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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