Bury my heart at the visitor center

By Dennis Hartley

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Oy, vay.  Disenfranchised white men with guns Patriots are takin’ a stand ‘ginst them revenooers. An’ don’t call ’em terrorists! From CNN:

Armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land.

One of them is Ammon Bundy, the 40-year-old son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is well-known for anti-government action.

He spoke by phone to CNN Sunday morning. Asked several times what he and those with him want, he answered in vague terms, saying that they want the federal government to restore the “people’s constitutional rights.”

“This refuge — it has been destructive to the people of the county and to the people of the area,” he said.

“People need to be aware that we’ve become a system where government is actually claiming and using and defending people’s rights, and they are doing that against the people.”

The group is occupying part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns after gathering outside for a demonstration supporting Dwight and Steven Hammond, father-and-son ranchers who were convicted of arson.

Prosecutors said the Hammonds set a fire that burned about 130 acres in 2001, to cover up poaching. They were sentenced to five years in prison.

The Hammonds, who are set to turn themselves in Monday afternoon, have said they set the fire to reduce the growth of invasive plants and to protect their property from wildfires, CNN affiliate KTVZ reported.

The Hammonds have been clear in that they don’t want help from the Bundy group.

They’re getting “help”,  nonetheless.  Apparently, an infinite amount:

When asked what it would take for the protesters to leave, Bundy did not offer specifics. He said he and those with him are prepared to stay put for days or weeks.

[…]

“We are using the wildlife refuge as a place for individuals across the United States to come and assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources,” he said.

Oh, I see. “Their” lands, and resources.  I know this may be American History 101, and you’ve heard this a million times before, but if I am not mistaken, the only “people” who can truly claim original “dibs” on the United States of America’s lands and resources are these guys:

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The above photo was taken in 1973. That’s the assistant Attorney General of the U.S. at the time, being escorted by members of the American Indian Movement into Wounded Knee,  South Dakota, during the the organization’s  armed occupation of the village.

The two and a half month-long standoff was ostensibly triggered by frustration over the failure of the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization to impeach a tribal president, who had been accused by tribal members of corruption and abuse of opponents. However it soon doubled as a platform for the activists to air ongoing grievances regarding the United States government’s failure(s) to honor treaties. By the time it all ended, 2 people had been killed, 15 were wounded.

Obviously,  armed insurrection has not proven to be the most sensible method for airing grievances here in the USA, at least since we became a democracy following the Revolution (and I think we can all agree that, generally speaking, the Civil War was a very bad idea).

That said…on a sliding scale of “injustices” (I’m just using the 1973 Wounded Knee incident comparatively here, not excusing  or condoning the AIM activists’ ill-advised decision to carry guns), and from a purely academic standpoint, those Native American folks at least had some historically documented reasons to  get all “up in arms” about it.

But these guys?

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Not so much.

I just hope this situation ends peacefully. Erm…Happy New Year?

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UPDATE: Via Digby retweet…

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