Who’s up for some anti-government, molon-labe armed insurrection? Don’t worry, it’s white people, we’ll all be safe! Them Bundy boys — last seen in 2014 backing up their ol’ pa Cliven Bundy’s grazing rebellion — rallied to the defense of some Oregon ranchers and done took over a bird sanctuary. And they claim they’ll be there for years and if’n you federales come a-callin’, pew pew!
These renegades may be mocked by some as “Y’all Qaeda,” but to rightbloggers they’re heroes of limited government, like Reagan or Timothy McVeigh.
At the center of the standoff are Dwight and Steven Hammond, members of a family of ranchers who’ve been running afoul of the feds on land use for years. (Here’s an interesting account of Dwight’s prior history of threats and a 1994 Caterpillar attack against federal agents.) They were convicted in 2012 of burning federal land without authority and served short sentences. But a three-judge panel in October decided their crimes amounted to terrorism and required five-year minimums under a 1996 post-Oklahoma City law (thanks, statist Bob Dole!). Obviously, this was absurd because, as everyone knows, only Muslims can be terrorists. But the Hammonds’ attorneys accepted the new arrangement, though they managed to get time served removed from their clients’ new terms.
But them Bundy boys got a wild hair this week and (after a peaceful protest march in Burns, Oregon) took over the nearby headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — the same refuge where Dwight got all hot and bothered with the feds in ’94. (You remember the Bundys, right? They swept up rightbloggers in their all-your-federal-lands-belong-to-us siege back in 2014, but lost their cred when patriarch Cliven Bundy said a bunch of racist shit that even rightbloggers couldn’t defend) The Bundy gang have called for more armed allies and say they’ll hole up there for years if necessary. They also won’t rule out plugging the first revenooer who comes a-callin’.
But the Hammonds, for their part, aren’t going along with the Bundys’ escapades — in fact, they say they’ll go on and serve their sentences, thanks anyway. So the Bundys’ big takeover is basically a battle cry of gun nuts, oath keepers, and others who don’t see where in the Constitution it says the Dad Blamed Gummint can make laws and whatnot.
A few rightbloggers straight-up portrayed this as part of Good America’s ongoing war against the federal government, which will one day result in a Rule of the Sheriffs that will return America to its natural agrarian state.
The Last Refuge, for example, gave a very lengthy and sympathetic account of the Hammonds’ alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the fascist Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management. The site portrayed the family’s trial as fixed: “For example, Judge Hogan did not allow time for the jury to hear or review certified scientific findings that the fires improved the health and productivity of the land,” they wrote. “Or, that the Hammonds had been subject to vindictive behavior by multiple federal agencies for years.” The piece concluded with the ravings of Bundy gang cohort Jon Ritzheimer — “The United States Justice Department has NO jurisdiction or authority within the State of Oregon, County of Harney over this type of ranch management… I suggest an Evidentiary Hearing or a Grand Jury be formed by We the People.”
The Last Refuge’s version became gospel among the more excitable types, but some rightbloggers had other interpretations. At the Oath Keepers site, Mike Vanderboegh blamed the siege on federal provocateurs. “For the regime, this could not come at a better time,” Vanderboegh said. “The old Roman adage ‘cui bono’ applies here. There is nothing on the talking heads channels as yet, but by Monday, when Obama meets with his Attorney General on the subject of citizen disarmament, you can bet the farm that this will play right into that narrative.” SEE? IT ALL ADDS UP!
More phlegmatic was Vanderboegh’s colleague Shorty Dawkins. His screed started with a bit of yak about how “at Lexington and Concord, the Minute Men were defending, not aggressing, which rallied their fellow countrymen to their cause.” He later called the Bundy gang’s takeover “the wrong action at the wrong time. There will come a time when the time is right, but it is not now. It may come sooner than we expect, but it is not now.” Keep your powder dry and your Bud Light cold, patriots!
But the brighter rightbloggers, perhaps remembering what fools Cliven Bundy made them look like in 2014, tried to split the difference. They generally agreed that it was cool for right-wing white people to threaten the authorities with violence, but mildly questioned the Bundys’ action as a matter of strategy.
