed. The Hammond’s convictions may stand, but one should never consider the DOJ statements as anything but propaganda after recent DOJ behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  95. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Davebo: Sounds like it would have been applicable to the Occupy Wisconsin movement, too. And the Occupy movement in general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  96. KM says:

    @Patterico:
    Then the actual Hammonds should say that, not the lawyer. Lawyers willingly spout all kinds of nonsense in defense of their clients- hell, the affluenza family lawyer is saying the mother wasn’t aiding and abetting when she knowingly took her son over the border. A lawyer’s statement should be taken with a grain of salt when there are known facts potentially contradicting them. Their duty is to their clients, not necessarily to the truth.

    If they don’t want anything to do with this BS (which they very well might not), then Dwight and/or Steven should make a public statement themselves denouncing this and asking it to stop. It would go a long way to repairing their credibility if it was unfairly tainted and could help ease this standoff without any further escalations. It’s their name being bandied about; if it were me, I would be out in front of the cameras letting the world know these people don’t speak for me and are making trouble in my name against my will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  97. Davebo says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It would. If they had actually done the things you’ve convinced yourself they did.

    But yes, in your confused mind the two are exactly alike!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  98. Patterico says:

    It’s a common idea among activists, left and right, this idea that the existence of an injustice somewhere justifies their actions.

    I didn’t say it was justified. I don’t think it is, actually.

    Then the actual Hammonds should say that, not the lawyer.

    Have you ever been involved in a civil or criminal action and been represented by a lawyer? If so, did the lawyer tell you to run your mouth, or to let him talk for you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  99. Davebo says:

    @JKB:

    The Hammond’s convictions may stand

    Well, since the Supreme Court has already told them to take a hike I’d say you’re really going out on a limb there JKB!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  100. KM says:

    @JKB:

    And a lot of political “convictions” that don’t stand up to scrutiny and federal prosecutor misbehavior is revealed.

    Since when is arson “political”? They admit to setting the fires but are trying to claim an excuse that no one bought. They weren’t railroaded; they got off with less then a mandatory sentence! In fact, if there’s hadn’t been further filings and appeals, they would have gotten away with an incredibly light punishment under the law.

    There was indeed legal misbehavior here but it was on the part of the judge and it benefited them. You don’t see them casting aspersions on the activist judge, just the higher court correctly applying the law as written. Once the misbehavior was revealed under the scrutiny you mention, the need to return to jail for the convicted became apparent. It’s only political because it’s the Bundy’s cause du jour and they want attention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  101. KM says:

    @Patterico:

    If so, did the lawyer tell you to run your mouth, or to let him talk for you?

    Just curious – why do you think them issuing a statement that the Bundy’s aren’t affiliated with them and that they have nothing to do with this is “running their mouth”? If that’s what the lawyer publicly said and it’s the truth, what exactly is the problem? I would think NOT being associated with the nuts would be a good thing legally. Bundy clearly doesn’t believe the lawyer at the very least….

    Give them a script if it makes you feel better but at this point, they are getting tarred with a brush they are better off dissuading.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  102. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    As for the Hammonds, yes they have been convicted, but these days one should always be skeptical of a DOJ press release especially in political cases.

    “A political case?” I thought the Hammonds were doing a controlled burn to fight invasive species, but turns out, their case is actually political? Interesting…

    @Patterico:

    I don’t think they want to be associated with the Bundys in any way.

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Reports say there was a sit down back in November between Ammon Bundy and Dwight Hammond. (They probably weren’t talking football.)

    When a bunch of marchers –summoned by Bundy and others- showed up in Burns, rather than turning them away, the Hammond family addressed them.

    If the Hammonds don’t want to be associated with the Bundys now, it’s mostly due to heeding very sound legal advice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  103. KM says:

    @Patterico:

    A second thought –

    If there was a chance someone was going to be shot in my name by a luantic doing something illegal/dangerous I didn’t sanction and don’t approve of, I’d tell the lawyer to stick it and make the announcement. I need to be able to live with myself and I wager the Hammonds might feel the same way. Lawyers are hired for legal advice and representation to prevent jail time, not for their ethics or moral POV.

    This can easily spiral out of control with the potential for injuries and loss of life. The Hammonds are in a position to discredit Bundy with his followers and maybe make this whole thing stop. I know the typical lawyer response is “keep your mouth shut” as a basic CYA but they’re already screwed on the jail-time front. Maybe they should consider doing the ethical thing instead of the self-centered thing for a change?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  104. James Pearce says:

    @Patterico:

    I didn’t say it was justified.

    No, but you do see a silver lining, right?

    The Bundy action, taking over a building in the middle of nowhere, may be bringing attention to an injustice.

    Or did I mistake the generosity of your statement for something more condemning?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  105. James Joyner says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Given that the burden of proof in a criminal case is rightly, on the prosecution and that the standard of proof is, again rightly, high, I take a conviction more to heart than an acquittal. That is, if a unanimous jury has found someone guilty beyond reasonable doubt, I tend to presume that the someone is indeed guilty. An acquittal, by contrast, is not so much a finding of innocence as a finding that the prosecution did not meet its burden.

    @Patterico: Mostly I’m reacting to Steven Hammond’s assertion that they would “light up the whole country on fire.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  106. Hal_10000 says:

    This is not terrorism. Nobody has been killed. Nobody is being held hostage. Nobody drove up to a building and opened fire on innocent civilians. Some bozos have seized a federal building and will hopefully be prosecuted.

