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Coddling Gun Toting White Right-Wingers: Oregon Standoff Stems From Not Punishing the Bundys in Nevada

When these gun-toting right-wing crackpots start killing law enforcement officers - the government will have only itself to blame: "It is a felony to point a weapon at a law enforcement officer and a federal felony to take aim at a U.S. government agent. And yet there were no arrests that day."

By David Neiwert
It has become a familiar scene: a cluster of armed “patriots” gathered at a rural locale in the West, protesting federal land-use policies and disputing the legitimacy of the government back in Washington, while nearby, law enforcement officers act stunned into submission.

That all unfolded again this past week in Burns, Ore., as a group of activists with guns seized a federal building on a wildlife refuge and demanded freedom for a couple of ranchers convicted of arson and sentenced to mandatory minimum prison terms, in what they claim is another example of extreme federal overreach.

Who Are the Bundy's: The father believes blacks were better off as slaves,
and the sons are just as wacky.

The local school district shut down, since it couldn’t guarantee the safety of children traveling to and from school. Burns residents expressed agitation and exasperation with the standoff, since most, if not all, of the participants appear to live outside Harney County. The sheriff requested that the two dozen or so men holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge pack up and leave town.

If the news from Oregon seemed like deja vu all over again, that’s because it was: At the head of the protest were Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Back in April 2014, Cliven grabbed headlines by holding Bureau of Land Management officials at bay in an armed standoff on his ranch in which bloodshed was, by all accounts, only narrowly averted.

So why do federal officials once again find themselves in this position — awkwardly wringing their hands in hopes that the radicals’ demands and willpower will erode with a little time and cold weather? And facing the same cast of characters who humiliated law enforcement officials less than two years ago?

The answer, to a large extent, lies in that Nevada canyon where Bundy’s compatriots aimed their weapons at the federal agents and police officers who had come to enforce a court order requiring the confiscation of the ranch’s cattle, after Bundy refused for years to pay federal grazing fees for using public lands. When those guns were brandished, multiple violations of federal and state law occurred: It is a felony to point a weapon at a law enforcement officer and a federal felony to take aim at a U.S. government agent.

And yet there were no arrests that day. Moreover, despite the FBI’s assumption shortly afterward of the investigation into weapons use at the Bundy ranch — along with vows to hold the people responsible for the standoff fully accountable — no meaningful action has yet been taken against anyone involved.

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