This is an American story. A real one, based on what’s going on in Oregon. You have already got the news, how a number of self-called militiamen take over the headquarters of Malheur Wildlife Refuge after a pacific protest against the decision to condemn Mr. Dwight Hammond Jr. and Mr. Steven Hammond for setting fire to a federal area.
After the rally a group led by Mr. Ammon Bundy took over the said facility, empty for the weekend, claiming that it will not be given back to the federal authorities and that if the police try to take it back by force they are ready and willing to use firearms. So far the unlawful occupation goes on and so are the claims of the militiamen to refuse to go way unless the Hammonds will be released from prison and the control of the Malheur National Forest given to locals.
No matter how much media attention the militiamen will get now and in the future, it’s high unlikely that federal authorities will satisfy such requests, so the question is: what does Bundy want for real?
A sane man doesn’t want to become a martyr and the people at the refuge are no exceptions to the rule. So, why bother to go toe-to-toe with the feds? As stated in the title of this post, nobody wants another Waco siege but if the militiamen do not go away in the next few days there will be consequences. A judge will issue orders, a federal prosecutor will set up charges. It’s the way of the law and everybody knows that.
The key is political. This is a presidential election year and the far-right movements are ready and willing to use anything they can get to put pressure on the media to gain momentum and radicalize their voters. Mr. Bundy is taking a chance. To face little consequences of his behavior, to win a symbolic battle and going back to Idaho – dreaming to run for Congress or such.
Nobody can set to clock back to 1843, when Oregon was still an autonomous country, or to 1848 when Oregon was just a territory. In my opinion people like Mr. Bundy are exploiting the limits of a democracy and pushing to the edge the rights granted by the American constitution. In a way, this is the most illogical part. If you deny the role of the federal authorities (and doing so you are opposing the national laws that bind together the nation) how come that you claim that you recognize the constitution of the USA as a rule?
This is a dangerous game. Where nobody wins in the long-term and the risk of another Waco is just around the corner. I really hope for an easy and bloodless solution but given recent American history I’m not so light-hearted about that. Time will tell.
Source – Washington Post – HERE
Source – Oregonlive – HERE
Source – LA Times – HERE