What, then, are we to make of the Oregon situation? If you listen to any major news source, then you’re probably prone to believe that a angry group of armed “militia” have taken over something that does not belong to them and are defending men who do not want their help. According to CBS News:
“The Hammonds said they have not welcomed the Bundy's help.”
" ‘Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family,’ the Hammonds' lawyer W. Alan Schroeder wrote to Sheriff David Ward.”
CBS, and the other biggies, frame this portion of the story the same way. There is no actual quote where the Hammonds reject the Bundy family and their supporters. Rather, the Hammonds are merely distancing themselves from the “militia” group, via their lawyer, to show that they are complying with the law. (The usage of that word, militia, just cracks me up. The media loves to pick key words in order to color readers’ perception before one even has a chance to consider the facts!)
Now, the Hammond story is a whole different animal from the Bundy story. It is the Bundy story I would like to consider first. The media uses the word “militia” – they want you to picture angry men with guns who are illegally occupying a space they don’t own in a town to which they do not belong. They want you to know that Clive Bundy owes the government $1m in fees that he refuses to pay. They want you to picture these people as violent, unreasonable…even animal. I have yet to hear or read a news story that is sympathetic to the Bundy/Hammond cause from one of the major news outlets.
However, the non-major new sources (read: blogs, etc., not owned by a vested interest) provide a much clearer picture of what’s happening in Oregon. What we have here is a David and Goliath story in which hard-working ranchers are pitted against the BLM and the Feds. In its essence, the ranchers simply want the freedom to work on and take care of their land. We like a good underdog story – we pull for David 99% of the time. But the media is savvy, see. They know it’s far easier for the Feds to win this one if the populace thinks ill of the Hammond/Bundy plight.
Per Justin Raimondo at Anti-War:
“What is clear is that the government is out to make an example of the Hammonds. Their case represents the resistance of rural ranchers and farmers to the aggressive tactics of the government and the radical ‘environmentalist’ movement, which aim at eliminating the few private landowners remaining in the region. The Hammonds are the last holdouts in an area that has seen the Bureau of Land Management revoke permits, block water usage, and use every means to harass them and force them to move out.”
Mr. Raimondo is not just throwing out an opinion regarding government harassment and inconsistency in this case. A nice, thorough timeline of the events can be read here:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So, to more clearly understand the BLM issue in the West, consider the map below. Notice a trend? If it looks like the West is almost completely owned by the BLM, then you see correctly. In their own words, “The BLM’s responsibilities include managing the 27 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System and managing about 700 million acres of underground minerals like oil, gas and coal.” Ah! That’s the ticket! The BLM controls an underground cornucopia of riches! No wonder why they want the ranchers to fuck off!
Map & quote: http://wilderness.org/article/blm-lands-faqs#sthash.egWeQbwB.dpuf
It has become quite clear to me that the ranchers – no matter how imperfect their lives and choices may be – are fighting for a cause that they believe is right and just. They have the same love of land as Thoreau, the same hunger to own and protect as Tom Cruise’s character in Far and Away. What are the Fed’s motives? Resources and control – same as always. So, when Mr. Bundy calls for Patriots to support his cause, he’s being a true American.