There’s a time bomb ticking in our western states that’s going to blow one of these first days. And Americans are going to die. Whether it’ll be a gun-happy citizen out to prove some sort of perverted loyalty to the old Constitution, or a lawman who’s finally pushed into a corner, depends on who shoots first. And who shoots last.
The latest Oregon standoff is near our eastern border - about 30 miles outside of Burns in Harney county - one of the largest such jurisdictions in the nation at some 10,000 acres but only about 7,500 people. From beautiful to desolate, it’s remote by all definitions. Can be hot like the fires of Hell in the summer - frozen as the arctic in the winter. Conservative by the traditional definition of that word - not by the standard use today which too often equates to craziness.
Some 200 people have taken control of a federal BLM site 30 miles out of town. Several brick buildings and a few trees. Men, women and children in the compound. Along with enough guns and bullets to take over a small country. The occupants - some with past criminal convictions - have vowed to stay “40 years” or more. While claiming peaceful intentions, they say they’ll shoot if fired upon.
The pretext for the outlaw’s illegal activity was to come to Oregon to defend two ranchers they believed were being persecuted by the court system. Under appropriate law - and as a result of a legal conviction for their crime - the father and son were not being “persecuted” and have peacefully turned themselves in to serve their sentences. So, it would seem the armed interlopers should go home. Right? Not hardly.
Even the Harney County sheriff now says that whole “protect the innocent” claim was B.S. and the intent of the occupiers is - and has been from the start - to confront government. They’re using social media to loudly urge like-minded government haters to come to Oregon, join the movement and make the BLM compound their rallying point for a national offensive to attack government at all levels.
Two of the loudest voices in the compound are those of two sons of Nevada criminal Clive Bundy. Bundy was the focus of an armed confrontation two years ago in which feds backed down even though he’d been convicted of not paying over $1 million he owed the BLM for past grazing on federal lands. Our lands. Our money. Yours and mine.
Both Bundy boys have served time on convictions for this and that. They are what they are - small time criminals with experience in our judicial system. When the NY Times did a well-researched story on the first Bundy confrontation, it found many gun toters on-site had previous criminal and mental problems. Some were actively wanted by the law. It can reasonably be assumed the same situation exists in Harney County - likely with some of the same offenders.
This is at least the third such confrontation forced by armed outsiders in Oregon in the last year. The other two ended with the law backing down and occupiers doing high 5's for “whupping those damned feds again.” In my opinion, the Harney county situation must not end the same way. These people must be stopped. There. Now.
While I don’t want to see anyone killed in or outside the compound, there are ways to bring this illegal occupation to a head - and to an end. First, use existing technology to block cell phone use. No communications in or out not controlled by law enforcement. Isolate those bastards in every possible way. Second, cut electricity. All of it. Temperatures there this week will be about 30 degrees during the day and low 20's and teens at night. Third, cut the water. All of it. Nothing like backed-up toilets and no bathing for making very close quarters uninhabitable.
Shortly, based on my own survival training, I believe three things will happen. First, parents will want to get their children out. Let ‘em out. Second, the occupiers will start arguing among themselves. Not all are hardcore or there because this is the most important thing in their lives. Maybe for the Bundy boys, but not all. They’ll want out. Let ‘em out. Arrest ‘em. Third, just sit tight with guns holstered. Outlast ‘em. They’ll either start a fight the law can win or they’ll give up. I’d bet on surrender.
There should be no concessions. None. Haul their criminal butts off to the Harney County jail. Try each one on whatever charges are appropriate. Jail time for those convicted. Which should mean all.
A basic precept of our national freedoms is that we are “a nation of laws.” While administration of those laws should be done with compassion and tempered by situations at hand, we cannot - must not - allow roaming bands of armed citizens to go unchallenged when they decide to ignore our laws. Laws all of us are expected to obey. Some large American cities are being faced with the same situation. Large groups - armed or not - are flaunting the legal process we must maintain.
Citizens of Harney County have not flocked to support these criminals. News reports and social media are filled with demands that law enforcement at all levels end this occupation and punish all those involved. Get ‘em out!
One more thing. To the media. All media. The people illegally inside that federal compound are not militia. Not in thought, word or deed. The occupiers may call themselves that. But the rest of us - starting with the media - must not. They are defending nothing. They are offending many.
These are armed criminals whose activities border on insurgency. We have laws aplenty to deal with insurgency. If action isn’t taken to stop these folks, they’ll keep coming back again and again. This is the largest collection of them law enforcement has encountered. If they aren’t met with the full force of the law this time, the next “incident” will be larger and more dangerous. And maybe not in such a remote location where they can be confronted as easily.
Eventually, someone will pull a trigger. Someone will die. If this mess in Burns can be ended peacefully, I’m all for it. But if it takes the full efforts of law enforcement at every level to do it with gunfire, now is the time. And 30 miles out of Burns, Oregon is the place.