    I have no time for Bundy or his sympathizers who are simply freeloaders trying to mask their land welfare with patriotic slogans. But I also don’t have time for labeling everything as terrorism and everyone we don’t like as a terrorist. All that does is expand the government’s anti-terror powers, which are already too extensive and invasive. I thought the Left Wing opposed labeling everyone a terrorist and expanding anti-terror powers and using state violence when it wasn’t necessary. The point of previous excessive uses of force and state violence (e.g, the attack on MOVE) is that it was wrong, not that we need to expand that to Right Wing idiots to be “fair”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  107. C. Clavin says:

    To Jenos these radicals, who are armed and have discussed killing and being killed, are the same as the occupy movement, which Doug described as drum circles and hackey-sack.
    The occupy movement brought to the forefront of the national discourse the very real problem of economic inequality, which will be prominent in the general election.
    These guys in Oregon want free shit…free land access.
    Which one Jenos supports is clear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  108. Pch101 says:

    “Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

    -Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
    -Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
    -Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

    ___________________

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/terrorism/terrorism-definition

    An armed group has taken over a building. That sounds dangerous enough.

    That armed group has a political agenda.

    Last I checked, Oregon is in the United States.

    Pretty much checks off all of the boxes of domestic terrorism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  109. Patterico says:

    Mostly I’m reacting to Steven Hammond’s assertion that they would “light up the whole country on fire.”

    The jury did not necessarily credit that statement in reaching its verdict, and the judge’s comments at sentencing suggested that he might not have believed Dusty Hammond, the source of that statement. There is evidence that Dusty Hammond was not credible, and that the judge and jury did not necessarily find him credible. I suggest you read up on all this a little more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  110. Patterico says:

    No, but you do see a silver lining, right?

    Yup.

    See the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  111. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Hal_10000:

    You’re right, and most of us are being facetious (at least I hope so) in calling for another Ruby Ridge or Waco.

    However, the IMO appropriate response, tactics, and media attention to this goofy situation is only occurring because said criminals are white.

    If Muslim-Americans with guns peacefully took over a church, or a federal government building, or even a PO box, it would be a “developing situation” and “Terror 2016” on cable news 24/7.

    If Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam showed up armed and declared their intent “to die for their country” then occupied the local CVS or Denny’s, there would be a full tactical SWAT team response, and most of white America would nod sagely in approval.

    You know this.

    So the point of liberals joking wanting to oblige these criminal losers “to die for their country” is because we know it won’t happen to these wackos, no matter how crazy they get or even if they kill people, because police will still negotiate and use time and space to their advantage in order to get them into custody.

    Because they’re white. Their skin protects them in the criminal justice system. They know it, you know it, we know it.

    But nobody can say that, because it’s Not Serious.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  112. Jenos Idanian says:

    I was just saying to myself, “self, it looks like things might just calm down before they reach Peak Stupid. Sounds like it’s time for Cliffy to show up with his weapons-grade moronity.”

    @C. Clavin: the occupy movement, which Doug described as drum circles and hackey-sack and rape and murder and child molesting and assault and theft and arson and racism and… well, I could go on, but I want to give the Jawas their full due.

    And if you don’t like the chart, here’s a fully-documented supporting set of links.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  113. Hal_10000 says:

    @Pch101:

    The FBI’s definition of domestic terrorism is extremely broad. During the Occupy movement, a lot of people quoted the same passage arguing that it too was terrorism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  114. Pch101 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    During the Occupy movement, a lot of people quoted the same passage arguing that it too was terrorism.

    Those people were idiots.

    Protesters in the park versus guys with guns who are talking about death. Give me a f**king break.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  115. Matt says:

    What amazes me is that no one has noticed that the Hammonds have been causing trouble in that area for around 30 something years now.

    For example.

    http://www.hcn.org/issues/20/582

    These people clearly believe that land they don’t own belongs to them because “right of way”…

    I wonder how the militia would respond if bus loads of black panthers showed up to take back the land?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  116. Davebo says:

    Vanilla ISIS guys in Oregon?
    Honestly, I have a hard time working up any fear from Ya’llQaeda but honestly Geese can be pretty aggressive so I’m glad they’re armed at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  117. James Pearce says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I thought the Left Wing opposed labeling everyone a terrorist and expanding anti-terror powers and using state violence when it wasn’t necessary.

    Yeah, well, the left has their head up their ass these days.

    Their multi-generational devotion to peaceful protest has convinced them that there is no cause so important that it requires violence. Indeed, they almost believe the opposite: That violence is always illegitimate, that it stains any cause associated with it.

    That’s where you get this terrorist stuff. If the Bundy protesters showed up in Malheur with candles and painted posters rather than rifles, there might actually be some lefty sympathy.

    @Patterico:

    There is evidence that Dusty Hammond was not credible, and that the judge and jury did not necessarily find him credible.

    Sounds like something they should bring up in the appeal. Since you’re the expert, where are they at in the appeals process?

    As it is, the Hammonds have already been found guilty, have already served some of their sentence, and now must go serve the rest.

    See the difference?

    There is no difference.

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  118. Pch101 says:

    In Cleveland, a fake gun in the hands of a black guy is as bad as a real gun.

    In Oregon, real guns in the hands of angry white guys are as harmless as hippies with tents and protest signs.

    Yeah, that all makes sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  119. James Pearce says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    However, the IMO appropriate response, tactics, and media attention to this goofy situation is only occurring because said criminals are white.

    No, it’s because they’re armed. (You’re not wrong that armed protest by black people may inspire a much different response, but I would argue that would be because such a thing would be so shocking. “Peaceful protest” has pretty much been it for protest since the 60s.)

    Guns, not race.

