It's time to prosecute armed bullies threatening to kill us
The current stand off in Oregon is not over. As of 9:00 pm Thursday January 28th, 2016 four are still at the refuge.
Below is a video of one man at the refuge asking people to come help him. Listen as he tells them exactly how they should impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties.
"You a militia man? Come get some! It's what you been training for, preparing for. We just happened to be the ones to step in it for ya. Now we are here. We need you. We want you, we welcome you."
"Don't be afraid of those roadblocks, drive up there and shoot them. They are dishonorable, not following their oath, not protecting the American people, [we're] good patriots fighting for our rights, they're the terrorists."
"Any LEO, military, law enforcement or feds that stand up and fuck their oath--don't abide by their oath--are the enemy!"
"If they stop you from getting here, kill them!" (Oregonlive video link)
This specific stand off with these four might be over before I publish this, but I had been working on a piece examining the DOJ/FBI response at the Bundy Ranch last April vs. the current one and wanted to talk about a few issues around them and future ones.
Yes, we can learn from mistakes
After the Bundy Ranch stand off last April, the WH, DOJ and FBI looked at their actions, the media response and public reactions to gauged how well they did. The White House didn't want bloodshed and there was none. They wanted Cliven Bundy to lose his RW media love, so they made his blatant racism clear. Even Sean Hannity had to walk away from him. So on a couple of fronts they won.
However, in order to end that standoff with no bloodshed, I'm guessing the DOJ authorized the FBI to cut deals. The FBI probably talked to the snipers and others and said something like, "We are within our rights to arrest you. We have hard evidence that will win us a conviction. But we would rather not do that, so as a condition of not arresting you, you agree to not get involved with any more active situations like at the Bundy Ranch. However, if you break the deal we will arrest you, seize your assets, your guns and source of government income. We will also tell all your followers that you cut a deal with the hated government to save your own skin."
I don't know the details of the various deals, but it appears the government kept its part of their bargain. Some Bundy supporters kept their's, others did not. But since nobody who cut a deal talked about it, the people outside of the inner circle thought, "Hey, if those guys can point guns at government law enforcement and not get arrested, we can too!"
There is a reason governments have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists.
Domestic terrorists across the country saw the lack of arrests following the Bundy Ranch stand off in April as a consequence-free win and decided to replicate it.
The Good News
It looks like the WH, DOJ and FBI learned from the April stand off and decided to act differently this time. They knew not to go full on Waco mode, but they also didn't cut as many deals (clearly some were offered, but rejected.) With the recent arrests the WH made clear the actions of armed occupiers have serious consequences.
Before I figured out that a lot of Bundy Ranch protesters cut deals to avoid arrest, I wondered why the government wasn't more aggressive in tracking down and arresting people. I could think of a couple of reasons. First is denying them an excuse to be the victim. Right wing media loves to turn white domestic terrorists wearing cameo into heroes, but its harder to lionize people who talk like racists and point sniper rifles at federal law enforcement.
A friend pointed out a incredible practical reason there were fewer arrests. "If a Fed has a choice between arresting an unarmed Occupy Wall Street protester, and a guy with an arsenal, armor piercing bullets, and a history of making threats, which one is he going to pursue first?" The guns everywhere crowd LOVE to make threats, they like to remind people how well armed they are, how viciously they will respond and how serious they are. They even do it online, on Facebook and in YouTube videos.
Now is the time to do some serious prosecution of the Bundy's and their militant supporters. They were given multiple opportunities to walk away and they didn't. The hard evidence against them has piled up, even their previous supporters have acknowledged they have gone too far.
I'm sick and tired of armed intimidation and threats being downplayed as not serious, spun as being part of "free speech" or used as bargaining chips for future compliance.
When there are no arrests or prosecution for armed intimidation and threats, people get the idea it's no big deal and they keep doing in it. That needs to stop.
For years the NRA has used the "Obama's going to come and take our guns!" as a sales tool, even when he wasn't. Now, some of these same people, if tried and convicted, will lose their right to own guns for cause. When they scream, "Obama came and took my guns!" the mainstream media can point to the photos and video of the threats and their actions. If they don't, we should.