Best way to handle Oregon Y’all Qaeda “militia”? Laugh — and starve ’em out
First, let’s get something straight — heavily armed publicity hounds taking over a deserted government building to fight government “tyranny” and threatening to kill “government agents” aren’t patriots. They’re traitors to their country. That said, the yahoos that took over a closed wildlife refuge center near Burns, Ore., are providing more comic relief than $arah Palin announcing that she might run for senator from Alaska. Let’s call them the Bundy bunch.
To recap: Two men from a ranching family in southeastern Oregon were convicted of arson for setting two fires in 2001 and 2006 that burned 139 acres of federal land. The defendants, Dwight Hammond Jr., 73, and his 46-year-old son, Steven Hammond, claimed that they had received permission to start the fires, but prosecutors argued that the Hammonds were just trying to cover up an illegal deer hunt. The jury didn’t buy the Hammonds’ story. They were convicted and sentenced to short prison sentences, which they served. But an anti-terrorism law passed in the 1990s after the Oklahoma City bombing requires a minimum five-year sentence for such a crime, and a judge ruled that they had to serve the full five years.
Enter the “professional militia” class, led by offspring of Cliven Bundy, the infamous Nevada rancher who became such a right-wing cause célèbre until he opened his racist mouth on national TV. The Bundy sons and some of their heavily armed compatriots attended what aimed to be a peaceful protest about the Hammonds’ new sentences.
The Oregon neighbors started to get nervous. “I am scared to death,” one woman told local media, unsure of the “militia’s” intent.
Sure enough, the Bundys and their ilk took matters into their heavily armed hands and invaded the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon, which was closed for the weekend. Local schools decided to shut down all week, as officials are concerned about student safety in the face of so much weaponry. Local police and sheriff’s officials are laying low for now, working with the FBI to attempt to find a peaceful end to the occupation.
The Bundy bunch are being mocked severely (and deservedly so) on social media for their unwanted actions.
“They might call themselves defenders of ‘the people,’ ” says an article on Mashable. “But to most of Twitter, they’re ‘Y’all Qaeda,’ ‘Vanilla ISIS,’ ‘Yee Hawdists,’ ‘Yokel Haram,’ ‘Talibundy’ and ‘Meal Team Six’ — all plays on real-life jihadist terminology.”
One “militia” member went so far as to make his own (pitiful) “suicide” video, telling his family that he couldn’t spend the holidays with them and that he was ready to die for his “cause.” Jon Ritzheimer, who has led several anti-Islam rallies, tearfully told his family, “I love you, and no matter what happens … just know I stood for something, don’t let it be in vain.” One tweet suggested that perhaps this “militiaman” would be met by “76 cousins” upon his death. It goes without saying that if these heavily armed protesters were anything but white (i.e., black or Muslim), it’s doubtful they would still be alive.
The Hammonds, by the way, announced that they intended to serve the rest of their sentence. “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond family,” the Hammonds’ attorney, W. Alan Schroeder, wrote to Harney County Sheriff David Ward, according to a story on CNN.
“I don’t like the militia’s methods,” local resident Monica McCannon told TV station KTVZ, according to the CNN story. “They had their rally. Now it’s time for them to go home. People are afraid of them.”
“You people are clowns!” yelled a former Bundy supporter, Jorge Calzadilla, at the Bundy bunch occupiers, according to a story on Huffington Post. “They’re dressing up, being all stealthy, what kind of signal does that send? People see that and think these guys are whackos.”
The Bundys claim that their actions are justified by a curious interpretation of Mormonism. Yet the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement against the occupation. LDS church leaders said they “strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles,” according to the statement.
Even the Oath Keepers, a loosely organized anti-government militia group, spoke out against the Bundy bunch occupation. A video by Oath Keeper President and founder Stewart Rhodes, criticized the action, saying it was done by a bunch of out-of-state “potheads.” An Oath Keeper spokesman later said what Rhodes really said was “hot heads.”
The Bundy bunch remain vague about their demands and are playing coy about the number of occupiers. Ammon Bundy originally claimed there were 150, but reporters who have seen the group say it’s closer to a handful. They are now demanding that President Obama commute the Hammonds’ five-year sentences. Oh, and could people please send them snacks? They’re apparently running low on food.
The standoff remains, as the Bundy bunch have vowed to occupy the building for “years, if necessary.”
Here are some actions government officials could take, if possible: Cut off electricity and water to the occupied building. Jam Wi-Fi, so the occupiers can’t get their message out. Block the roads, so no other supporters (if there are any) can join them or bring them supplies. National media should NOT be acting like a Bundy bunch mouthpiece.
And by all means, keep mocking them.