    @Jenos Idanian: You are so transparently partisan, it’s pathetic. Listen to you, try and argue that Occupy was dangerous, when they were toothless, weak, and easily ignored. “They’re rapists!” No, just dumb.

    @Pch101:

    Protesters in the park versus guys with guns who are talking about death.

    If only terrorists just talked about death…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  120. Patterico says:

    Sounds like something they should bring up in the appeal. Since you’re the expert, where are they at in the appeals process?

    They waived their right to appeal, and the points I am making are not designed to show they are innocent, but that some of the things their critics are saying about them aren’t necessarily true.

    There is no difference.

    There is no difference between saying an action is justified, on one hand, and saying that it is not justified but that there is a silver lining nonetheless, on the other?

    If that is your position, then let’s you and me stop talking, okay?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  121. Scott says:

    Listen. Isn’t it clear that only right wing political correctness is protecting this group? Isn’t it clear that political correctness is preventing the US from recognizing the great danger presented by violent right wing militia groups?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  122. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    Their multi-generational devotion to peaceful protest has convinced them that there is no cause so important that it requires violence. Indeed, they almost believe the opposite: That violence is always illegitimate, that it stains any cause associated with it.

    Violence doesn’t stain every cause that is associated with it — but there has to be a pretty severe injustice for violence to be appropriate.

    And, when people are trying to normalize the threat of violence by making open-carry a thing that is done, I see it as something other than protest. It’s an effort at intimidation. Whether they are sitting in a Starbucks to show that they can, or taking over a park building while fondling their weapons, they aren’t trying to make their position visible and be part of our public process, they are trying to get their own way by pointing out that they have the ability, right there and then, to kill anyone who disagrees with them.

    Violence makes sense sometimes. It can solve problems. But those times are exceptional.

    What we are seeing now, though, is the far right trying to use threat of violence routinely, in non-exceptional cases. The open-carry movement is an extension of the militia movement, but just for nut jobs who aren’t as committed to the cause.

    And so, I want the militia freaks brought down fast and thrown into jail. I have no sympathy for them. They are making America a worse place.

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  123. James Pearce says:

    @Patterico:

    They waived their right to appeal

    So your attempt to re-litigate the case is, what, pointless?

    that some of the things their critics are saying about them aren’t necessarily true.

    Yeah, shocking, that one… Critics were a fountain of truth until this Bundy thing.

    There is no difference between saying an action is justified, on one hand, and saying that it is not justified but that there is a silver lining nonetheless, on the other?

    Depends on the context, I guess. It might be rude to tell the rape victim that her silver lining has her daddy’s eyes. Not much consolation if you were to tell a guy, “Yeah, sorry we didn’t treat your syphilis, but hey, look at all this great stuff we learned about syphilis.”

    In this context, the silver lining –highlighting an unjust prosecution– isn’t even a silver lining. Because it wasn’t an unjust prosecution.

    If that is your position, then let’s you and me stop talking, okay?

    Back to your bubble then. I engage with people who think differently than me. Keeps me young.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  124. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    All the idiots here saying that if the occupiers were black, we’d be tallying up the body counts are conveniently forgetting that it would be federal officers carrying that out — federal officers under the command of Barack Obama. So you’re saying that Obama (or his designated sock-puppet, Attorney General Lynch) are racists.

    You raise a good question: Why wouldn’t the President order the shooting of White Christian supremacist terrorists?

    And, if he did, would he be accused of Reverse Discrimination?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  125. James Pearce says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s an effort at intimidation.

    Which is not always a bad thing. Projecting a “don’t mess with me” attitude is a survival strategy seen in the flora and fauna of this planet. It’s perfectly valid for people too.

    What we are seeing now, though, is the far right trying to use threat of violence routinely, in non-exceptional cases.

    I don’t see why we need to reserve violence for exceptional cases. Does that make me far right????

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  126. Pch101 says:

    @Scott:

    Right-wing zealots don’t believe that other right-wingers are capable of being terrorists. (After all, they’re the good guys!) It’s more Orwellian than it is PC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  127. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: Yeah, but the angry black guy was a 12-year-old boy who was extremely big for his age! You really can’t see the difference? Really?

    (See, Jenos, I’m helping you out here.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  128. JKB says:

    @James Pearce:

    The government itself has demonstrated the prosecution was political by appealing in order to have the penalty for terrorist related arson imposed. The actual loss to the government here was estimated around $100. Only open land, that is likely improved by the natural processes after a fire, no fences or other improvements burned. The Hammonds extinguished the fires without assistance by the BLM fire response.

    In any case, due to this non-violent occupation of an empty federal office, the case will likely be revisited with scrutiny.

    Keep in mind, just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. And increasingly, more and more Americans are realizing that just because the Supreme Court deems something Constitutional, doesn’t make it Constitutional in the eyes of the People. And the People are the final arbiters as to whether the government is overstepping the restrictions the Constitution was suppose to hold the government to.

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  129. Andy says:

    James,

    I’m more libertarian than the next guy but don’t understand the fascination around such as the Hammonds and Bundys, who apparently think the entire country is some sort of commons for them to use as they please. We’ve had federal parks, wildlife refuges, and the like going back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt; how that has diminished our freedom of Americans is not clear.

    It’s probably not obvious to those who don’t live or aren’t from the West, but it’s not Teddy Roosevelt’s America anymore when it comes to public lands. Ranchers like the Hammonds, all over the West, long enjoyed de-facto exclusive use of the public lands that are adjacent to their private property. For most of the 20th century the Federal government encouraged this as he best way to utilize public land. However, America grew and with it there is more interest in these areas and more pressures of a growing population. More people visit the public lands, more people are interested in what happens to these areas, more people seek the wilds to get away from the urban rat-race. Most of these places were never visited except by the locals.

