Quick hit: An armed militia has occupied a federal building in Oregon, but whatever, NBD

On Saturday, a group of armed men seized control of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns, Oregon. The building was unoccupied at the time they took control and they hold no hostages, but Ammon Bundy (son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, he of his own anti-government standoff in 2014), has said that they “will be [t]here as long as it takes,” up to several years, adding, “We have no intentions of using force upon anyone, (but) if force is used against us, we would defend ourselves.” He also made it clear that they are “not terrorists” but merely “concerned citizens.” Ammon’s brother Ryan told an Oregonian reporter that “they’re willing to kill and be killed if necessary.”

As of yet, law enforcement has been treating the matter gently and has opted not to engage actively for fear of inflaming the situation. Also, the self-identified “patriots,” who range in number (based on varying reports) from 15 to 150 and are heavily armed, are white.

The group gathered in support of two ranchers, Dwight and Steve Hammond, who were convicted of arson and are scheduled to report to prison tomorrow and have released a statement saying that they really, really don’t want the group’s support, thank you for offering, that’s very generous, please no.


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30 comments for “Quick hit: An armed militia has occupied a federal building in Oregon, but whatever, NBD

  1. January 3, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I’m so fucking sick of coddling conservatives. That is all.

  2. HowIsBabbyFormed
    January 4, 2016 at 12:45 am

    These guys are unfortunately seen as American mascots. Like a green monster, black hawk, and a red sock, they are amusing in cartoon form but terrifying in person. Unfortunately, they are not cartoons, except figuratively.

    If fifteen men gather in the woods to polish their guns, are they still straight acting?

  3. Angie unduplicated
    January 4, 2016 at 8:36 am

    You might want to read Matt Novak’s shocking article “Oregon Was Founded As A Racist Utopia” on Gawker. Not good news for anyone seeking progressive paradise.

  4. a lawyer
    January 4, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Sure, they are occupying self righteous true believers that oppose the US government and want to use their occupation to change policy. I don’t like them. Neither do folks on Feministe, I expect.

    But “occupying self righteous true believers that oppose the US government and want to use their occupation to change policy” is a label that gets applied to a lot of groups, most often groups on the left. Like, say, Occupy or BLM or what have you.

    So I am cautious about pushing to have the government respond super harshly. Anything they do to these folks (who we all presumably dislike) will also be done to other folks who we like.

    Also, I assume they’re trying to avoid a duplication of Waco, which is probably a reasonable fear because these folks seem a bit unhinged. Hopefully they can simply surround them, and eventually starve them out and subsequently arrest them.

    • January 4, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Oh, I definitely agree that going in guns blazing is a bad idea and looking for trouble. But I disagree that groups like BLM are labeled “occupying self righteous true believers that oppose the US government and want to use their occupation to change policy.” They’re labeled dangerous, violent thugs. And it’s vastly hypocritical of law enforcement to hose down peaceful Occupy protesters with pepper spray and meet BLM marchers with military-grade urban police tanks while keeping their distance from potentially dozens of heavily armed zealots occupying a government building because gosh, they aren’t causing any trouble, and we wouldn’t want to start something.

      • a lawyer
        January 4, 2016 at 11:16 am

        Caperton says:
        January 4, 2016 at 10:53 am
        Oh, I definitely agree that going in guns blazing is a bad idea and looking for trouble. But I disagree that groups like BLM are labeled “occupying self righteous true believers that oppose the US government and want to use their occupation to change policy.”

        They’re labeled dangerous, violent thugs.

        ? You mean when they take over college buildings? Or set up drum circles in the parks? Or march? Or take over public parks for a few months? Or stage sit-ins?

        They are NOT labeled thugs. They get global, accommodating, positive press from places like the NY Times and the President of the U.S.A. for chrissakes.

        And it’s vastly hypocritical of law enforcement to hose down peaceful Occupy protesters with pepper spray

        I opposed this when it happened. But I assume you’re mostly talking about UC Davis? Because AFAIK this was not SOP for Occupy protests, which were immense and covered a huge # of locations and which had relatively small %ages of inappropriate police violence.

        and meet BLM marchers with military-grade urban police tanks

        I don’t know about this one but I am not surprised if it happened; there’s an ongoing militarization of the cops which I despise. (I distinguish quite a bit between a show of force and actual force, though. Showing up in tanks without engaging is not a huge problem in my eyes.)

