Well, this sorry episode ended pretty much as ignominiously as I figured it would:
One person was killed and several others arrested in Oregon in a Tuesday shootout between police and anti-government gunmen that had been occupying a federal wildlife refuge.
"Anti-government gunmen". Sounds more like John Dillinger or Al Capone than it does George Washington, doesn't it? Are y'all starting to see just how public relations-foolhardy the Bundys' stunt was?
The FBI said that Ammon Bundy, the rancher who led the January 2nd occupation in the northwestern State, was among five people arrested when federal agents and State troopers stopped vehicles carrying the activists on a remote ice-covered highway.
Bundy, forty, faces a federal felony charge "of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats," the FBI said in a statement.
During the arrest operation "there were shots fired," the statement read.
Of course, there were.
Authorities did not immediately identify the dead person, who the Oregonian newspaper said was group spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.
At least the Bundys can take comfort in the fact that they got a martyr out of the deal, right?
Details of the incident remain unclear, but apparently two men - including Bundy's forty-three-year-old brother Ryan - disobeyed orders and resisted arrest, resulting in shots [being] fired, The Oregonian said.
Leading to the $64 question of who fired the first shot. A question the answer to which isn't worth even that much because if the Bundys opened up first, obviously that would be a forfeiture of whatever moral high ground they were trying to "occupy," and if it was law enforcement that initiated the hot lead exchange, so what? Their targets were male, white, conservative, claimed to be constitutionalists, and were "anti-government gunmen". "Outlaws". "Criminals". Or, in other words, precisely as they, wittingly or unwittingly, painted themselves to the entire country.
Oh, yes, and "racists":
The Bundy brothers are the sons of Cliven Bundy, sixty-nine, a racist, vitriolic anti-government activist who in 2014 engaged in an armed standoff with federal authorities over unpaid cattle grazing fees at his Nevada ranch.
Despotic government extortion, actually. But nobody will ever know or understand that, because the Bundys were fighting the wrong battle. They thought they were the twenty-first century minutemen and the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge was their Lexington and Concord. But the real battle was one of ink and newsprint and pixels. And there, in the battle that actually mattered, they got slaughtered, and their - our - cause right along with them.
As Rocky Balboa told the loan shark client, "Youse shoulda planned ahead."
Of course, that doesn't explain why only Mr. Finicum was gunned down and not everybody else in the car. As for Finicum himself, I'm guessing the reputation the Bundys created for themselves preceded him.
[h/t: Tom Fletcher]
UPDATE II: How'd you like to be a member of the Bundy Gang and hear this?:
The leader of a month-long armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon urged remaining protesters on Wednesday to leave the site and go home, a day after his arrest and the death of a supporter.
Ammon Bundy, who was taken into custody with several members of his group at a traffic stop along Highway 395, north of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon, urged federal authorities to let his comrades leave the compound without being prosecuted.
"To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. ... Please go home," Bundy said in a statement read by his attorney, Michael Arnold, following a court hearing.
Jason Patrick, who remained at the refuge following Bundy's arrest on Tuesday told Reuters by phone that some protesters were leaving on Wednesday afternoon through checkpoints set up by authorities, but rejected the word "surrender."
That's exactly what this is. Also capitulation and running up the white flag. Heck, it's a sellout and betrayal by Bundy. He's the one who organized this operation. He's the one who was "taking a stand against federal tyranny" (kinda-sorta). He's the one who encouraged all those who followed him into this twenty-first century Alamo. And now he's folding his tent after a single fatality? What a RINO wimp. I bet he has Mitch McConnell's face tattooed on one buttcheek and John Boehner's stenciled on the other.
Of course, in reality Ammon Bundy was brought face-to-face with the reality of what he was attempting. Leading a "range war" insurrection sounded romanticist, I'm sure, but what it came down to was a one-sided gun battle on a deserted road at night that got one of his buddies killed. Someone who would still be alive today if he'd made a different choice.
Also, the feds haven't relinquished a single pebble or dirt clod of all the Western land they own, and Dwight and Steve Hammond are still behind bars. So what did the Bundy Gang accomplish beyond making constitutionalists look "extreme"? Can we all at least agree definitively, conclusively, and beyond dispute that right once and for all does NOT make might? Please?