    I used to go to a lot of “wild” places with my Dad in the 70’s and 80’s and usually it was just us or maybe another person or two. Today those same areas I visited as a kid are overrun with people to such an extent that several now require permits for back-country travel/camping. So, with the increase in population/use, the increase in interest and the realization that public land is actually a finite resource, there was a shift in attitude from conservation toward preservation – a change that occurred not only in the environmental movement, but also in the various federal management plans that set policy for public land use. The old model of doesn’t work anymore and the Feds have to try to balance all these relatively new competing interests with the legacy interests and take a much more active hand when it comes to land management.

    So there are a lot of established farming and ranching families who built a business and lifestyle over generations which were based, in part, on the old model of federal land management where local interests dominated. That’s changed and local people are upset about it and what we are seeing is a reaction to that change as the federal government puts new restrictions on public lands which are often at odds with what historical policy. So it’s not surprising to see that a lot of these rural communities are reacting to a change which threatens a traditional lifestyle and economy. Added to this are the changes in society more generally from rural to urban and from conservative values to more progressive values. So this is a reactionary movement and it’s not limited to the Hammonds and the Bundys.

    I would expect to see more of this as the competition over the status and use of public lands increases and not just by individuals, but state governments. This is already happening.

    Finally, I think your characterization of the Hammonds as “psychopaths” is a poor one. Whatever one’s opinion, they are returning to jail peaceably and the familiy is not supporting the occupation of the wildlife refuge or threats of violence. It’s also important to keep in mind that this latest dispute is over sentencing. The Hammonds already spent time in jail – what happened is that the trial court sentenced them to less than five years, but the appellate and Supreme Court wound up sentencing the men to a full five-year sentence based on federal law. So the result is that they did time but now have to go back and do more time. People are upset about that, upset about what I discussed in this comment above and upset that these two are going to jail for the minimum of five years for an arson that burned 127 acres – many see that as unjust and, IMO, I would agree with that part, but then I’m generally against mandatory minimum sentence rules.

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  130. dazedandconfused says:

    @James Joyner:

    I didn’t read every post, apologies in advance if someone has already posted this, but the writ to the Supreme Court indicates the Oregonian article accepts the testimony of the fellow hunter which the jury rejected on the basis the witness wasn’t there. He was with them for an elk hunt two weeks previous but not the deer hunt of the day in question.

    The verdicts and the description are in the first few pages:
    http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Hammond-v-United-States-13-1512-Reply-to-Brief-in-Opposition.pdf

    I’m pretty sure if they had been convicted of the crime the Oregonian article describes there wouldn’t be any question of them serving big big time. The original sentence and the modified one would both be ridiculously light.

    The Hammonds have a legitimate bitch. It’s difficult to accept your property gradually becoming worthless due to ever encroaching “wildlife protection zones” and regulations which seriously inhibit the ability to utilize the remainder. I have a family story of my own on that score in Idaho myself, nuff’ said. Surely we can do a better job of compensating the few families which have suffered this fate.
    The issue of the noxious weeds sounds very plausible to me, it’s a huge issue for cattle ranchers throughout the dry areas of the Pacific NW. There are a plethora of types, mostly invasive Eurasian origin, which all but obliterate plants that cattle can eat.

    However, it’s important to note the Hammonds have never had any association with the militias and vehemently condemn the Bundy band’s current action. No a lot like the “psychopaths” which the Oregonian article leads one to believe them to be. Conflating the Hammonds with the Bundys (Yeehawdists?) is probably a huge mistake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  131. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    I don’t see why we need to reserve violence for exceptional cases. Does that make me far right????

    It makes you far more of an aberration on the left than it would on the right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  132. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    In any case, due to this non-violent occupation of an empty federal office, the case will likely be revisited with scrutiny.

    I wouldn’t call it non-violent, as they are heavily armed. They haven’t used the weapons yet, but they have threatened to. Bringing weapons with you when you commit a crime, such as occupying a federal office, changes the nature of the crime.

    Fun fact: If you have a fondness for shoplifting, it is a petty misdemeanor. Unless you have a gun with you, in which case it is armed robbery, a serious felony.

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  133. MarkedMan says:

    To all the posters here who are claiming that barricading yourself in a public building and threatening to kill anyone who comes near is nothing to worry about and we should all keep calm:

    Keith Landon, a longtime resident of Burns and employee at the Reid Country Store, said he knows local law enforcement officials who fear their kids will be targeted by angry militia members. The mother of one of his kids is now involved with an officer, Landon said, and they decided to send their children to another town after they were allegedly threatened by an angry protester.

    “I’m hoping most of it’s just muscle, trying to push,” Landon said. “But it’s a scary thing.”

    The idea is ridiculous that authorities would let this go on this long if the protesters were anything other than Christian extremists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  134. It would be worthwhile to separate out the issue of the Hammonds (both in terms of the land use issues and that of mandatory minimumms) from that of Bundys (both in terms of past and present actions).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  135. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Just look at all these right wing nut-jobs falling all over themselves to defend these white christian extremists desire to free-load on the government.
    The hypocrisy, and the abject bigotry, is awe-inspiring.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  136. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    The government itself has demonstrated the prosecution was political by appealing in order to have the penalty for terrorist related arson imposed.

    “Terrorist related arson?” How is that different from regular arson?

    @Andy:

    many see that as unjust and, IMO, I would agree with that part, but then I’m generally against mandatory minimum sentence rules.

