The 'Militia' In Oregon

Self-styled militiamen have seized that federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. What do they want? And how should the US government respond?

Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

When Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters faced down federal agents in Nevada ranching country in 2014, it was a big win for gun-toting opponents of western federal authority. On Saturday, Bundy’s sons and armed allies took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, with new demands for the Feds to back down. It’s partly an old story of struggles over land use in the West. And partly new, armed, open resistance to Washington. This hour On Point, guns, land and order in Oregon and the American West.

— Tom Ashbrook


Les Zaitz, senior investigative reporter for the Oregonian. (@LesZaitz)

Dave Duquette, rancher and horse trainer who attended Saturday’s protest. Member of Protect the Harvest, a rancher and farmer’s rights organization.

Dave Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, where he is also a professor of public policy. (@schanzerdavid)

Phil Brick, professor of political science at Whitman College.

From Tom’s Reading List

Oregonian: Ranchers heading for prison but will seek clemency from Obama — “Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven are turning themselves in at a California prison today. The senior Hammond, who has ranched outside Burns for more than 50 years, faces up to five years for his conviction in 2012 for arson. His son has about four years. They are both returning to prison for the second time on their convictions after a federal appellate court ruled their original sentences were illegal.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting: The Bundy Militia’s Particular Brand Of Mormonism — “Ammon Bundy is a self-described devout Mormon, with strong anti-federal feelings. He praises his father’s actions against the federal government, and once accused the Bureau of Land Management as using the Endangered Species Act as a type of eminent domain.”

Los Angeles Times: Armed activists in Oregon: ‘We’re not looking for bloodshed’ — “The long-running debate over federal control of public land that has fueled political conflict for generations has come to a new standoff in the rolling ranch lands of southeastern Oregon. The new activists began trickling into town in December, hanging on at the fringes, brandishing rifles and handguns, proselytizing from the beds of pickups against federal land ownership until, without warning, they struck.”


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