Remember in April of 2014 (seems like ages ago) when rancher Cliven Bundy took a stand against the federal government regarding “grazing fees” the government said Bundy owed? Bundy became a lightening rod for patriotism as scores of protestors, some of them armed and on horseback, held a stand off against the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy became an overnight sensation until he made comments about “the Negro” being better off as slaves rather than living under government subsidies. Then he was dropped like a hot spud.
Well, the Bundy family is back in the news again. This time it’s Cliven’s son, Ammon, who’s leading a protest in Oregon on behalf of two ranchers.
In this case, Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. As CBS News reports, “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.
In particular, the Hammonds’ new sentences touched a nerve with far right groups who repudiate federal authority.”
Dwight Hammond has said he and his son plan to peacefully report to prison Jan. 4 as ordered by the judge.
“Remember: It’s not about me, it’s about America and somehow we have to get the wheels back on this wagon because they are flying off,” Dwight Hammond told KOIN. He said he feels his upcoming prison term is a life sentence.
“I’m not very happy about that. Just don’t know what to say,” Hammond said. “It just seems like a little overreach for having burned 127 acres.”
Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come help him, saying “this is not a time to stand down. It’s a time to stand up and come to Harney County” (where Burns is located). Below the video he added: “ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED.”
The group is demanding the Hammonds be released and the federal government give up control of the Malheur National Forest, according to the Daily Mail. As we reported here, the federal government owns vast portions of land in the west.
However, the Hammond family doesn’t really want their help. CBS says, “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family,” the Hammonds’ lawyer W. Alan Schroeder wrote to Sheriff David Ward.”
Nonetheless, Bundy and his group planned continue to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife refuge building in Princeton, Oregon for as long as it takes.
In an interview with reporters late Saturday night that was posted on Facebook, Bundy said he and others are occupying the building because “the people have been abused long enough.”
“I feel we are in a situation where if we do not do something, if we do not take a hard stand, we’ll be in a position where we’ll be no longer able to do so,” he said.
Bundy said the group planned to stay at the refuge indefinitely. “We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely,” Ammon Bundy said. “This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”
What do you think, folks? Has it come to this in our nation? And is this just the tip of the iceberg, or just a few crazies in cowboy hats?
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]