    Excellent point about mandatory minimums, and good points on how things are changing and how those affected are reacting.

    I can’t help but think, though, that if these western ranchers didn’t feel so entitled to public lands, and weren’t so anti-government about it, then there might be more cooperation. In an alternate universe, the Hammond family could have been good neighbors.

    @Gustopher:

    It makes you far more of an aberration on the left

    This is true. Sometimes I think the right’s knee-jerk preference for violence over non-violence has caused the left to knee-jerk prefer non-violence over violence. (Or is it the other way around?) Could it be possible that “both sides” are as right as the other is wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  137. C. Clavin says:

    “Your daddy swore an oath… to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and that’s why he couldn’t be with you on Christmas,” Ritzheimer said. “That’s why I can’t be with you on New Year’s.
    “I am 100 percent willing to lay my life down, to fight against tyranny in this country,” Ritzheimer later said in the video, in which he’s sitting behind the wheel of a truck.
    The Iraq War veteran concluded: “No matter what happens, no matter what lies are pushed out, just know that I stood for something. Don’t let it be in vain.”

    What a bunch of crap. These loser’s are out for free access to Federal Land. That’s all. Bundy’s old man owed us over a million dollars. He didn’t want to pay it. That’s all this stuff is about. Free stuff. White christian free-loaders.

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  138. SenyorDave says:

    @C. Clavin: What a bunch of crap. These loser’s are out for free access to Federal Land. That’s all. Bundy’s old man owed us over a million dollars. He didn’t want to pay it. That’s all this stuff is about. Free stuff. White christian free-loaders.

    This. Many of the supporters of these people are the same people who whine about the takers or the 47% who don’t pay taxes (most of whom are retired or the working poor). But the Hammonds and Cliven Bundy are heroes, real Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  139. C. Clavin says:

    @SenyorDave:
    You have to always remember…a black kid with a hoodie and some skittles is a thug…20 white heavily-armed christians who illegally occupy a federal building, while threatening to kill and/or be killed, are heroes.
    That’s really all you need to know about the mentally dis-advantaged trolls that make up today’s Republican party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  140. C. Clavin says:

    What do you call 20 radical christian terrorists redneck free-loaders occupying an unoccupied building in the Oregon desert?
    Vanilla-ISIS.
    Y’all Queda.
    (I wish I had made those up.)
    Let’s nuke these stupid f’ers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  141. Franklin says:

    @Andy: Excellent, informative post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  142. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sometimes I think the right’s knee-jerk preference for violence over non-violence has caused the left to knee-jerk prefer non-violence over violence. (Or is it the other way around?) Could it be possible that “both sides” are as right as the other is wrong?

    Violence is usually illegal. The same can’t be said of non-violence.

    Furthermore, violence is generally legal only when it is used in response to someone else who initiates it, which leads us back to violence being illegal.

    You’re indulging in some serious false equivalency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  143. Unsympathetic says:

    Exactly how long have Bundy et al been attempting to solve this issue?

    Where’s the motions filed by Bundy during town meetings? Was it even brought up?

    Where’s the petitions with signatures attempting to get this issue on a county ballot? After that failed, did they attempt to get this on the state ballot?

    It’s always amusing to see the crowd who believes that government doesn’t work… not even attempt once to utilize government to redress their grievances. This wasn’t the final step.. threats of gun violence was the FIRST step these whackadoodles used.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  144. MarkedMan says:

    Those of us old enough to remember Oklahoma City may view this as more serious than those who’s introduction to Christian extremists is “only” murdering people in Planned Parenthood or setting bombs at the Olympics. But these clowns are direct descendants of the same Christian/White Nationalist militias that led to the OK city bombing. And the same rhetoric – they need to kill people and die as martyrs so their brothers will rise up and spread the fight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  145. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Violence is usually illegal. The same can’t be said of non-violence.

    Criminal violence is illegal, that’s true, but how do you think laws are enforced if not with legal violence?

    If it weren’t for that contrast, non-violence would just be naive. Better to just accept that violence is actually a civilizing force and then endeavor to use it justly.

    You’re indulging in some serious false equivalency.

    I may be indulging in something, but it’s not false equivalency. I pretty much said left and right have opposite approaches to violence, one side influenced by the other like repellent magnets. ≠ not =.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  146. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: but the cops didn’t shoot any of these “occupy” idiots as they were more adept at killing/raping and od’ing all by themselves. and just what important crap did they bring up aside from not being able to get a decent job during the obama reign?
    sure, “wall st” is bad……yet obama and hillary did well with them when it came to fundraising and personal finance. hillary’s son in law is a hedge fund guy, the lowest of the low from what you liberals speak…..but that’s ok as long as he slides some money into liberal causes, like electing his mother in law.
    so occupying a rest stop in the sticks is not in any way shutting down a business/road or getting in anybody’s way who needs to get to work- fretting about it is pretty lame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  147. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Criminal violence is illegal, that’s true, but how do you think laws are enforced if not with legal violence?

    Those who have police powers have police powers. Most of us don’t.

    I pretty much said left and right have opposite approaches to violence

    Non-violence is legal. Violence almost always isn’t.

    Surely you wouldn’t compare MLK or Gandhi to the SLA or ISIS or Timothy McVeigh. Come on now, this just isn’t that tough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  148. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Those who have police powers have police powers.

    Yeah, and people who like cheese like cheese. Think about this a little deeper than you would on a cold night at Zucotti park with all your friends nodding along.

    Are police powers not violence?

    Non-violence is legal. Violence almost always isn’t.

