|OREGON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE BUILDING OCCUPIED BY A MILITIA|
Monday, 9:00 AM. 26 degrees F at the ferry dock, 23 on the back porch.Wind variable, calm with occasional gusts. The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 77%. The barometer stands at 30.53 inches and falling. We got 1" of snow last night and snow is predicted for Wednesday.
Remember the dustup in 2014 when federal agents attempted to coral cattle owned by Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher, because they were supposedly trespassing on Bureau of Land Management land? That was a confrontation with armed ranchers, who's families had been grazing the land since settlement and felt that the BLM had stolen the land from the state, and imposed its own illegal presence. It ended without violence in a tenuous peace.
Now another iteration of the issue is occurring in a remote area of Oregon, where a rancher and his son were convicted of setting fires on BLM land, served their sentences and now have been ordered back to prison by a federal judge who determined the sentences too light. The ranchers claimed they were combating invasive species with the fire, the feds contended they were covering up poaching.
Add to the mix all the unreasonable, uneconomic, draconian environmental laws, rules and regulations of the current administration...that attack the lands and livelihoods of everyone from coal miners to strawberry growers and all in between...through absolute control of water, air and other basic resources, and the propagandizing of the same...and much of America is very restive.
I don't know all the details of the takeover, which are in any case, in dispute. But the deeper problem here is federal control (which often is abusive), of lands that local farmers and ranchers depend on for their livelihood. When their traditional livings and their freedoms are infringed upon, Americans are likely to push back. Federal agencies, particularly under the present administration, have become arrogant and highhanded in their promulgation and prosecution of administrative law. And it would seem that in this case at least there was a vengeful judge.
I remember well the occupation of federal buildings by the American Indian Movement protests of the 1970's, in particular the occupation of an unused Coast Guard Station on the Milwaukee lakefront, that was occupied for several years. No one was shot and everything ended peacefully in that case, although not so everywhere. As a consequence of such protests and confrontations, the Indians won back their treaty rights that had been eroded by both state and federal governments over the years. The current protesters and occupiers should be given as much a chance to win back their rights as were the Indians nearly a half-century ago.
Americans are mostly level headed and basically reasonable. But they are prone rise to the old battle cry, "Don't Tread On Me."