Ammon Bundy and his Oregon "militia" have taken over a federal wildlife refuge headquarters. Mainstream media calls the protests "peaceful" and "anti-government," even though the invaders are fully armed and willing to kill and be killed. Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, is leading the takeover.
They're calling themselves patriots standing up to tyranny. But in truth, these people are seditious traitors. Let's look at 18 U.S. code 2384 and see how it adds up.
"If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."In 2014, Ammon Bundy helped lead a standoff with his father, Cliven, at his Nevada ranch over unpaid grazing fees the elder Bundy had incurred over the course of two decades. The standoff resulted in federal officers backing off without any bloodshed and Bundy and his followers claiming victory.
The circumstances surrounding the Oregon standoff are similar. In 2001, father and son Dwight and Steven Hammond set fire to land on a wildlife refuge near Burns, Oregon, in an attempt to cover up illegal poaching activity. The fire destroyed 130 acres and the two were convicted in 2012 and sentenced to prison.
As Oregon Live reports, the two men had already served time but were ordered to report again for an additional term after an appellate judge ruled their original sentence had not been long enough.
Enter Ammon Bundy and his armed cohorts. Bundy and his men decided that the Hammonds would be their next pet project in their attempt to overthrow the rule of law and so they traveled to Oregon to make their point. Because the government backed down in 2014, he and his supporters have developed a sort of impudence and arrogance that comes with getting your way through bullying others.
CNN interviewed Ammon about his actions.
"If force is used, we will defend ourselves."While several locals in Harney County, Oregon, have sided with Bundy and his gang of armed invaders, many others want nothing to do with them and want them out. Not even the Hammonds wanted to be a part of the protest, but the Bundy militia didn't listen. Because it's ultimately not about the Hammonds. It's about the land.Even the local sheriff has seen the ugly side of this so-called patriotism. According to the Oregon Live story, three men confronted the sheriff's parents at an American Legion yard sale.
"The sheriff said three militiamen and one woman, one with a gun strapped to his hip, engaged his 74-year-old mother and 78-year-old father…When the men criticized the sheriff, his mother bristled, and said she didn't need their protection from the government.Despite local reluctance and outright loathing as evidenced by signs urging the militiamen to go home, Ammon Bundy and his ilk instead chose to invade the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, about 50 miles from Burns, Oregon, take over the empty building, and hunker down.
"The group then went to the sheriff's office to file a complaint against his mother, claiming she had threatened them."
Bundy claims that the refuge has destroyed lives because the government has taken some land from ranchers for the refuge.
Oregon news reporter Ian Kullgren spoke with Ammon Bundy's brother, Ryan, who told Kullgren that he and the rest of the militiamen were willing to kill and be killed for their cause.
"We are not terrorists. We are concerned citizens and realize we have to act if we want to pass along anything to our children."According to Vox, the Bundy men are in Oregon hoping to coerce the federal government into relinquishing the wildlife refuge and returning it to private citizens. As in the original Cliven Bundy ranch standoff, this situation isn't about saving the Hammonds from a jail sentence. It's about taking government lands that all taxpayers own (hence the term, public land) and returning it to ranchers, miners, and loggers.
Many of the seditionists are from outside Oregon and the area. John Ritzheimer, a violent anti-Muslim Arizona activist is one of those, along with Ryan Payne, who is from Montana. Payne has boasted of organizing sniper squads that aimed their guns on federal agents during the 2014 Bundy standoff.
As 18 U.S. code 2384 states, if more than two people conspire to take over federal property, if they conspire to overthrow the law and government, destroy its property, then they are committing the crime of sedition. Ammon Bundy and his followers are not patriots. They are criminals and seditionists and should be treated as such.
As the government figures out how it's going to resolve the standoff in Oregon without bloodshed, Bundy and his armed followers are putting themselves, and the lives of others at risk as a result of their disregard for the law.[Photo: George Frey/Getty]