The latest demonstration of the dementia that defines modern “conservatism” and the GOP’s Faustian bargain with well-armed, mentally-challenged extremists is playing out in Oregon.
A “militia” has occupied the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, taking over federal property by force of arms and the implied threat of bloodshed. The refuge, which encompasses 292 square miles, was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican and the greatest elected American hero of environmentalism.
The leader of the armed occupation of Malheur is Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who suggested blacks were better off as slaves and thumbed his nose at federal law. The government backed down after his family staged an armed protest in 2014. Little wonder his son believes he can achieve the same in Oregon.
The spark of this latest insurrection was the inevitable imprisonment of Dwight Hammond Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Hammond, 46. They were convicted in 2012 of setting fires on public land. They both served prison terms (Dwight three months, Steven a year), but a federal judge deemed the sentences insufficient and ordered them back to jail. Federal law dictates a minimum five-year sentence for their crimes.
The Hammonds have disowned any connection to Occupy Malheur, but Ammon Bundy isn’t about to pass on a chance at Fox “News” fame. Among the ridiculous demands he has made is that the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge be surrendered to private ownership. What’s next? Occupy Yosemite?
The Feds, including President Obama, are seeking a peaceful resolution. If the FBI, ATF or soldiers are sent in, there is a risk of making martyrs out of impotent fools made dangerous by firearms and childish ideas. Any responsible gun owner who respects the Constitution that enshrined his or her right to keep and bear arms should see Ammon Bundy and his ilk as enemies of American liberty.
If Muslim-Americans dared stage an armed occupation of federal property, these same thugs and their enablers in government and Corporate Hate Radio would label them terrorists and demand the Kenyan Marxist Socialist Appeaser-in-Chief send in the Army to drive them out. Because Ammon Bundy and his benighted followers are at least primarily White Christians, they are seen by many as freedom-loving American patriots, even as they take up arms against the federal government, the definition of treason.