Armed militia members, reportedly being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, took over the Masher National Wildlife Refuge building in Harney County, Oregon.
Clive Bundy is the Nevada rancher that had a standoff with federal authorities in 2014. The standoff was a 20-year dispute between Bundy and the United States Bureau of Land Management over unpaid grazing fees on federal land. When the BLM attempted to roundup the “trespass cattle” a group of armed men advanced on the “cattle gather.” In order to de-escalate the situation the BLM released the cattle.
Splinter group of militia have occupied the headquarters building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Group includes Ammon Bundy.
— Les Zaitz (@LesZaitz) January 3, 2016
The militia group is protesting the conviction of two local ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr.and his son Steven, for arson on public land. The two were sentenced in October to give years in prison. The collective consensus is “that the federal government has no authority in Harney County.”
The militia men occupying the building are on part of the larger original protest group. The group claims that they have over 100 armed supporters with them, but in reality that number may be much lower. Most likely the group is trying to provoke a standoff with the federal government.
Ammon Bundy, one of Cliven’s sons and the reported leader of the occupying militia group said in a YouTube video this past week that what promoted him to go to Oregon was:
“I began to understand how the Lord felt about the Hammonds,” Bundy says in the video. “I began to understand how the Lord felt about Harney County and about this country. And I clearly understood that the Lord was not pleased with what was happening to the Hammonds… If we allowed the Hammonds to continue to be punished, there would be accountability.”
Ammond Bundy also said that he “would not rule out violence if law enforcement tries to remove them.” He said more in a video posted to Facebook:
Another member of the group, Jon Ritzheimer, posted a video on YouTube yesterday stating, “I want to die a free man.”
One of the militia men occupying the fed wildlife refuge in OR left a goodbye video to his family. https://t.co/GIg65GbieV
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) January 3, 2016
The local school district has closed for the week in response to the armed occupation.
The event has garnered a lot of media attention, much of which has shown the extreme bias of mainstream media. The Associate Press originally called it a “peaceful protest.”
They have since changed their headline to: “Militia members occupy U.S. building in Oregon after protest.”
ABC News had a similar response:
— TariqTouré (@TariqToure) January 3, 2016
And reasonably, many individuals are noticing the stark contrast between Black Lives Matter protests response and this armed takeover by white militia men:
Did I miss the call for the national guard in Oregon? I recall them in Ferguson and Baltimore. #OregonUnderAttack
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) January 3, 2016
We send national guards & military to #Ferguson for protesters & watch on every network but white militia take over a federal building, nah.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) January 3, 2016