        More to the point, BLM protests are very widespread and numerous, and as far as I can see the vast vast majority of them are going fine. BLM can march to an airport, or to the governor’s mansion, or to all sorts of places. Hell, BLM can disrupt a presidential candidacy speech and they won’t get arrested for it. (Try that without the BLM platform and let me know how it goes.)

        You seem to be arguing that they are disproportionately targeted, I don’t think it’s factually correct. If anything the reverse is true.

      • HowIsBabbyFormed
        January 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        OMG they all have guns, no one at Occupy or BLM is waving their guns about anywhere. Why so dense bro.

        I love how BLM now imparts privilege because one democractic socialist candidate didn’t have them arrested. They are so privileged.

        The BLM protesters who interrupted Donald Trump’s speech didn’t get arrested either, just beaten. The people who assaulted them weren’t arrested either.

        You’re ignorant

      • Angel H.
        January 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        They are NOT labeled thugs.

        Actually, they’ve been labeled “terrorists”. The people they’ve been protesting on behalf of are the ones that have been labeled “thugs”. So…yay?

        They get global, accommodating, positive press from places like the NY Times and the President of the U.S.A. for chrissakes.

        Because President Obama’s stamp of approval has been given sooo much weight lately…

        You seem to be arguing that they are disproportionately targeted, I don’t think it’s factually correct. If anything the reverse is true.

        Bullshit. Not only have the members been disproportionately targeted, the BLM message has been twisted and missappropriated since the beginning. (“All Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter” (for police)…)

      • PrettyAmiable
        January 4, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        Super OT, I’m sorry, but can I suggest we all actually spell out “Black Lives Matter”? There’s so much value to the message and I don’t think it can be repeated enough.

  5. Deborah Laymon
    January 4, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    If they were black, the building would be burning now. There would be panicked calls for something to be done to stop this in the future.

    These “occupiers” are threatening to oppose the government by physical force. Just like the Weathermen (remember a blown-up townhouse in NYC in the sixties?) these armed people are domestic terrorists. The last time they pulled a similar stunt on federal land, the government blinked and went home. If something isn’t done, then they will free safe to go even further — possibly to lethal force.

    • January 7, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      The Weathermen were not terrorists, they were fighting a defensive war against the illegal and immoral US occupation of a sovereign state.

      • ludlow22
        January 8, 2016 at 12:56 am

        Isn’t that exactly the same thing every other terrorist group (Al-Qaeda and the IRA, to name two) says?

        What makes you a terrorist isn’t your motives, it’s your tactics.

    • a lawyer
      January 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Deborah Laymon says:

      First: Does ANYONE here think that that the government should start shooting people more than it does now? I sure don’t. And I bet you don’t either.

      In fact, I am confident that you and I would both argue strenously against an armed military response (much less a lethal response) to rioting–even though it involves destruction and, often, incidents of physical violence. I am confident that we shared an appalled response to the way the cops acted in the Ferguson riots, to use a particularly apropos example.

      So what I don’t get is why you seem to be arguing for the government to act differently here. Again: Middle of winter, middle of nowhere. It isn’t like there are armed folks who have taken over the state house.

      If they were black, the building would be burning now. There would be panicked calls for something to be done to stop this in the future.

      I don’t think so. I guess we can disagree. But larger-scale black protests have not suffered from unusual government violence. Of course, some violence is common (though bad) but when groups of blacks take public action they do not seem to get materially different treatment.

      These “occupiers” are threatening to oppose the government by physical force. Just like the Weathermen (remember a blown-up townhouse in NYC in the sixties?) these armed people are domestic terrorists.

      Well, the Weathermen actually did things like setting off bombs, jailbreaks, etc. But in any case, it is a good thing that we have improved a bit since the 60s and 70s, isn’t it?

      Time was, when faced with any resistance whatsoever, the government was happy to go in guns blazing. Time was, that if a group of black lives matter (or their equivalent) protestors blocked highways or airports, the cops would walk in with clubs, dogs, and water hoses.

      The fact that we are not doing that is GOOD.

