So many "See, I told you so"s, so little time:
The main leaders of the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge have been denied pretrial release as prosecutors used their own words on social media and videos against them to argue that they were a danger to the community.
Ammon Bundy, the principal leader of the group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge nearly a month ago, and others used the platforms to summon armed recruits to join their takeover of the refuge.
Court documents against the eleven occupiers under arrest show that FBI agents have scrutinized social media postings, interviews and online talk shows that were broadcast refuge during the standoff that began January 2nd.
Such as an online video that showed Ammon Bundy saying the group planned to stay for several years,. and calling on people to "come out here and stand," adding: "We need you to bring your arms." And a video posted January 4th showing another defendant, Jon Ritzheimer, saying he was "100% willing to lay my life down." And unspecified "threats of violence" against against the sixteen federal employees of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. That latter claim is the weakest, but it's clear that the Bundy Gang set out to be martyrs to their cause, or at least to call a federal bluff that was never actually in play. Eventually federal and State law enforcement did move in, they did get the drop on some of the "occupiers," had them heavily outgunned, and Robert LaVoy Finicum chose martyrdom and finally got it through the thick skulls of his buddies how serious this was and how foolish their actions were.
Which I suppose makes it unsurprising that they're not willing to pay the price for their civil disobedience, and are already turning on each other:
Bundy and several other jailed leaders appeared Friday in federal court in Portland, where a judge denied their release. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne pose a danger to the community, and she is concerned they would not follow orders to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.
The "danger to the community" part is dubious, but that the Bundys would disappear like an illegal alien is indisputable.
Four holdouts continued to occupy the refuge in the snowy high country near Burns, and they posted a YouTube video Friday demanding pardons for everyone involved in the occupation.
A speaker believed to be David Fry said he asked the FBI whether it was possible to "get out of here without charges," but "they keep saying that's not possible."
You see, guys, there's this thing called "leverage," and you and your friends have never had it and possess even less now. Which is another way of saying that (1) they actually believed Ammon Bundy's romanticist "last stand/right makes might/blaze of glory" BS, and (2) are dead men, because they clearly will never allow themselves to be taken alive. "True believers," in other words.
Ammon Bundy's lawyer, Lissa Casey, said her client is not aligned with those remaining at the refuge and wants to go back to his family in Idaho. "He is done in Harney County; his message has been sent," she said. [emphasis added]
Nice, huh? He throws his true-believer buddies under the bus (much like the Hammonds disavowed the Bundys from day one), abandons them to die at federal hands, wants to escape the consequences of his foolhardy actions, AND changes his story to "I was sending a message" instead of the "I'm going to force the feds to give up all Western lands and release Dwight and Steven Hammond" on which he insisted for the past month. What a delusional, dishonorable coward. Those "remaining at the refuge" were sure as heck aligned with you, Ammon; you got them into this predicament, and now you're abandoning them and refusing to own your actions. And to "send a message" that those actions preemptively discredited and which has quite obviously and predictably been completely ignored. Nicely done, Mr. Bundy.
Bundy and his followers took over the refuge to demand that the federal government turn public lands over to local control. They have complained about what they say are onerous federal rules governing grazing and mining rights across the West.
And they were absolutely right. But who was and is going to listen to "anti-government militants," as the media has taken to calling them? A label they'd have gotten tarred with anyway, but one they went out of their way to earn. What a fiasco.
And one other thought to consider: Amendment II absolutely forbids the federal government from regulating firearms in any way, shape, or form. All federal gun laws are indeed unconstitutional. "The right to keep and bear arms" is an unequivocally declarative and absolute statement. And in the time that this Amendment was promulgated and ratified, armed individual citizens could organize into ad hoc militias, like the Bundys did, and have a plausible chance of defending themselves from government tyranny (although sometimes not even then). But we should not kid ourselves that the right to keep and bear arms can protect us from federal tyranny today, as Robert LaVoy Finicum found out the hard way.
It reminds me of something the late George Carlin said: "We have [flamethrowers]....well, we don't have them - the Army has them. That's right; the Army has all the flamethrowers. I'd say we're f#$%ed if we have to go up against the Army, wouldn't you?"
In this case, the Army, and law enforcement, don't have all the guns; but they have a lot more, and bigger, guns than we do.
And they, yes, also have flamethrowers - and tactical nuclear weapons, too.
Let us not lose sight of the fact, as the Bundys egregiously did, that the "fight" to reconstitutionalize America is a metaphorical, not literal, one, in which the "battlefield" is education and persuasion of minds and hearts, not armed incursions on what should not be but still is federal land. And let us also remember that if it is too late, as I believe it is and has been for over three years, then let us not throw our lives away on a cause that has not been lost, but has simply become one of generations instead of a single election cycle.
We don't need martyrs, in other words; we need apostles. And if we get martyred anyway, let us not bring it needlessly upon ourselves.