Sunday, January 3, 2016

Terrorists Invade Oregon

By Bob Ferris

As I look at multiple claims by Ammon Bundy (1,2,3) that he, his brother Ryan (1.2.3), and their compatriots illegally occupying a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon (1,2,3,4) are not terrorists and then try to reconcile that position with the above definition of terrorism, I really cannot see any reason for them to hold on to that claim.  They have by all measures political aims.  It does not matter if they are confusing and indefensible aims. It does not matter that their aims are contradictory as they call for supporting "constitutional"principles that are at odds with those in the US Constitution ratified in 1789.  No matter how delusional, they are still political aims.

Ammon Bundy
How are you not terrorists?

The act of taking over a federal facility and occupying it as your own is certainly not the act of passive people in fact it is an act of violence.  That act takes on an  aggressively ironic nature when your ilk has a history of waving the flag of “local rights” and "local control," yet in this instance you have traveled across a handful of states to make that "local" case in someone else’s backyard.  And this irony becomes crushing when we find that the “local people” you came to “protect” are afraid of you and have asked you to leave.

Ryan Bundy at his arrest in 2015 after a scuffle with Sheriff Deputies in Utah.
  How are you not terrorists?

As stated in the definition above, terrorism involves intimidation and what is more intimidating than dozens of rationally unhinged individuals with guns?  If you bridle at my use of the word unhinged what else would you call folks who pack up their weaponry and travel great distances to stop the jailing of father and son ranchers convicted of committing arson in order to hide evidence of their poaching of deer?  What exactly are you trying to stand up for? Arson? Poaching? Subsidized ranching?  It is hard to see the Constitutional principle here.

Ryan Payne in the woods.
How are you not terrorists? 

And what about the economic and social terror these invaders are inflicting on other citizens?  How happy will all of us be to pay for yet another self-indulgent and baseless stand-off putting federal agents at risk and causing worry to their families? What about duck hunters or bird watchers who want to use their refuge that these selfish yahoos have just closed?  And what about the local businesses that depend upon the spending of these winter visitors at this lean time of year?  Was any thought given to that?

How are you not terrorists?

I am not expecting any self-awareness to come out of this from the Bundy brothers or their crowd, but others need to know these thugs are not fighting for anything even remotely close to a noble cause. Ammon and Ryan are the bent-brain product of Cliven Bundy's twisted and self-lawyering world where wasting court time and defying legal orders has been a cottage industry for them for more than two decades and a far too costly and too long indulgence for us.

And the misguided souls drawn to this dangerous dog-and-pony show are glowing poster children for background checks for firearms.  Their figurative "father" needs to take their guns and lock them in the proverbial hall closet as punishment for using them to threaten or intimidate their fellow citizens and not give them back until they grow up--if ever than happy event happens.  We have had enough!

How exactly are you not terrorists?  


Dear All:

Within the next few days I am going to write a piece in GREEN DREAMS that starts to frame what we—the actual owners of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—think that the occupiers have done wrong legally and that requires punishment. I would ask folks to speculate on exactly what charges should be leveled and what rational punishment should be applied and to whom. Please let me know what you think and your ideas in the comments section of this post and others. I know that these might range from firing squads to atomic wedges, but this is a serious set of questions that we should address and by doing so and by conducting a public dialog on this issue help those trying to assess the public appetite for doing something. Thank you for your help and interest in this important concern.

And please enter the public dialog on Jail the Bundys, Now and encourage others to do the same.


  1. While I am sympathetic to this view, and do not support this effort in the slightest, I don't especially like the terrorist label. If applied to Occupy Wall Street or Blacklivesmatter or some of the demonstrations of the 60s (which included some armed takeovers of buildings as you may recall), we would rightly bristle. I do think they need to be arrested, by force if necessary, but the terrorism label is thrown around too loosely.

    1. I agree. Exactly ! Furthermore, under the above given definition of "terrorism," *all* of the Founding Fathers qualify. All of them.

    2. JR, I disagree. There "terrorist" label has been leveled at Occupy (though the lack of violence and weaponry has made it hold less water), BlackLivesMatter (same parenthetical, though more aggressive accusations of intimidation have been brought), and certainly SNCC, NAACP, SCLC, CORE, and the Black Panthers (all Civil Rights Movement era groups, to which I believe you have referred).

      Imagine if this same occupation in Oregon were taking place, made up of all BlackLivesMatter members. Would it not be called terrorism (probably much more often, and with much more vigor by many). How about Native Americans trying to reclaim their land? Let's check into the following:

      This was definitely labeled by some as terrorism and/or treason. Whether I agree with that assessment or not (as Native Americans have a better claim to any land here than do some gun rights fanatics from Nevada, whose families have been there for only a handful of generations at most) is not the point. The accusation is always fair, the acceptance of the label is up to us. In all above cases (with perhaps the exception of some of the Black Panthers' activities), I can not agree that their pursuits were terrorist in nature. In the case of this Oregon occupation, I think it fits.

  2. I agree with JR, the author is being hyperbolic in labeling the Bundy Siege as "terrorist." In a tight Politically Correct world, the act of occupying a federal building becomes "intimidating", however to dismiss these protesters under such labels threatens our own struggle. When environmentalist or peace activists engage in direct action in the future, the oh so easy 'terrorist" label can then be applied to them, using the author's own arguments. We need to step away from the argument of "terrorist" and look at this for what it is, a land grab, a land grab by one of the most heavily subsidized and welfare recipient institutions of the West, the American Rancher. The American Rancher is used to sucking on the teat of public lands ever since the first cowboy brought his first cow out west the rancher has utilized the common range land for his own benefit. The rancher has a long, and well documented history of over-grazing, water pollution and wildlife slaughter, so by claiming that government regulation is tyranny is to belie the fact that the American West has long suffered under the yoke of a rancher tyranny, where range land quality is destroyed for the self interest of would be cowboys. It is time to leave behind the labels, and a time to discuss the real impacts of private grazing on public lands, how that reduces wildlife abundance and diversity, and how cows pollute and destroy watersheds.

    The Bundy's claim they act for the people, but when they move to claim PUBLIC lands for private exploitation, their constitutional arguments are like the dust left behind by their cattle, a parched and shit strewned dialogue.

  3. I've been following this situation. I haven't seen anyone talk about the refuge! I'm a birder, and I'm not to happy that my right to visit this incredible refuge has been taken away! It's a incredible wetland and premier birding spot. I think birders should show up with their binoculars and spotting scopes and demand entrance!