      The last time they pulled a similar stunt on federal land, the government blinked and went home.

      Actually, the last time they messed with federal land, the government charged them, and then appealed the sentence for being too short, and now is putting them in jail–or more accurately federal prison–for five years.

      If something isn’t done, then they will feel safe to go even further — possibly to lethal force.

      This is–quite literally–the precise justification for the vast majority of government actions against people, and notably black people. “Well, he didn’t actually shoot at me or have a gun at all. But if I hadn’t shot him, he might have.” “If I hadn’t exercised ‘command presence’ by choking him, the situation might have escalated.” “If we don’t take him out for that, he’ll do something worse.”

      When you start advocating for action based on the possibility of what someone might be feared to do in the future, you’re going down a bad path.

      • Angel H.
        January 10, 2016 at 6:28 pm

        When white bodies are involved, they follow standard operating procedure. When Black or Brown bodies are involved, they decide to make an example out of them using brute force.

        Until they show the same amount of compassion for POC that they do for white people, I really don’t care.

      • Aaliyah
        January 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

        Time was, that if a group of black lives matter (or their equivalent) protestors blocked highways or airports, the cops would walk in with clubs, dogs, and water
        hoses.

        The fact that we are not doing that is GOOD.

        swat team and navy forces were deployed in ferguson, and among the weapons used were LRADs (sound weapons that emit screeches capable of causing permanent hearing loss and migraines), rubber bullets (far more dangerous and life-threatening than commonly assumed), flash bangs and tear gas. canine units were also deployed. so no, this is all still happening and it is treatment that’s materially different from how whites and non-black people are treated.

      • ludlow22
        January 11, 2016 at 1:18 am

        navy forces were deployed in ferguson

        Cite please?

      • Aaliyah
        January 11, 2016 at 9:32 am
  6. a lawyer
    January 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Bullshit. Not only have the members been disproportionately targeted,

    What, precisely, do you mean by that? What are you calling disproportionate and what are you referring to as “targeting?” Facts matter.

    the BLM message has been twisted and missappropriated since the beginning. (“All Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter” (for police)…)

    Um… ignoring the crucial distinction between “twisting” and “offering a competing message,” are you seriously suggesting that this is the sort of thing you’re referring to?

    Because if you classify “support from the President, major candidates, and global papers” as “irrelevant;” and when you start equating the use of competing slogans as crucial in a discussion about violence; I think you are demonstrating a bit of an objectivity problem.

    • Angel H.
      January 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      In case you haven’t noticed, it’s open season on Black folks.

      So when I see a bunch of armed white guys being handled with kid gloves, but a Black child’s death is being blamed on the child and not on the white officers that shot him 2 seconds after arriving on scene, being Black myself, you damn straight I have an objectivity problem.

      And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

      • a lawyer
        January 4, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        Would you be happier if the government stormed in there driving a few tanks, broke down the building, and killed a few dozen of them?

        If it makes you happier to know this: When a bunch of white bikers and suspected gang members got together in Waco in May, the feds shot a ton of them, arrested everyone, refused to share a lot of information, set bail at a million dollars each, and so on. They were not, by many accounts, actually doing anything especially illegal at the time.

        But that’s good, right? At least in your non-objective world?

        Because if the police are encouraged to go in guns blazing after a bunch of idiotic right-wing assholes stroking their guns in an empty house in the winter-which is pretty much what is going on here-imagine how they will respond elsewhere. Like, say, imagine how they will respond to, oh, a bunch of rioters.

        They’re not being handled with kid gloves. They’re being handled by SOP. They’ll just sit and surround them and wait them out because (press and threats aside) there’s no actual threat and there’s no real interference with anyone. They are sitting in East Nowhere, in winter, in a house.

        And yeah: there’s a hell of a lot wrong with your objectivity problem. You don’t need to lose sight of what reality is, in order to be upset.

      • Angel H.
        January 6, 2016 at 10:35 am

        Because if the police are encouraged to go in guns blazing after a bunch of idiotic right-wing assholes stroking their guns in an empty house in the winter-which is pretty much what is going on here-imagine how they will respond elsewhere. Like, say, imagine how they will respond to, oh, a bunch of rioters.

