The BLM, and in particular its regional office in Oregon, has engaged in a long pattern of attempting to squeeze private landowners off their property and gobbling up real estate adjacent to federal holdings. In the case of the Malheur bird preserve, this has included abusing water management in order to flood private lands and make them useless, so the owners in desperation agree to sell. But the Hammond family have been a holdout among local ranchers, to such an extent that their property is surrounded by federal lands and they have dealt with the BLM blockading roads leading in and out of their ranch.
In that environment, it’s sadly less than surprising that the BLM and the federal government threw the book at the Hammonds over a pair of fire-related incidents in 2001 and 2006 and found a way to put them in prison. Hammond père and fils were actually convicted under a significantly inappropriate federal anti-terrorism statute carrying a five-year minimum sentence, and the trial judge was so offended by the idea of five years for what they actually did that he refused to impose it — giving Dwight a three-month sentence and Steven a year.
The judge, Michael Hogan, was so lenient likely out of a sense of shame that he allowed the prosecution to go forward in the first place. For the “terrorism” in question was a pair of incidents where the Hammonds started fires on their own land only to have those fires cross into the bird preserve and touch small amounts of federal grassland. In both cases the fires were put out by the Hammonds themselves; the 2006 fire was actually lit as a back-burn intended to protect Hammond property and their ranch-house from a wildfire started by lightning strikes, and it was successful in doing so.
Hogan also ran a fairly kangaroo-court style proceeding, giving the prosecutors six days to present their case and the defense just one. A jury confused and exhausted by the trial acquitted the defendants on most of the 19 charges. The judge brokered a plea agreement in the case, in which the Hammonds agreed not to appeal the case and also — this is key — to agree to a right of first refusal for the BLM to buy their property.
Dwight and Steven Hammond served the sentences Hogan imposed, and went home to the ranch in an effort to keep it alive.
And meanwhile, Oregon’s horrifically unqualified U.S. Attorney at the time, a leftist moonbat named Amanda Marshall — raised in a commune and reared on Grateful Dead concerts and socialism and plucked for the job out of a child advocacy sinecure in Oregon’s state bureaucracy in a pristine example of runaway affirmative action by the Obama administration — refused to accept the sentences or the plea agreement. The Department of Justice actually appealed the case and managed to get a ruling from the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals imposing the mandatory five-year sentence. And in stupidity typical of the 9th Circus, the court reasoned that violating the spirit of the principle of double jeopardy (not to mention the plea agreement) was justified in this case, as Jacob Sullum notes, because other more absurd results based on mandatory minimum sentences were not overturned.
The Hammonds reported Monday to serve out their newly increased sentences, when they shouldn’t have served a day. Their case should create maximum blowback against the shocking abuse and affront to the senses this tyrannical federal government commits on a constant basis, and the taxpayer-funded troglodytes responsible up and down the chain ought to be named, shamed, and hounded off the public teat.
But what the Bundy brigade is doing isn’t going to work. They’re just provocative enough to fire up the Left and create demands for their blood, but not enough to actually create the credible threat of making it impossible for Obama’s government to govern. As such, what effect they do produce is likely negative consequences to themselves — perhaps dire ones.
And martyrs to the cause of limited government are not what that cause needs. What it needs is the ability to, Saul Alinsky-style, make it impossible for the federal government to carry out the abuses it conjures through nonviolent but highly provocative organized action capturing the public’s imagination and properly casting the Federal conjurers as villains.
If that means giving the Bundys, or somebody just as committed but significantly more capable, a copy of Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals, great.
Okay, McKay did an excellent job with this article and all, up to that point. Yes, this despicable tyranny is unfit to govern a free nation; it should be resisted at every possible turn and ultimately hamstrung, if not brought down outright and replaced with a government based on and limited by the US Constitution. It would be far preferable if these things were brought to pass by non-violent means.
None of these things are even remotely likely to happen.
That said, though–what? Is McKay seriously, literally suggesting that the answer to the Hammonds’ problem is to give them a copy of Rules For Radicals? Really? How exactly does that work? Will that remove even one of the BLM roadblocks? Will it give the swarms of federal bureaucrats and lawyers sent hither a second’s pause as they go about their sworn business of harassing the people and eating out their substance? Is it supposed to make their bosses, both “elected” and unelected, stop and think about what the Constitution really means, and dedicate themselves to its restoration?
Alinsky, along with his kindred spirit Gramsci, were undeniably true men of diabolical genius. Their prescriptions for destroying Constitutional governance and replacing it with a Marxist tyranny have been successful probably beyond their own nefarious dreams. But it took decades to do it, and the Hammonds–and many others suffering under the yoke of American tyranny–don’t have decades. The Hammonds are going to jail now, for the heretofore unimaginable crime of managing their property as they see fit, without doing harm of any kind to a living soul.
If they’re to be reprieved, it won’t be by sitting in jail poring over a book, with an anxious eye always kept towards avoiding giving offense to Leftists. It will be accomplished by bold men with guns defying illegitimate federal authority, rendering it ineffective by daring it to suppress them by force right out in the open, so that people can no longer deny the true nature and identity of the enemy.
Learning the stratagems of that enemy is always a good thing; understanding their goals and how they aim to achieve them is a useful aid in defeating them, sure. But unless we’re to sit back and essentially do nothing while they pick us off one by one, winnowing any potential resistance a bite at a time and keeping the numbers of that resistance down to a manageable level, the time for that is long past. We are now well into the Burning Times, and the matches were all struck long ago.
Yes, a fair argument can still be made for holding back, marshaling our forces and educating a benighted populace as to the nature of the struggle, and of the necessity for it. But I doubt very much if people like the Hammonds–already eye to eye with the Beast, its talons already digging into their throats–are much interested in making it now.
We should concern ourselves with what liberal-fascists think of our actions in the struggle against their usurpation of our God-given rights no more than we should the Moslems. To hell with them. It’s war, or very nearly so; just about the only thing missing so far is artillery, and once the Waco/Ruby Ridge line has been crossed again (as the Left is already bloodthirstily urging in this case, while still advocating for giving violent jihad a free pass) the step to artillery becomes very short indeed–a matter of when, not if. And if you think this government would hesitate to take it, you’re dreaming. They haven’t spent years giving tanks to all those small-town cop shops for nothing, you know.
To hell with them. More power to the Hammonds and the Bundys. I wish them every success, and I hope they can do their bit to stop despotism without any of their own blood being shed in the process. They’re on the front line in the fight against tyranny–not later, not someday, right the fuck now–and they should be applauded and supported by all true Americans, not scorned and denounced from the (ahem) rear echelons.
Update! “We don’t trust them, and you shouldn’t either.” Another via WRSA that you definitely need to read, especially if you think the Obama junta “wouldn’t dare” do anything you can think of to preserve and expand its dictatorship. Note, too, that Oathkeepers is NOT in favor of the Bundys’ actions here, and given that their reasons for that (including that the Hammonds are NOT supportive of the Bundys’ actions here either) seem to be good ones, I may have to rethink the gist of this whole post myself.