    You’re going to appeal to the legality of non-violent protest and then cite MLK and Gandhi one sentence later? MLK and Gandhi pioneered non-violent protest, often in contravention of the laws of their time, and then they were both assassinated. Me, I don’t really take that as testament to the virtues of their approach. But hey, that’s just me, a lefty aberration.

    Don’t just claim the territory. Defend it too. That’s all I’m saying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  149. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Argh. I didn’t claim that all non-violent people were law-abiding. I’m pointing out that non-violence is not, in and of itself, illegal. Yet violence almost always is.

    We don’t charge people for non-assault or non-battery or non-intimidation or non-attempted homicide. Hitting you in the face and not hitting you in the face are not equal acts. (To be more precise, the latter is the absence of action, not an act.) Surely you must know this.

    The legal traditions of every modern culture distinguishes between violence and the absence of violence, and stigmatizes the former. Not only is it possible to express one’s discontent with the system without resorting to violence, but it also harms ones credibility to resort to violence in many cases — it just makes the violent person look like a thug.

    The federalist view was that our gripes were with the English, and that violence didn’t have a place in our political discourse following the revolution. We get to overthrow the government in 2-, 4- and 6-year intervals at the ballot box, and that’s it.

    Amendment 1 allows us to gripe about the government, but Article 3 Section 3 makes treason unconstitutional — you will note that it is just about the only crime that is specified in the Constitution. Terrorism is illegal per the US Code, which was crafted by the representatives of the people. You just don’t have an argument here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  150. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:

    during the obama reign

    Oh I see…Obama is a king…
    Listen…if you cannot even grasp basic facts and concepts of reality…how do you expect to participate in a reasonable discussion about anything?
    Get back to us when you come back to earth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  151. mantis says:

    So the Bundys, the Hammonds, and their militia friends seem to believe that laws do not apply to ranchers. Guess what, morons? This isn’t the old west. You aren’t in frontier territory. You live in one of the United States of America. You are subject to its laws. Maybe if you tried not breaking them, you’d have a better time here. If you can’t handle that, perhaps consider moving yourselves and your cattle to some lawless place. I hear South Sudan is a lot warmer than Oregon this time of year. There are some drawbacks, of course, but you’ll have the freedom from government and laws you seem to think you deserve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  152. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Not only is it possible to express one’s discontent with the system without resorting to violence, but it also harms ones credibility to resort to violence in many cases — it just makes the violent person look like a thug.

    I don’t agree with the view that, as I said above, “violence is always illegitimate, that it stains any cause associated with it.” I think that’s taking the non-violence thing too far, prizing it as an end unto itself rather than a means to an end.

    But I am sympathetic to this one:

    Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  153. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Now you’re contradicting yourself, as you noted yourself that it is possible to be both non-violent and to protest illegally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  154. C. Clavin says:

    hahahaha….the Hammond’s are going to ask Obama for clemency.
    So while Y’all Queda is staging a revolution…the aggrieved Hammonds are negotiating with the devil.
    You can’t make up how ridiculous these white christian extremists are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  155. An Interested Party says:

    but the cops didn’t shoot any of these “occupy” idiots as they were more adept at killing/raping and od’ing all by themselves.

    Oh really? Do provide links to credible sources documenting killing, raping, and overdosing done by Occupy protesters…

    …and just what important crap did they bring up…

    Income inequality…of course you don’t know anything about that…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  156. C. Clavin says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Q: …and just what important crap did they bring up…
    A: Income inequality…of course you don’t know anything about that…

    I suspect bill is the guy on the left in this image.
    https://tribuneofthepeople.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/wfnue.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  157. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    this non-violent occupation

    Excuse me, but comparing this bunch of armed thugs who are threatening violence in defense of arsonists to legitimate non-violent protestor who face danger armed only with their convictions is abhorrent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  158. Pch101 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Fun with right-wing ‘rithmetic:

    White guys with guns = non-violent

    White guys without guns = dangerous communist libtards!

    Black guys with guns = criminals

    Black guys without guns = still criminals

    Muslims with guns = terrorists

    Muslim without guns = terrorists in training

    Red state living is easy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  159. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: That’s a good explanation of the background. I hadn’t heard of these people or the dispute prior to the incident that sparked this quotatation. My reaction is almost entirely a function of the statements by the Bundys and the “light up the whole country on fire” comment by Steven Hammond.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  160. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Now you’re contradicting yourself,

    No. I’m just not making it clear enough, I guess.

    You’re the one who said, and I quote, “Non-violence is legal.” When no, it doesn’t have to be. Indeed, in its most storied forms, non-violent protest was, from Thoreau’s day up through Gandhi’s day all the way through to MLK’s day, often done in contravention of the law, and was all the more powerful for it.

    Surely you’ve heard the term “Civil Disobedience.” Do you not recognize the quote from my previous comment?

    Then you say, “Violence almost always isn’t.” And yet when I mention that, actually, legal violence is available to any law enforcement agency in this country, you provide me some weird ourobouros of language: “Those who have police powers have police powers” as if that’s a statement that means anything.

    So I don’t know what else to say, other than you’re wrong.

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  161. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You’re the one who said, and I quote, “Non-violence is legal.”

    I explained the point, and you didn’t understand it. I’ll try once again.

    If I punch you in the face for no reason, then my violent act is a criminal offense.

    If I do not punch you in the face, the absence of punching you is not unlawful. Nobody is going to arrest me because I didn’t break your nose or knock your teeth out. Although it’s possible that I’ve committed some other crime, my failure to slug you isn’t one of them.

