In August 2014 I predicted that if the FBI and DOJ didn't act following the actions by Bundy supporters in Bunkerville, Nevada in April, armed stand-offs like the current one in Oregon would happen.
I'm pretty good at predicting the future, but I don't expect people to listen to a time traveling Vulcan. But why didn't they listen to the Department of Homeland Security?
In August 2014 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put out a report, titled “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Law Enforcement and Government Officials,”
Bill Morlin from the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote about it. The report found that Cliven Bundy’s militia-backed standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents in April galvanized
“some individuals, particularly militia extremists and violent lone offenders, to actively confront law enforcement officials, increasing the likelihood of violence.” Furthermore, the report adds, “this perceived success likely will embolden other militia extremists and like-minded lone offenders to attempt to replicate these confrontational tactics and force future armed standoffs with law enforcement and government officials.”
I understand the PR "optics" of not wanting a blood bath at the Bundy Ranch. But I don't understand the failure to arrest people months later. Was it a law enforcement/prosecution issue or a PR concern? Did they want to bust them for additional crimes that were indefensible to the anti-government movement?
I didn't know the reason they didn't act back in August so I wrote my friend David Neiwert from the Southern Poverty Law Center, asking:
"I'm thinking of doing a follow up on how the Bundy Ranch protesters were treated at the time and then afterwards vs. how the Ferguson protesters are being treated now and will be afterwards."
He explaining that "the federal law-enforcement agencies involved in the Bundy Ranch standoff and its aftermath are seriously pursuing federal criminal cases against the men who were aiming their loaded weapons at federal agents on April 12." (He wrote about the investigation in the May edition of Hatewatch.)
I was going to call the FBI but figured I'd get a "No comment, active investigation, blah, blah, blah. Are you a registered alien Mr. Spocko?" The FBI are professionals and I didn't want to tip off the guys they were investigating, since I know they read everything I write. However, Ryan Lenz, from SPLC, did check in with the Feds in October and there was still no movement.
If some people from the Bundy ranch did get arrested Fox News would happily whip up multiple stories from the jailed suspects about "government over reach" and arguing, against video evidence, that the poor patriots "totally didn't point their guns at Federal officers!"
I'm wondering if the FBI was looking for other evidence to make people like Sean Hannity disown various "patriots" like they did with Bundy himself? Did they want to produce additional evidence showing the public that these are domestic terrorists?
I don't want to second guess the FBI's actions, but now might be the time to show the public that pointing loaded guns at law enforcement officers constitutes assault against an officer and is a federal crime. A crime that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison when a deadly weapon is involved. And here is why this failure to act previous is important to his event. Do you see the guy in the lead photo, Eric Parker? I just listened to David Neiwert on Sam Seder's Majority Report. He pointed out that Parker was standing right next to Ammon Bundy on Monday's press conference. Why isn't he in jail? Did he cut a deal? Is he an informant? What's his story? I do wish someone from the "real media" would ask this simple question at the press conference.
If the government doesn't act, then the message sent is clear: It's okay to bring guns to your protests. You will be taken seriously, you won't be arrested now--or later. It looks like peaceful, non-violent protests are for suckers.
Based on this evidence, maybe my friends in the anti-war movement and Occupy Wall Street should follow the exact model that was laid out in Nevada.
"But Spocko, you have to be white to not get shot!"
Really? I'm tired of people suggesting that the police and government won't treat you the same as the Bundys if you are black or Muslim--and armed. I'll bet people of any color or religion can do this. You just need to follow the exact model of behavior that was laid out in Nevada.
(Of course since I pass for white, I won't be able to test this model, but I'm totally sure it would be worth it to prove my point that these days armed protests work better than unarmed. I mean if Fox News and the entire right wing doesn't get behind--and welcome--black and Muslim armed protests, they would look like anti-American lawbreaking hypocrites.)
Is this reckless for me to suggest this? Based on evidence to date, who is more likely to be shot, tear-gassed, beaten and arrested: unarmed non-violent protesters or armed, ready-for-violence protesters?
Next up: Getting advice from the armed right wing
"A new wave of left-wing armed protesters are blatantly defying the law and are pointing guns at duly elected state and local law enforcement officers. How do you recommend arresting them and taking their guns away without causing a blood bath?"
Then apply what we learn to them.