“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So in our country we do have a “well regulated militia” in the form of our standing military and national guard. What gives people the idea that they need to perform that role ala the second amendment?
Frightening and crazy things are happening in a small town in Oregon in the name of militias. Armed insurgents have taken over a government building in Burns, Oregon under the auspices of protecting land rights. Now it is turning into a possible movement that could spread to other places in the country. This article highlights what is actually going on in Oregon. From the article:
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said in a statement Sunday that the group of armed protesters came to town under false pretenses.
“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to over throw the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States,” Ward said.
The sheriff says he is working with local and federal authorities to keep the citizens in his county safe and to resolve the situation as quickly and peacefully as possible.
People in Burns are used to worrying about friction between the federal government and locals, but takeover is raising concerns to a new high.
Keith Landon, a longtime resident of Burns and employee at the Reid Country Store, said he knows local law enforcement officials who fear their kids will be targeted by angry militia members. The mother of one of his kids is now involved with an officer, Landon said, and they decided to send their children to another town after they were allegedly threatened by an angry protester.
“I’m hoping most of it’s just muscle, trying to push,” Landon said. “But it’s a scary thing.”
This is terrorism. The people of the town of Burns are rightfully worried and scared as well they should be. When armed people take over, all bets are off. My friend from Oregon, Baldr Odinson, who blogs has written this post about what is going on:
And the only “tyranny” here is a bunch of armed now-felons terrorizing the local community.
But, hey, there is a long history of militia members and groups committing crimes and plots, including murder, insurrection, and even genocidal schemes. So it’s not like this is totally unexpected. In most countries, “citizen militias” would be outlawed for what they are: homegrown terrorist organizations. This is just the latest and, perhaps, most flagrant of examples.
This occupation follows a peaceful parade by around 100 anti-government sympathizers earlier in the day in Burns, Oregon, organized by a small-time right-wing talk show host. They met in a Safeway parking lot to do speeches, then marched a mile to the home of one of the convicted ranchers they support, and then drove to the local Sheriff’s office to throw pennies at the building for some reason (which were quickly snatched up by a couple of girls), before returning to the Safeway parking lot. But pro-gun bullieshate peaceful protests. Successful peaceful protests run counter to their flawed argument that guns are needed to enact change.
(…) I can’t imagine a more pitiful example of a “revolution” than this. Not only do the Hammonds and the community not want the militia there, but the crime is taking place in one of the most remote and sparsely-populated areas of Oregon, at a time of year when no one goes there, and in a month when the temperatures are at the lowest. At the time I’m writing this, it is -1 degrees Fahrenheit. Good luck staying warm, felons, particularly after your electricity is cut and any fuel for your generators (if you have any) runs out.
It’ll be interesting to see how law enforcement and the government respond to this situation in the coming days. The insurrectionists and Bundy family are clearly wanting a shoot-out to occur, a la Ruby Ridge, making them some sort of “martyr” to their extremist cause. But I’m guessing that, if they don’t fire first, they are more likely to be surrounded in a siege until they either give up or they freeze to death. Assuming they survive, it is comforting to know that their new felon status will prevent them from legally purchasing or possessing firearms.
So what we have here is anti-government sentiment expressed with firearms. That is quite different from, for example, protests by Black Lives Matter groups to work towards racial justice and calling attention to law enforcement shootings of young black people. Thrse are unarmed people protesting and yes, there has been, unfortunately, looting and property damage when it gets out of control. But there have also been armed white folks taking matters into their own hands as in what happened in Minneapolis last month.
Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post wonders what exactly we should call these folks. He even has a poll question which I answered. Most who responded called them terrorists or extremists. Going forward, if this continues in other places as it looks like it could, we should call it like it is and not be afraid of offending the corporate gun lobby or the armed folks themselves. But then, they are armed. Sticky situation
Anti-government sentiments are being fomented by none other than Presidential candidate Donald Trump and other (mostly) Republican candidates. The corporate gun lobby also spews out fear and paranoia of gun confiscation and government take-over of rights and guns if any reasonable gun safety reform laws are passed.
We are seeing the results of the fear, paranoia, and hatred acted out in small towns and large urban areas all over America. When it comes to the gun culture in our country, we are seeing what has been predicted by the gun rights extremists and the right wing extremists. Fighting against government policies should not come at the end of a barrel. Using the threat of violence is not patriotic or the American way. We change things through discussions, lobbying, getting involved, voting, organizing and having some common sense.
If we are going to start using guns and the threat of guns to change the government, the leaders and/or the policies, we are not a democracy any more. This is ludicrous. And it points to the dangers that come with fear mongering.
We have better things to do in this country like trying to keep our children and communities safe from gun violence. Let’s get to work on that and put away the guns.