Right Wing Terrorists Occupy Federal Building

© Josh Sager – January 2016

Last weekend, approximately 150 heavily armed militia-members occupied the headquarters of the Malheur Federal Wildlife refuge in Oregon. Nobody was harmed in this takeover and the militia appears to be dug in for the time being.

This occupation of federal land is ostensibly part of a protest over the incarceration of two farmers—Dwight and Steven Hammond—for arson. These farmers decided to set several unauthorized fires, both to destroy invasive juniper plants and to cover up poaching, and these fires spread to federal land. This type of arson has a five-year mandatory minimum sentence under federal law, and many have considered this too harsh. There have been several protests over these sentences and this is the first time they have escalated to the threat of violence.

It appears that the occupying militia members are a sub-group of the militia members who came to the aid of Cliven Bundy—the deadbeat rancher who claimed the “right” to graze cattle on federal land without paying the fee—and Cliven’s son Ammon is one of the leaders of this group. This sub-set of militia extremists believes in a completely non-factual reading of the Constitution which says that the county sheriff is the only valid law enforcement authority and that basically everything the federal government does is illegal oppression. In service of this ideology, this occupation is designed to force the federal government into giving up control over the land and signing it over to “local authorities” (who presumably are county and municipal officials).

Let me say in no uncertain terms: the militia members who have occupied this federal building are terrorists, not simple protesters. They failed to get their political grievances across using their speech and the ballot box, so they decided to take up guns and use the threat of force to seize what they wanted. While they have not harmed anybody, they are using terror tactics against government agents. The threat implicit in this situation is that government agents who offend these right wing extremists will find their offices invaded by unbalanced people with assault rifles.

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If you are having a hard time thinking of these people as terrorists, here is a simple thought experiment: Imagine that these militia members were led by a guy named Muhammad Abdul, and they seized a federal building in protest of the extra-judicial incarceration of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay. They haven’t harmed anybody, but are heavily armed and threaten violent resistance if anybody tries to get into the building. Can anybody reasonably claim that these Muslims would not be considered terrorists by our government and the media? Of course not.

The fact that these militia terrorists are white Christian right wingers should not prevent us from accurately labeling them. That said, there are degrees of terrorism, and these militia extremists have not harmed anybody yet—as such, they shouldn’t face criminal sentences similar to those terrorists who have killed people.

The priorities for the government should be to peacefully resolve this situation (to avoid a situation like the one in Ruby Ridge) and to set a strong precedent that there will be zero tolerance for extremists who would attempt to intimidate federal officials. If this precedent is not set, any militia extremists with a gun and some friends will get it into his mind that he can fight “federal overreach” by taking that gun and waving it at federal officials.

Personally, I would cut off all power and access to this federal building and wait for the cold to set in. While it is easy to be a weekend warrior and militia military cosplayer when the lights and heat are on, the situation changes when the Oregon winter cold starts to make you deeply uncomfortable. Anybody to leave the building would be arrested and not allowed to return, and no supplies would be allowed into the area. This is a tried and true way of breaking resistance to a siege and taking an entrenched position without overt violence (which would make these people militia martyrs).

I would charge everybody involved in the seizure of this federal building with a federal felony, which would strip them of their right to legally own a gun. They have clearly demonstrated themselves to be too irresponsible to own a gun and I would get warrants to search the property of these extremists and seize all weapons they own. Additionally, I would make it a condition of their probation/parole that they submit to random and unrestricted searches of their property to ensure that they are not buying guns illegally.

4 thoughts on “Right Wing Terrorists Occupy Federal Building

    • That is exactly what they want–overt violence by the feds splashed across the headline news for their militia allies to use for propaganda. My solution is slow, but it is BORING, thus the media will quickly lose interest and let these people fall into obscurity.

      I wish these people a long and gun-free life, where nobody remembers their petulant outburst.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand your point of view, but when you kill armed people in insurgency, verses kids, people react differently. Especially when you get to tell them that one of these anti-gubment scum took a 300K federal loan for his business. That the Republican Tea Party Congress enacted the every mandatory minimums they are in revolution over, and that they made no attempt at legal redress in a fight that wasn’t even theirs.

        But even more importantly, if the government can shoot a 12 year old black kid with a BB gun in an open carry state and get away with it, they should be able to wipe out a wanna-be army of terrorist insurgent thieves.

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  1. I agree with Josh 100% that if these folks were black or Muslims we would see a completely different government response. It would be swift and violent.

    I would not call these people “terrorists” because that is a very serious term with serious legal implications. For starters there is no evidence that they have or intend to attack unarmed civilians for the purpose of creating fear. Also, there is no indication that they are prepared to die or kill for their beliefs. They do not have that level of dedication.

    They live with a delusional world view , fed by right wing conspiracy websites, that they are going to somehow mobilize the entire US population to their cause. They are part of a number of right wing “constitutional expert” sites that promote the rather strange idea that the US federal government has no legal right to hold territory. They base it on the very narrow interpretation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, which established the District of Columbia as a federal territory. They mistakenly take the illogical position that establishing DC means that there can be NO OTHER territory under the authority of the US. They ignore, for example, Article IV, Section 3, which explicitly gives Congress power over federal territory.

    They take the extreme position that ALL land belongs to the states and none of it is under federal jurisdiction. In other words, they go back to the time BEFORE the Constitution was ratified and claim we are still living under the failed Articles of Confederation. If that were true, of course, there would be no national parks, monuments, lands, no military bases, etc. outside the District of Columbia. This is but another example of “picking and choosing” which part of the Constitution to follow and ignoring other parts of the Constitution. (A good example is the denial of the “militia” clause of the 2nd Amendment.)

    (Example: I have a relative who claims he is not a citizen of the US but a citizen ONLY of the state of Ohio. When I pointed out to him that his passport says he is a US citizen he responded that he is only a US citizen when he LEAVES the US. When he RETURNS he is no longer a US citizen. I cannot argue with that “logic” but this is what you are dealing with here)

    They are breaking the law, however, and have to pay a price for that. The Department of Justice for some reason failed to prosecute the Bundy family when the Bundies took the position that they had the right to federal grazing land in Nevada. As a result of that we are now faced with this gang getting bolder. When you give into thugs this is what happens. I would call them a gang and thugs rather than terrorists because thugs break the law for their own economic gain rather than any religious principle. What they want is the economic gain of using public land to enrich their own wallets.

    Call them what you like. they have crossed state lines with weapons for the purpose of illegally occupying a federal facility. They have threatened to use force. They should be charged appropriately after giving them a week or so to cool down. We either have a nation of laws or a nation of “might makes right”. As Megyn Kelly pointed out in her interview with Ammon Bundy we have a legal process for challenging laws. And violence is not the way. It is a sad group indeed that needs a Fox celebrity to remind them of how the government functions.

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