First, let's back up to when this particular kerfuffle all started.
Dwight Hammond, seventy-three, and his son Steven, forty-six, are - were - ranchers in Burns, Oregon, in the southeastern corner of the Beaver State. In 2001 and 2006 they lit controlled fires on their own property in order to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires, which are an annual summer hazard in the Pacific Northwest. Something that ranchers have done from time immemorial, a traditional, established, and responsible land-managing task on, again, their own property. So that should be no big deal, right?
Don't be silly. The greenstremists got involved, declared war, had "arson" charges filed against the Hammonds, prosecuted them, convicted them, and had them sent to jail. For a traditional, established, and responsible land-management practice carried out, again, on their own property. Did I mention that if you do controlled burns, the chances of out of control wildfires are significantly reduced because there's much less tindered undergrowth to fuel them? And pretty much the entire West is experiencing drought conditions? Just thought I'd toss in those details to add some additional "enviros just want to watch the world burn" context to yet another grotesque violation of Fifth Amendment property rights.
The Hammonds were convicted of the arsons three years ago (wouldn't the statute of limitations have run out on this case?) and served time in the slammer — the father three months, the son one year. But after that entire, tyrannical ordeal, it was finally over, right?
Don't be silly. A federal judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Without due process or trial. Ex post facto sentencing. And so back to the greybar hotel the Hammonds are going to go.
The above is the context for this story, and the question of whether this is a courageous stand against Obamunist tyranny or a counterproductive publicity stunt:
A protest in support of Oregon ranchers facing jail time for arson was followed by an occupation of a building at a national wildlife refuge led by members of a family previously involved in a showdown with the federal government.
Ammon Bundy — the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights — told the Oregonian on Saturday that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Ammon Bundy posted a video on his Facebook page asking for militia members to come help him. He said "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 is this statement: "(asterisk)(asterisk)ALL PATRIOTS ITS TIME TO STAND UP NOT STAND DOWN!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! COME PREPARED."
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."
I think local law enforcement, and eventually the feds, might have something to say about that. And that is clearly what Ammon Bundy is going for with this move, creating an armed showdown with really, really bad PR optics for the federal government if Bundy and his group can force them into a violent crackdown. And scoring a propaganda victory if, as a year and a half ago on his dad's Nevada ranch, he succeeds in getting the government to back off, even temporarily.
The question, though, is whether that is how the American public would see and interpret such an incident. Because there are at least two major problems that I can see with Ammon Bundy's propaganda strategy.
1) Squatting on the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has no clearly or easily recognizable logical connection to the feds' persecution and violations of the Hammonds. Nor is it coming before they were effectively double-jeopardied back to prison, where it could have at least been threatened if the federal judge carried out his threat against the father & son Oregon ranchers. As it is, both the nature of the move and its tardiness make it look like Bundy The Younger and his group don't really care at all about the Hammonds and are just exploiting the opportunity to engage in gratuitous "rightwing domestic terrorism," which we can count on being the Obamedia spin.
2) This "patriotic standing up" would be so much more effective and meaningful and gripping if the Hammonds themselves were leading this charge. That's what made the first "Battle of Bundy Hill" so compelling: the Obama Bureau of Land Management giving a man crap over a damned tortoise, levying ridiculous fines against him, his refusing to pay them on constitutional principle, and the BLM showing up with a small army to loot and pillage his ranch. Cliven Bundy was an American citizen defending his home against a despotic federal government. It was effortlessly compelling. The story wrote itself.
His son isn't doing anything like that. He's breaking the law because the feds broke the Fifth Amendment. It's not justice he's seeking, but tit-for-tat, eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth revenge. Which will certainly draw public attention, but to discredit the cause of property rights, not rally public support behind it.
Meanwhile, the Hammonds are peacefully going back to jail without resistance. Should they be, instead of taking a stand? I'll leave that question for y'all to ponder and decide for yourselves. But are Ammon Bundy and his militia-ists really helping their case, or will they be shortly joining them in the slammer?
As I keep arguing, "standing up" and "Fight! Fight! Fight!" is all fine and good, and We the People absolutely should do so - but we have to do so wisely and intelligently. The Second Battle of Bundy Hill is the propaganda equivalent of sticking one's head in the proverbial lion's mouth after shampooing in Heinz-57 sauce.