Update No, I shouldn’t have said “terrorism.”
Very sorry, Sir! Won’t happen again, Sir!
Some of the same armed “militia” folks who forced the Bureau of Land Management to step back in the Bundy Ranch confrontation have now moved to Oregon, where they’re using the same threats of violence to keep two convicted arsonists from going back to prison.
You may remember that, in the Bundy Ranch episode, the people who were threatening to murder federal officials carrying out a court order had either the active or the tacit support of the “gun rights” movement and Republican politicians, until Bundy made himself toxic with some racist comments. (If any reader can find any criticism of the armed mob by any prominent Republican or gun-rights advocate or organization, please let me know; my Google-fu doesn’t seem to be up to the task.)
[Update: A friend with Google-fu greater than mine found a number of conservative and libertarian pundits and outlets who criticized the mob at the Bundy Ranch, including Bill Kristol, The Federalist, Glenn Beck, and Charles C.W. Cooke. That’s as opposed to the views of most of the Fox News crew – notably Sean Hannity – and Kevin D. Williamson, who praised “a little sedition.” So far no luck with either Republican politicians or gun-rights groups.]
Just in case there was any doubt about what was at stake, one of the Bundy-ranch mob involved in the current confrontation makes it clear:
We had counter-sniper positions on their sniper positions. We had at least one guy—sometimes two guys—per BLM agent in there. If they made one wrong move, every single BLM agent in that camp would’ve died.
Under the circumstances, it was reasonable for the federal government to back off to avoid bloodshed. Collecting a court judgment, even a court judgment for $1 million, isn’t worth sacrificing lives. But I, for one, wish that some of the people involved had later been indicted for assault with a deadly weapon (which includes pointing a loaded gun at someone even if that gun isn’t actually fired) and sent off for a long spell in the Federal calaboose. And it’s not too late: Ryan Payne’s statement, quoted above (from this news story) would be ample to sustain that charge, among others, if someone were able to get it on tape or if he repeated it in the presence of someone willing to testify.
The problem with giving in at the Bundy Ranch is that it encouraged additional actions of the same sort, as we’re seeing now.
Apparently the latest confrontation is going to fizzle; the two convicted men, and their neighbors, apparently aren’t interested in participating in a seditious conspiracy. But the opportunity is still there for people who defend the Second Amendment right to be armed but don’t actually approve of domestic terrorism to say so, and to say that threatening to massacre federal officials engaged in executing court orders is outside the bounds.
So far, the silence has been deafening.