Princeton, OR -- On Saturday, multiple armed 'militiamen' took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge HQ to protest the sentence handed down to two Oregon ranchers accused of arson.
The ranchers accused of arson are Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, both residents of Diamond, Oregon. They were each sentenced to five years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken for alleged arsons they committed on federal lands.
According to the Washington Standard, the problem is multifaceted.
First, both men were sentenced in 2012 by now-retired U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan, following the trial. Steven received one year and a day in prison for setting fires in 2001 and 2006. Dwight got 3 months for his 2001 involvement. Hogan did not believe the men had malicious intent to be labeled as terrorists under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, even though he sentenced them to jail for the time he did.
The men agreed to a plea deal that they would not appeal the 2012 sentence in order to bring the case to a close.
Both men served their sentences and were released. Now, the feds have appealed those sentences and want the mandatory minimum five-year sentence imposed on the men, and so they appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who agreed with the feds that the judge ruled illegally. However, now they are wanting to label the Hammonds as terrorists under the 1996 law in order to put them back in jail.
Aside from being thrown in jail for a second time, the Hammonds are upset because they allege no crime was ever committed.
“They called and got permission to light the fire… We usually called the interagency fire outfit – a main dispatch – to be sure someone wasn’t in the way or that weather wouldn’t be a problem,” said Dwight's wife Susan.
The Hammonds say they were engaging in prescribed burns to keep the land healthy and productive. And, they assert that the Bureau of Land Management also conducts these burns.
The Hammonds lit a fire on their own property that spread to public land. No one was injured, no property was destroyed and the Hammond extinguished the fire themselves, according to the Bundys. The court even ruled that the fires actually had a positive impact on the land.
A second fire in 2006 was also part of the reason the Hammonds were jailed. The Hammonds lit a backfire to defend their land against another fire that was approaching. When they did so, while it certainly did not involve "terrorist activity," they endangered the lives of several firefighters attempting to put out the blaze on federal land by failing to notify them.
On November 3rd, the Bundys issued a warning, which stated,
We further warn that the incarceration of the Hammond family will spawn serious civil unrest. We advocate that all charges be dropped and that the Hammond family be allowed to return to the home and life that was so rudely interrupted. The Hammond family has paid enough for this mistake, if any mistake at all. Further punishments to the Hammonds will require restitution upon those who inflict the injustices.
We call upon aware citizens and government officials to promote the protection and freedom of the Hammond family, and by so doing, maintaining the spirit of liberty that this beloved nation is built upon.
Two months after this warning, the Bundys held true to what they wrote when they, and several other armed citizens, took over the refuge HQ.
The Bundys allege that what the federal government is doing, by using the BLM to dictate the use of open lands, is a violation of the constitution. They now claim to have taken defensive action, after they allege criminal action on behalf of the federal government.
While the Bundy's actions are certainly questionable, they haven't harmed anyone or any property. Regardless of your position on the action of the 'militiamen,' one thing is certain - every one of them deserves due process.
Over the past 2 years, a peaceful resistance to police brutality and misconduct has risen up in the United States. This resistance is entirely bipartisan, although some will attempt to claim otherwise for their own political agendas.
On both the right and the left, there have been heartening examples of unlikely groups of citizens coming together to peacefully resist the police state. However, there are also those on both sides who dangerously call for violence, the removal of due process, and the use of state force to implement their own version of tyranny.
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In the past few months, examples of the neoconservatives' calls for fascism have shocked those who are paying attention to the rise of tyranny in the U.S.
Donald Trump epitomized this fascism when he called for banning all Muslims entering the US and shutting down the internet last month. The resultant bandwagon of hate and ignorance has led to a slew of internet comments calling for turning the entire Middle East region into a "parking lot."
However, this time, instead of the far right calling for insanely violent police state measures, it's the far left. It appears that some of those on the left have thrown all logic and reason to the wayside and have begun calling, not only for the removal of due process for their fellow Americans, but also for their full-on slaughter.
On various Facebook posts about the militiamen, multiple antagonists claiming to 'support Bernie Sanders' and declaring their 'peaceful Democratic stances' have called for the murder of those men, women, and children at the Oregon refuge.
Bernie Sanders would certainly not agree that it is okay to drone strike American citizens without due process.
Those who call for violence against others, who have not harmed anyone, are the epitome of all that is wrong in the world today. Regardless of your political views, or positions on issues, denying due process, even to the vilest of criminals, is the work of tyrants.
The irony here is that the folks on the left want to use the same violence, which they ostensibly oppose when not used in a manner they see fit, on people who they disagree with.
Below are some of the shocking comments from supposed 'peaceful' people who are calling for the slaughter of others.
But the comments don't stop with random folks on the internet. Even celebrity Montel Williams joined in on the calls for violence when he encouraged the government to "disembowel these treasonous terroristic thugs," late Saturday night in a post to Facebook.
The irony of people who call for a less violent government, asking for the government to enact violence because it suits their political views, is horrific.
If you call for the slaughter of a group of people who've not harmed anyone, you are no better than ISIS.
It seems that both sides of this two-party facade of democracy have been so blinded by state-sponsored hate and entitlement for their cause, that they have lost all reason and compassion for their fellow human.
The anti-Muslim Right, Islamic terrorists, and now the pro-state-violence Left -- would all do well to study the intention behind Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous quote:
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”