More armed men arrived at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on Saturday. More than a dozen trucks made a convoy to the headquarters building where Ammon Bundy and his men are holed up, protesting the federal government‘s control over local land, according to NewsMax. Will Bundy be successful in his bid to gain land rights back for residents of Harney County, or will the who debacle end in a messy showdown leading to either death or prison for the armed group?
Ammon Bundy and his group are calling themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, according to Fortune magazine. They believe Ammon and his crew might actually be successful in their very unpopular protest. Even the citizens of Harney County want Bundy and his boys to pack up and leave. The majority of the group are not local, and only showed up to protest the resentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond. The men were prosecuted after setting their own land on fire in protest. That fire spread to the wildlife preserve, prompting authorities to charge them with a terrorist act. Both Dwight and Steven were released after having served time for the incident until a judge ruled they had not fulfilled the minimum prison sentence and sent them back for another five years. This ruling infuriated Ammon Bundy, who didn’t think the Hammonds should be prosecuted for what they do on their own private land.
Residents of Harney County have been meeting in Burns, just miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to discuss their displeasure over Ammon Bundy’s Citizens of Constitutional Freedom occupation on federal land. Many residents fear the standoff will turn into a much larger problem and end in bloodshed. Others are upset that Ammon is taking up their cause, since he isn’t even an Oregon resident. Ammon Bundy is the son of rich Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has a rich history of government protest, as well.
With news that more armed men arrived at the Oregon standoff, many thought Ammon Bundy and his group would be strengthened and that it might cause tension to erupt, but that has not been the case. The Pacific Patriot Network, a group made up of men from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, arrived at the Oregon standoff to work with both sides and keep the peace. That is the message their leader, Brandon Curtiss, is spreading as his armed group plan to keep guard outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, not only to keep Ammon Bundy safe, but also to keep those on the outside, including law enforcement, safe as well.
Apparently, everyone is a little nervous after the new convoy of armed men arrived. Even an original member of Ammon Bundy’s group has spoken out. LaVoy Finicum has said that he appreciates the support and concern of the Pacific Patriot Network, but “we want the long guns put away.” It makes sense that no one wants the Oregon standoff to end in violence, especially Ammon and the members of his protest group. If the occupation turns into a gun battle, the odds of Bundy or any of his supporters inside the nature preserve building surviving will plummet, and Bundy knows it.
The fact that Ammon Bundy has not been shut down yet proves that the power of protest and occupation are strong. While a huge group of Harney County residents want Ammon to take his friends and leave, others believe the Oregon standoff has the strength to possibly gain political backing and prove successful for Bundy. Success for Ammon Bundy and his group is confusing, though since the armed militants don’t really have a clear message other than their displeasure over the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond. Ammon Bundy and his group have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve since January 2.
Ammon Bundy and his group have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve since January 2. Now that more armed men have arrived, will Bundy and his group stand down, escalate until a law enforcement raid is necessary, or will Ammon Bundy get his way?
[Photo by AP Photo/Rick Bowmer]