    Violence without cause is almost always illegal. We don’t have laws that require one to be violent or that punish people for avoiding violence, whereas we have plenty of laws that criminalize violence. Violence and non-violence are not criminal, and I’d frankly worry about the sanity of anyone who fails to grasp this.

    You are trying to equate violence with non-violence when no modern legal system does this.

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  162. Pch101 says:

    @Pch101:

    Typo alert: “Violence and non-violence are not ***equivalent***, and I’d frankly worry about the sanity of anyone who fails to grasp this.

    (I need to work on my multitasking.)

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  163. C. Clavin says:

    @Andy:
    Yes…I agree that the jail terms are ridiculous. The Hammonds are applying for clemency…I wouldn’t lose sleep if they were granted it.
    The Bundy’s on the other hand…the Bundy’s are part of the entitled white class that is terrified of the changes happening…both with land use, as you explain very well…and with changing demographics. As more coddled white christians lose their entitlement status I think we will see a lot more of this type of domestic terrorism…and much of it will be far more violent. Remember…with white folk it is always “…entitlements for me, and none for thee…”
    Looking the other way…as the Government did after the first Bundy kerfuffle…will only make subsequent episodes more difficult to handle.
    I say nuke them now and teach ’em a lesson.

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  164. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    You are trying to equate violence with non-violence when no modern legal system does this.

    No, we’re having two difference conversations apparently and I have given up on trying to suss out what you’re trying to say.

    If I do not punch you in the face, the absence of punching you is not unlawful.

    Makes no sense.

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  165. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    It makes perfect sense. Violent isn’t the same as non-violent. You must be the only guy who doesn’t get this.

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  166. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Violence and non-violence are not ***equivalent***, and I’d frankly worry about the sanity of anyone who fails to grasp this.

    Okay, so that statement makes sense….

    Have you Googled that Thoreau quote yet?

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  167. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Other than your specious efforts to equate non-violent with violent protest, I’m honestly not sure what you want.

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  168. grumpy realist says:

    I suggest airlifting a whole bunch of skunks into the area….

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  169. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Why torture the poor skunks???

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  170. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Other than your specious efforts to equate non-violent with violent protest

    Bah. The only thing specious is your summary of my views.

    I’m honestly not sure what you want

    To be blunt, to familiarize yourself with what you’re talking about.

    Like don’t say “Nonviolent is legal” a hundred and sixty-five years after Thoreau wrote “Civil Disobedience” and sixty years after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat.

    And don’t tell me “violence is illegal” when killer cops routinely escape indictment and militarized SWAT teams are busting down doors with tanks.

    I might conclude you have no idea what you’re talking about.

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  171. Pch101 says:

    Like don’t say “Nonviolent is legal”

    Nobody claimed that every non-violent act is legal. Are you deliberately misinterpreting the point?

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  172. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101: I’m sorry, the direct quote is:

    “Non-violence is legal. Violence almost always isn’t.”

    Which, I think, I just conclusively debunked.

    Non-violent protest, from the beginning, has been about willingly violating the law to effect some kind of social change.

    And this stuff about violence “almost always” being illegal? You’ve honed in on criminal violence, yes, very illegal, but have ignored all other types, like the very legal violence police can use with impunity.

    So take your average non-violent, don’t-want-to-break-a-law protester and put him up against a violent can-kill-you-legally cops and guess what happens?

    (I’ll give you a hint. There will be blood, but no social change.)

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  173. gVOR08 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    This is not terrorism.

    For political purposes they’ve used the threat of violence to size a strategically important bird sanctuary. It’s incredibly stupid, ineffectual terrorism. That doesn’t make it not terrorism.

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  174. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    Thanks. I hadn’t heard about this dispute either until it hit the news, but the general outlines are quite familiar. Legal and political disputes over public land policy are pretty common. It’s only when guns and crazy-talk get involved that the national media take interest. Unfortunately they focus on those aspects and not on the important policy discussion about public land use, which has huge implications in the intermountain West. It’s not just about grazing and ranchers, but resources, wildlife habitat and, especially, water.

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  175. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Which, I think, I just conclusively debunked.

    No, you conclusively misunderstood it, even though I explained it to you in a few different ways.

    You don’t debunk an argument by failing to understand what it is.

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  176. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    Non-violent protest, from the beginning, has been about willingly violating the law to effect some kind of social change.

    And, sometimes, comes with a threat of more violent protest. Would MLK have been as successful as he was without Malcolm X? Maybe, maybe not.

    I don’t reject violence. I just think violence needs to be used sparingly, with the minimal level needed to get the job done.

    Non-violent protests of police brutality failed to catch the nation’s attention for years — largely because the media won’t focus on it. The event that finally forced the issue to the forefront was the riots in Ferguson, and the insane militarized response to that. It made it good television. Burn down a CVS, and social change goes from an impossibility to something difficult but plausible. Seems like a good deal, honestly.

    That points to one of the dangers of the standard way protests are handled these days. If you ignore them, corral them into Free Speech Zones, and cut the people out of the system, their only options are to give up and go home, or burn down a drugstore.

    And that’s what bothers me about the Bundy folks, the militias, the so-called-Patriots and the open-carry a-holes — where they are able to articulate a grievance, they have a majority of one of our major political parties on their side, and they behave this way anyway. They have a seat at the table, and yet they still jump straight to violence, even skipping over burning down a CVS, and starting right off at threatening to kill people. They need to be stomped out, thrown in jail where appropriate, and generally dragged off the public stage.

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  177. Pch101 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I just think violence needs to be used sparingly, with the minimal level needed to get the job done.