        Oh, you mean like how they were acting with the Black Lives Matter protestors, with tanks and tear gas and shit?

        And yeah: there’s a hell of a lot wrong with your objectivity problem. You don’t need to lose sight of what reality is, in order to be upset.

        Whose reality are you talking about here? Is it the reality of someone who sees herself and her family in every Black person that’s killed by a racist white with an itchy trigger finger? Is it the reality of someone who is no longer surprised when the white racist isn’t held responsible? Is it the reality of someone who’s more afraid of getting shot by the police than by her drug-dealing neighbor and his “friends”?

        You tell me, Mr. White Lawyer Man. Who’s reality do you mean?

      • ludlow22
        January 6, 2016 at 6:18 pm

        They’re not being handled with kid gloves. They’re being handled by SOP. They’ll just sit and surround them and wait them out because (press and threats aside) there’s no actual threat and there’s no real interference with anyone. They are sitting in East Nowhere, in winter, in a house.

        This.

        The correct response is “we should respond to all protests with a minimum amount of force,” not “let’s go shoot these assholes.”

      • pheenobarbidoll
        January 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        They weren’t all white bikers. The Cossacks and the Banditos are notorious around here ( I don’t live that far from Waco) and they had, a month earlier, planned a war here in my town. They have murders, smuggle drugs and get into fights all over the place. That they were meeting was no surprise, and violence was expected. The cops were justified in their reaction. Unlike how they reacted to a peaceful black lives matter protest as a mall, where dozens and dozens showed up in riot gear.

      • Aaliyah
        January 8, 2016 at 10:56 am

        They’re not being handled with kid gloves. They’re being handled by SOP. They’ll just sit and surround them and wait them out because (press and threats aside) there’s no actual threat and there’s no real interference with anyone. They are sitting in East Nowhere, in winter, in a house.

        well here’s one thing that happens to many black people when they are sitting in their own homes: cops barge in and assault/murder/arrest them for just about any reason they can come up with, because they’re racist as fuck and know they can get away with it as a result of legal and social privilege.

        the long-running history of anti-black violence perpetrated by cops should be enough for people to find this racist dynamic unsurprising. on top of that, there have been many incidents over the past two years that clearly reflect this history. here is just one of those incidents (TW: misogynoir and sexual violence).

        so yes, when armed white dudes gather in a space affirming that they have the right to shoot and kill when necessary, and get an incredibly lenient treatment by law enforcement, they are being handled with kid gloves. theyre being granted innocence and leniency that is systematically denied to black people.

  7. Pheenobarbidoll
    January 4, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Armed white people have been occupying this country for 500 years.

    Apart from the racist hypocrisy in regards to how poc protesters are treated, Im just not that fired up about this. It’s between these militia assholes and the BLM assholes. BLM take particular delight in stealing more land ( mostly from us, not that this ever gets anyone motivated to protest, except for us and no one knows about it because the news doesn’t give a shit either) These types of militia assholes usually have no problem being the buyers of that land.

    So it’s like watching 2 groups swallow the medicine they’ve normally been dishing out to us instead. Clearly, they both find it bitter.

  8. Angel H.
    January 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Waitaminute waitaminute waitaminute….

    BLM = Black Lives Matter or Bureau of Land Management?

    (I was referring to Black Lives Matter, btw.)

    • Schmorgluck
      January 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      It has confused me too. I’m not always sure of what people are reffering to when they use the BLM initialism on that particular matter.

    • Pheenobarbidoll
      January 4, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Sorry about that! Bureau of Land Management. I’m more used to talking about BLM and BIA ( bureau of Indian affairs) and it only meaning the government bureaus.

      • Pheenobarbidoll
        January 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm

        But I knew what you meant by BLM.

  9. January 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    via Pharyngula:

    LaVoy Finicum, one of the mouthy militia that’s taken over Malheur Preserve, is sad because while he’s gallivanting off to pointless, egotistical crusades in remote places, they have taken his foster children away.

    “They” being the organizations that pay him to take care of these kids. On top of neglecting his parental responsibilities, his complaint reveals something of his character. Rather than desperately begging to have his loved ones returned to him, which is how I’d have reacted if Child Protective Services had swept my children away, he’s moaning about the loss of income.

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