Why Bunkerville was so right and Burns is so wrong.
A brief statement on the situation in Burns, OR.
I am not against armed intervention and civil disobedience by citizens to address grievous wrongs perpetrated by government at any level. Over the years I have organized and/or participated in a number of “armed“interventions to tell one level of government or another that they could not do a certain thing. I supported what happened at Bunkerville because of the clear, undeniable evil and malice that was present there. A small ranching family surrounded by dozens of hired killers, military style equipment being brought to bear, snipers aiming rifles at women, and the killing and maiming of cattle. The right and wrong of the situation was not bound up in common law mumbo-jumbo or saddle seat dissertations on the intent of the founders. It was so startlingly clear in its malignance and arrogance that it compelled the reaction that culminated in the panicked rout of the Fed's hired killers. The acceptance of the action by most of the country was based far more on the clear repudiation of the pending murder raid, than an active support of Bundy’s claims, the overall land use issues or any deep understanding of Constitutional law. It is also my belief, that the efforts were successful because of its righteousness. It was a clear case of good vs. evil; it was blessed by heaven.
Here is my thinking on Burns/Hammond situation, and why Burns is not Bunkerville.
The Bundy’s have a legitimate claim that they have had grazing rights all the way back to before there was a BLM and that they should be grandfathered on many of the crucial points of contention. The immediate cause of the problem at Bundy's was the contention that the man should give up a chunk of his business in order to protect a turtle.
Not so in the Hammond Case. I have seen no evidence that the Hammonds had ever contested BLM jurisdiction until they got in trouble over the fires.
Bundy was accused of not paying grazing fees for the use of the land, while true, he did say he would pay the county, as the land belongs to them and not the Feds.
The Hammonds were convicted (rightly or wrongly, is not relevant to this section) of arson, sentenced and served their appointed time. The Feds appealed the judge’s decision to go light on the sentences and invoked the terror laws to implement minimum sentencing.
The Bundy’s were facing an immediate threat to life and limb. There is no indication that the Hammonds faced any sort of physical threat.
When one moves into the realm of armed intervention there must be a clear reason for the armed intervention. All claims about being peaceful made with a gun in your hand clearly communicate that your peaceful intentions are predicated on your opposition not crossing some line that you have established. The weapon is a threat not to cross that line. Ask yourself, "Does this case warrant the use of armed intervention?" Even the Hammonds say, "No". Remember that the Hammonds said, "NO!"
The position that this is the wrong place for this type of action is bolstered by the fact that most of the local Militias and regional organizations respected the Hammond's wishes and left or stayed to run a peaceful rally. The certainty that even those who are doing this thing knew it was wrong is supported by the fact that they did not coordinate this with any of the local groups or regional associations but have, in fact, acted unilaterally. I don’t think it is unfair to surmise that the reason for this lack of coordination was their understanding that the groups would not have supported them. I wonder if ego has not overridden good sense here. Everyone came to rescue a man who would not be rescued. Unable to deal with that rejection, I wonder if this was not an attempt to “save face” or perhaps assure themselves that they are still relevant.
The siege at Bunkerville was a marvelous event. The final act was glorious to watch. It must have been hard for the participants to contain their feelings as the Fed killers beat a panicked retreat from the assemblage of determined Americans. It was a life changing event for many who were there. And, therein, may lay a problem. I have some experience with a veteran of the Bunkerville Stand-off and for him it is the seminal event of not only his life, but for all of the Patriot movement, past present and future. He spews forth contempt and profanity laden explosions of vicious desperation on any who were not at the Nevada confrontation. It was the event that transformed him. A time when he was greater than he had ever been before, serving a cause, selflessly, that was way bigger than himself. He is justified in much of his appreciation of his efforts, as so many have never found the courage to make that stand. But it has not made him a better man or patriot. He seems intent on finding again that feeling of victory that Bundy put into his heart. Growing ever angrier that another opportunity has not materialized to put him back into that heady atmosphere of shared danger for a noble cause, he has withdrawn and attacks all other Patriots who do not share his desperate need to recreate the Great Bundy Siege. He does not realize that situations as clear as the Bundy Stand-off CANNOT be manufactured for the satisfaction of the participants. Any attempt to create the situation will fail, as it has in Burns. For them Bunkerville is the only event of defiance to tyranny. However to those like me, who is in his fifth decade of resistance, Bunkerville was just one incident, albeit a truly magnificent one, but still just one of dozens of incidences over those decades that have helped to resurrect and nurture this spirit of resistance now coming to full bloom in the land .
I believe that the actions at Burns have been ill considered, ill-advised and disastrously implemented. It makes no sense to most in our movement and will make far less to John Q. Public. Its timing is so damn bad that one has to wonder if a federally controlled person inside that group has not manipulated this to happen right before our Usurper-in-Chief is set to begin a real war on guns.
All of that said, we must make sure all understand that as ill-advised as this was, it is no worse in its effect than any of the Occupy protests of a couple of years ago. I’m betting it will not be anywhere near as destructive to the facility as the Occupy folks were at every location they protested. Let's make sure that our elected officials understand that we expect the same amount of patience and restraint granted to these protesters as was given to those Occupy freaks. We must not allow this foolishness to divide a movement that has struggled for unity. We must no longer tolerate the loudmouths who advocate precipitous actions that pay no benefit to the cause of Restoration of the Republic. This may make Ammon and the others feel good, but I fear its cost to the movement may be staggering.