The 41-day Oregon standoff has ended, as the final militiamen occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge have turned themselves in to authorities.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, February 11, 2016, the remaining militiamen peacefully left the compound and walked away from the refuge. The final protester left in the building, David Fry, demanded pizza and marijuana before finally turning himself in after expressing he did not “feel safe” doing so. However, before turning himself in, he expressed a desire to commit suicide, and finally decided to turn himself in, but held his phone in his hand so that the world could hear how the final moments of the militia occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge went down. The phone audio was streamed live online as anxious followers listened in to see how Fry’s last moments in the occupation would unfold.
The Daily Mail reports that the Oregon Malheaur Wildlife Refuge standoff is over, as all militiamen have exited the government building. The standoff lasted 41-days and only ended as the takeover figurehead, 74-year-old Cliven Bundy, was taken into custody late Wednesday night after flying an airplane into Portland, Oregon, in a bid to join the militia movement. The militia takeover was in response to the demand for two Oregon ranchers to return to prison after being convicted of setting fire to federal property that was near the refuge. The militiamen entered the federal facility in a bid to reclaim federal wildlife refuges for the “people.” The group noted that it was time that the people of America “reclaim their resources,” and they also entered the building to protest the sentencing of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond and his son.
“First, they want the federal government to relinquish control of the wildlife refuge so ‘people can reclaim their resources,’ he told CNN early Monday. And second, they want an easier sentence for Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, ranchers who were convicted in 2012 of committing arson on federal lands in Oregon.”
Following Bundy’s arrest by the FBI, the remaining militiamen decided it was time to turn themselves in to authorities in an event that was noted as “peaceful.” After all the militiamen but one, David Fry, turned themselves in, the siege appeared to have come to an end. However, Fry did not go out to authorities without first causing somewhat of a scene. Fry first yelled out to supporters to bring him pizza and marijuana, as he had no intention of leaving due to the fact he didn’t feel “safe” going into police custody.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 11, 2016
Fry seemed unsure about whether or not he would leave the compound as he began live streaming from the refuge. In the live stream which was watched by Bundy followers, Fry noted that he did not want to turn himself in and “gamble his life” in the “corrupt system.” He also noted he feared being abused in the prison system and said it was “liberty or death.”
“I’m not gonna gamble my life in the hands of a corrupt system. I can’t come out because I’m a man, I’m making a stand. A stand means you’re willing to risk your life. This is where you come to the point in your life where it’s liberty or death.”
Fry expressed that he may be considering committing suicide, but ultimately decided to turn himself in, but not without giving the live feed followers a taste of the stand’s end. Fry kept his phone on his person as he told listeners he was “walking towards (FBI agents) right now” and kept the audio on for followers to hear.
— Dahboo7 (@dahboo7) February 11, 2016
What do you think of the militiamen giving up on their cause after the 41-day standoff and Cliven Bundy’s arrest?
[Photo by Rebecca Boone/AP Photo]