The Bundy boys are at it again!
According to reports, Ammon Bundy and two of Bundy's other sons along with other militia members supporting convicted arsonist Dwight Hammond have taken over the headquarters building of the Malheur Federal Refuge near Burns, Oregon. This happened after a local protest took place earlier in the day, and appears to be planned.
Ryan Payne, a U.S. Army veteran from Montana, confirmed that he is among the those occupying the refuge headquarters but refused to provide details. He said additional information will be released to militia media outlets.
Members from Oregon, Idaho and elsewhere had converged on this ranching town in recent weeks to make the federal government the target of their anger.
They came to protest and perhaps even block the imprisonment of Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven, local ranchers convicted of arson.
They're in it for the long haul, too. They believe they have a right to occupy federal land because they do not believe the federal government has any legal right to property in Oregon.
Cliven Bundy has been cheering them on, though he says he didn't encourage them to do this.
The Hammonds were at the heart of the protest. Militiamen had been saying for weeks that the federal government had no authority in Harney County. They insisted that since that was true, the Hammonds should never have been prosecuted on arson charges for burning federal range south of town. They had once talked of sanctuary, and indeed that notion got a last-minute boost from an unlikely source.
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who stood down federal agents last year, urged the Hammonds to turn themselves in at the county jail and stay there. He wrote a letter Friday urging Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward to put the men in protective custody while investigating how it was that the Hammonds had been charged.
As Oregon Live reports, Ammon Bundy has been at the forefront of the entire protest, fomenting unrest, despite the marked absence of any federal agents or sheriffs.
But on Saturday the marchers, perhaps 300 strong, found only locked doors at the sheriff's office, on the back side of the county courthouse. There was no sign anyone was there. The parking lot was nearly empty of patrol vehicles. A snowbound patrol pickup was all that was left.
Though Cliven Bundy's notion went nowhere, one from his son did. Ammon Bundy arrived at the protest to hand out rolls of pennies.
As the marchers reached the courthouse, they tossed hundreds of pennies at the locked door. The idea, militiamen said, was that civilians were "buying back" their government to serve the people. But the message didn't last long. Two young girls swooped in after the march passed on to scavenge the pennies.
It looks like they're settling in for the winter. It may be a long one, particularly if federal agents don't take the bait and they run out of food at some point. However, Hammond and his son are supposed to turn themselves in Monday to begin serving their sentences. It remains to be seen whether they actually will, and whether the attention-seeking wingnuts holed up in a federal building will find out it's not going to get them anything other than grief in the long run.
I'm old enough to remember when Occupy protesters were tossed out with tear gas, rifles and pure brute force for daring to block public streets. Who would like to bet these guys will get away with far, far more than any Occupy person was allowed?
Update: Here's a video of Ammon calling out the troops, via Facebook:
Stand Up, Not Stand Down - All Patriot Stand Up, We need your ...
**ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.
Posted by Bundy Ranch on Thursday, December 31, 2015
Update #2 Ammon Bundy explains patiently that they plan to use this building as their base of operations to take over the refuge, and that they're planning to stay there for several years. (h/t @shelleypowers)
Here it is. Please know these men will speak to people civilly. Do not go up there guns blazing. Stay safe and smart.
Posted by Sarah Dee Spurlock on Saturday, January 2, 2016
Update #3 Islamophobe Jon Ritzheimer is in on the action too.
Schools will be closed for the week pending resolution of this situation.
The number of people in the building has been reduced significantly, from 150 to more like 6-12. Let's see, 3 Bundys, Ritzheimer, Payne, and Blaine Cooper makes 6 right there. So these guys got another 6 or so (maybe) to join them.