A number of armed right-wing “patriots” have taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon, hoping to goad the federal government into armed action against them so they can become conservative heroes. Among their members is a son of Cliven Bundy, the man who won a standoff with federal authorities in Nevada a couple of years back.
Their protest is another symptom of the angry white conservative movement which has found new life thanks to the rise of the Tea Party and the urging of conservative media pundits like Glenn Beck or Mike Adams of Natural News.
Aside from the blatant hypocrisy of the media to avoid calling them terrorists, the fact remains that these people are trying to rally other right-wing conservatives and anti-government gun fanatics to their cause. The occupation of a remote wildlife refuge building isn’t a gallant standoff with the feds, it is a carefully planned media stunt designed to attract sympathy and get people talking about their cause.
It’s tempting to call for the government to wipe these people out, but armed conflict is exactly what they want. The “patriot” movement stays alive by pretending it is defending Americans’ rights against a tyrannical liberal government that wants indoctrinate children and confiscate everyone’s guns. These domestic terrorists want to be seen as martyrs for their cause, and federal force against them would do exactly that.
Their protest is in support of a family which set fires that may have been to cover up evidence that they were poaching deer, but claimed that they did so to burn off unwanted plants on their property.
The militia groups traveled to Burns to show their support for father-and-son ranchers after a judge ruled they served too little time for setting fires that spread to government lands they leased to graze cattle.
Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.
The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time — the father three months, the son one year. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each, as arson on federal land carries a mandatory minimum five-year prison term. (Source)
This father and son broke the law, were convicted of it, and initially sentenced to terms well below the mandatory minimum. They don’t agree with the judge’s ruling and will report to jail on Monday, but that hasn’t stopped the “patriot” movement from exploiting the story for their own propaganda.
So how should law enforcement deal with these individuals without making them seem like right-wing heroes or martyrs? It’s actually very simple, and it avoids the recruiting fodder that Waco and Ruby Ridge inspired people like Timothy McVeigh with.
Instead of going in with guns blazing and making these individuals famous on Fox News or Breitbart, the government should simply allow them to remain in this remote building as long as no violence breaks out. While they are breaking some laws, there is no reason to forcibly remove these “protesters.”
Have the police cut the power in the building and jam their cell phone reception. If they cannot connect with the outside world to promote the cause (on top of the fact that it’s pretty cold out there), it won’t be long before a surrender happens.
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