Civil Disobedience and the Oregon Standoff

Armed men have taken over a federal building in Oregon and are demanding the release of two convicted arsonists. The New York Times glosses over the roots of the protest to focus on who is acting as the spokesman for the protestors. The Chicago Tribune is asking why the Feds haven’t stormed the wildlife refuge like Waco or Ruby Ridge.

The situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon has the potential to spiral out of control, but, as of now, is an exercise in civil disobedience by ranchers. At the heart of the protest are the actions of federal agencies as they expand the amount of land controlled by the federal government.

The two arsonists – after making an agreement and pleading guilty to letting a controlled burn get out of hand and scorch public property worth less than $1000 – served their sentences and were then released. But, the length of their sentences was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Hammonds were ordered back to prison. The actions of the U.S. Attorney, and the stated reasons behind them, are complex but demonstrate a willingness to persecute these two men beyond reason.

Flag SignA fire gets out of control and burns a hundred acres of scrub land. The Hammonds plead guilty and the court sentences them to a year in jail. The federal government has minimum sentences for terrorism charges and wants the ranchers charged as terrorists. So, the feds drag them back to court and then back to prison.

Look past the ridiculousness of the charges, look past the involvement of the members of Cliven Bundy’s family and look past the focus on the ‘armed militia’ that the mainstream media is stuck on and you will see the real problem. Why does the U.S. government control so much land and why are they expanding that control at the expense of ranchers, farmers and land owners across the United States?

Conservation is important, but it must be balanced against the best interests of people who use or own the land. Revoking grazing rights, flooding land by diverting water and using police and federal law enforcement agents to harass and arrest ranchers are actions that would seem more at home in the wild west of 150 years ago. Unfortunately, they are going on right now.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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5 thoughts on “Civil Disobedience and the Oregon Standoff

  1. The land they are occupying is the property of the United States Government obtained through purchase from foreign governments, conquest, and treaty. They have no more right to it then someone living in any other state ofthe Union. Grievances in the Untied States are addressed through the ballot box not armed insurrection. The occupiers are a special interest group hiding behind a façade of patriotism. Western welfare queens looking for free land at the expense of the people not in the name of the people.

  2. A year was enough. Retry was beyond evil. The ignorance and stupidity of the protesters was beyond all sensibility,they invited Death plain and simple,it was the wrong way to handle the situation. The leader whom was killed should have been brought in alive to face justice,he wanted to die. Justified shooting most likely, wrong never the less too many people being shot in the back. Cant say id be real proud of myself for that, im always for taking alive if possible so the perpetrator can face judgement by a jury of his peers,and if found guilty sent to prison to make amends and dwell on his actions,but who are we kidding the entire system is broken and few if any rehabilitation occurs in an American penal system,lots of problems no real reforms. The bigger issue is the lack of respect shown for the endangered eco system they blatantly disrupted, both sides could have handled it better now we have what, bad feelings animosity a dead man a dead mans killer albeit justified he should be haunted by the way he killed the man, I may be wrong but I believe he could have been taken alive. He wanted to die so he won. And what good did his death accomplish? Just more b.s. To clutter up the p.c. Media as if that was needed. All in all a wasted effort. When will common sense come into the picture? Not going to hold my breath.

  3. The U.S. Government is infantry t not supposed to own land outside of Washington D.C., except for Magazines, Armory’s, etc. According to the Constitution. I believe many Americans are sympathetic to the plight of the occupation in Oregon, however I believe it was the wrong time, wrong place and wrong way. The founders gave the People through the independent States several ways to keep the Federal government in check. We need to pursue those options first prior to a shooting war.

  4. My issue with this (and other recent incidents involving BLM issues) is this; As has been the trend lately in America’s “War on Law Enforcement”, the focus seems to continuously be drawn away from the basic accountability for ones actions.

    In this case (and the others), the accused did self admittedly break the law…and were dealt with accordingly. The justifications of this “civil disobedience” is that the “laws are stupid.” That may be, but it is still the law. I personally find many of our laws to be “stupid”, such as income tax, speed limits, and the scheduling of marijuana as a hallucinogen. However, I doubt the author of this piece or anyone else will take up arms should I choose to not pay taxes, go 130 mph down the freeway, or smoke weed & get caught.

    The resulting acts of disobedience and government dissent, are likewise, illegal, threatening, and non-justifiable. They too, should be dealt with accordingly & if force is required to restore the peace & tranquility of the federal property, so be it…Don’t start a war & then yell time or foul out when your opponent outguns & out numbers you.

    The author poses the question about the “expanding control” of BLM & Govt. agencies at the expense of the poor farmers & ranchers, however disregards the fact that much of this land is federally owned because there was a time at which the ranchers & farmers either refused to take ownership of the land & in some cases gave their existing land to the govt. to relieve the burden of taking care of it. Although those decisions were made by the forefathers of those involved, our constitution & laws were also by and large made by our forefathers…thus, the playing field is equal.

    Don’t break the law & the cry about consequences of your actions should be the takeaway…Not attacking the “Jack booted cops” & the “bid mean govt.” who are trying to enforce it

  5. It is high time to take our country back from these corrupt career politicians,who do not care about what is happening, as long as it is not happening in their neighborhood.

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