Take Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, who was very enthusiastic for the Bundys back in 2014 — “this rancher is once again raising awareness of vital questions of federal vs state vs private property rights,” he wrote then.
This week Shaw cut the gang some slack, but a little more carefully. “This is pretty minor as far as ‘arson’ goes and the men have already served time in jail,” he judged. “The second point that Bundy and his followers are making seems to be that the federal government has unlawfully taken control of this land as a wildlife refuge and that the ranchers should be free to make use of it. In that regard, any sort of federal charges would have been inappropriate to begin with, though the courts clearly can’t (and won’t) see it that way.”
Shaw also denounced the whole idea of “’poaching’ on federal land,” which he portrayed as “Washington restricting the right of people to feed themselves by taking game in The King’s Forest and streams,” as if the Hammonds were subsistence farmers filching muskrats so the young’uns won’t get rickets. And he wanted America to “begin discussing the federal surrender of at least some of these lands to the states,” from which it would be easier for corporations to buy them up for a song. But finally Shaw was forced to admit the occupation was “crazy,” at least tactically, and suggested the gang put down their weapons and redirect that nervous energy into a legal challenge to the authority of the United States — “you’ll garner a tremendous amount of support around the nation, particularly among conservatives and libertarians,” he added helpfully. It can’t miss!
“Cliven Bundy’s son seizes Oregon gov’t building, DEMANDS Constitutional rights be returned to the people,” hollered The Right Scoop. “…Ammon [Bundy] makes a lot of sense in his video, but that’s not the way he’s going to be portrayed by the media.” (Their commenters, though, were fired up: “We lost our government back when Wilson was president. Between the Fabian Society and IMF we are on a path to the book of Revelation that speeds up daily…” etc.)
“The ranchers admit they set the fire and the land they burned was public land,” said Rick Moran at American Thinker. “[But] the larger point being made by Bundy et al needs airing…the federal government owns too much land — especially in the western US…[and] the government manages that land stupidly.” So why not turn it over to nuts with guns? And as for the weaponry, Moran shrugged: “anytime there are opposing sides who are armed, there is the potential for violence.” We have guns, the police have guns — obviously both sides are to blame.
Later Moran got a little sassier; “apparently,” he said, “the group occupying a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge should be designated as ‘terrorists’ because, well, guns… Earth to lefties: Someone holding a gun is not acting violently.” That guy sticking you up is just making suggestions with his gun, see? “OCCUPY OREGON,” said Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, who also didn’t see how guns and threats changed anything, since they weren’t being turned on him. “Hey, we’ve established over the past few years that it’s perfectly fine to occupy public property when you’re working for social justice.”
There were other rightbloggers with their own agendas — For example, gun salesmen like Bob “Confederate Yankee” Owens (“Folks, I’d advise you to look at how the left cries for blood over #OregonUnderAttack. Buy AR-15s. Learn how to use them. NOW”). And libertarians: Reason’s Ed Krayewski attacked “Left-wing Twitter” because they “didn’t label this protest, say, #OccupyMalheur, but #OregonUnderAttack, which implies, incorrectly, that the protesters at Malheur were being violent against the residents of Oregon. There have been no reports of any casualties, clashes, hostages, or deaths.” Not yet, anyway! Pew pew!
Twitchy, Michelle Malkin’s wingnut alternative Twitter, told readers what The Real Crime was: A Rolling Stone reporter referring to Burns, Oregon as “Bumblefuck.” They’re not wrong: Classically, such towns are rendered “Bumfuck,” please see the style guide. Another so-called Real Crime was anyone complaining that whites with guns were being treated differently from blacks with guns. “Are there riots at this remote wildlife station that need an immediate National Guard response?” Twitchy asked, I guess sarcastically. And as long as no statists come to the bird sanctuary, there won’t be none, neither!
Anyway, the feds, wary of another Waco, are keeping their distance, so it appears the Bundys will be allowed to play their patriot games until a non-fatal exit strategy can be devised. Then the brethren can go back to dreaming of a great insurrection that, once the sheeple wake up, will restore America. That way, if they blow yet another Presidential election, they’ll still have something to look forward to.