    There were at least 19 guys on September 11, 2001, who earnestly believed that killing 3,000 people helped to get the job done.

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  178. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    No, you conclusively misunderstood it

    I will readily admit that I did misunderstand your confusing and evolving point. This did not help:

    even though I explained it to you in a few different ways.

    Whatever you were talking about, you weren’t talking about civil disobedience, which by definition, is illegal.

    @Gustopher: A lot to unpack there, a little to quibble with.

    They have a seat at the table, and yet they still jump straight to violence, even skipping over burning down a CVS, and starting right off at threatening to kill people.

    Well, consider that the Bundys don’t actually have support from the majority of one of our political parties. Rand Paul might show up and they might get some talk radio and Facebook love, but you don’t protest a jail sentence and takeover a federal building in the middle of nowhere because you’re powerful. To paraphrase Han Solo, it doesn’t work that way.

    They didn’t jump straight to violence. So far, they haven’t committed any. They have guns and big mouths, but that just means they’re not lefties. Lefties would leave out the guns and the threats, and probably opt for something less confrontational. After all, they have student loans to pay off…can’t get too crazy.

    What bothers me about the Bundy folks is that it’s not immediately clear to my fellow lefties that this is how you do it. Sure the Bundys are a bunch of free-loading, wanna-be celebrities on the wingnut circuit. Sure, their issue is dumb.

    But their approach…it has its merits. Look who is not getting beat or shot or maced or even threatened. I know many people have made this about race, as if the Bundys are the face of white privilege. “If they were black, it’d be Waco all over again.”

    But, I say in my most exaggerated way, what about the guns? I think jail is obviously in the Bundy brothers’ future. I think it’s well deserved. But I also think that lefties who want to get shit done, if you can’t work within the system like millions of unheralded heroes do daily, and you must “non-violently” protest and engage in civil disobedience, you should do it this way.

    Take advantage of your 2nd amendment rights. Organize. Don’t do something stupid, like takeover a bank or pull some Baader-Meinhoff crap. Just put the gun on your hip, talk big and scary, and be prepared to do some heavy lifting. Like I said before, don’t just claim the territory. Defend it too.

    Or do another human chain on the highway again, make people late for daycare.

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  179. dazedandconfused says:

    @James Joyner:

    @Andy: That’s a good explanation of the background. I hadn’t heard of these people or the dispute prior to the incident that sparked this quotatation. My reaction is almost entirely a function of the statements by the Bundys and the “light up the whole country on fire” comment by Steven Hammond.

    Again, the witness who made that testimony wasn’t there that day. The verdict indicates the jury accepted that the burn was an attempt to clear out noxious weeds for grazing. The Oregonian article is lifting out a bit of testimony which apparently fits the author’s (I will not call him a journalist!) desired narrative. Damn shame, because it’s entirely possible to condemn the Bundy gang without insisting the Hammonds are like that.

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  180. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Whatever you were talking about, you weren’t talking about civil disobedience, which by definition, is illegal.

    I didn’t mention embezzlement or computer hacking or mail fraud or parking in front of a fire hydrant, either, because they weren’t relevant to the point being made.

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  181. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Pearce:

    Which, I think, I just conclusively debunked.

    No, you didn’t. His quote was talking about “non-violence.” You then immediately conflated that to “non-violent protest.” That last word, protest, that’s the word you added that was not in his original sentence.

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  182. James Pearce says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    That last word, protest, that’s the word you added that was not in his original sentence.

    That’s not some additional word I took out of context.

    That is the context. A context, I might add, that pch101 still doesn’t grasp.

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  183. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You really aren’t getting it, which is frankly baffling because the point shouldn’t be this tough to grasp.

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  184. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    the point shouldn’t be this tough to grasp.

    You’re right. It shouldn’t be.

    Some coherence and a demonstrated understanding of key concepts would definitely help.

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  185. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Here’s a key concept: Violence without cause is bad.

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  186. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m reconsidering. We should take this very seriously. It’s been over 20 years since Waco and Ruby Ridge; it’s time for another Democrat to massacre a bunch of Americans.

    Of course, Obama’s been killing Americans for years now. Hell, he even ordered the execution of one American citizen who hadn’t even been indicted for any crimes.

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  187. ernieyeball says:

    Cut off the water and the electricity, plug the sewer line and if they burn the furniture for heat that’s more charges of damaging Federal Property (MY property) to hit them with.
    I think I heard their leader “Angry Al” Bundy say they are doing this to help all Americans.
    Well screw them. He is not helping me.
    If they wanted to help citizens they could have been sandbagging the Big Muddy and its tributaries on the shores of Illinois and Missouri last week.
    Silly me.
    That would be constructive behavior.

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  188. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Of course, Obama’s been killing Americans for years now. Hell, he even ordered the execution of one American citizen who hadn’t even been indicted for any crimes.

    Are the Bundys American citizens?

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  189. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Violence without cause is bad.

    That’s not a “key concept.” That’s something a 6 year old would say.

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  190. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    That’s something that every modern legal system says. You’re out of touch with some rather basic realities here.

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  191. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: All the Bundys I know of are. Al, Peg, Bud, Kelly, Ted…

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  192. WR says:

    @Pch101: I’m pretty sure that know one here has any idea what you two are arguing about anymore, and I’d be willing to hazard a guess that neither of you two does, either. Whatever actual point of distinction might once have existed has been replaced by bickering over semantics, and as one who generally appreciates the messages you both post here, I have to say I hope you both give this one up and move on to something with some substance to it.

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  193. Pch101 says:

    @WR:

    You need to learn the definition of semantics, because yours ain’t it.

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