Sunday, January 3, 2016

Has the Next American Revolution Already Started in Oregon?

"After the peaceful rally was completed today, a group of outside militants drove to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occupied the refuge headquarters. A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being please stay away from that area. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation."

The Bundy family of Nevada joined with hard-core militiamen Saturday to take over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, vowing to occupy the remote federal outpost 30 miles southeast of Burns for years.

The occupation came shortly after an estimated 300 marchers — militia and local citizens both — paraded through Burns to protest the prosecution of two Harney County ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who are to report to prison on Monday.

Among the occupiers is Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and two of his brothers. Militia members at the refuge claimed they had as many as 100 supporters with them. The refuge, federal property managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was closed and unoccupied for the holiday weekend.
From the discussion at Althouse: Paco Wove wrote
The story at that link doesn't explain the genesis of this dispute. Here's a little background:

The father and son of a prominent Oregon ranching family plan to surrender at a California prison next week after a judge ruled they served too little time for setting fires that spread to government lands they leased to graze cattle.

Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.

The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time -- the father three months, the son one year. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.

The decision has generated controversy in a remote part of the state where the Hammonds are well-known for their generosity and community contributions. It's also playing into a long-simmering conflict between ranchers and the U.S. government over the use of federal land for cattle grazing.

It doesn't appear as though the fires burned anything but grass and trees, so four years in prison seems pretty harsh. Haven't found out anything about the judge involved yet.
The Hammonds don't seem to want anything to do with the Bundys.
My own thoughts on the matter:

Burning grasslands is the traditional Indian way of keeping grasslands clear of encroaching trees and weeds. When I lived in Oregon, the grass seed fields of the Willamette Valley were burned every fall to kill the weeds.

The inequality between the amount of land the Federal government owns in different states is staggering. As little as 0.4% in Rhode Island and Connecticut and 84.5% in Nevada. Oregon is a mere 53.1%, while Wisconsin is 5.6%. You can't tell me that the differences between Wisconsin and Oregon warrant that kind of discrepancy. The US could certainly solve it's deficit and probably it's debt problem by carefully selling off the land it owns that is already being put to productive use by the private sector. And the new owners would probably treat the land better, having a vested interest. But that would put a lot of federal bureaucrats out of a job, so it will never happen.

President Obama could head this off by pardoning the Hammonds. Anyone think he's up for that?

No comments:

Post a Comment