What should be done with the forces occupying the Oregon wildlife refuge?

DrStrange

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There is an armed force of regional "militia" occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon since Jan 2nd, 2016. So far, no one has been harmed. The militia is heavily armed and explicit in its intentions to resort to violence if it faces actions by law enforcement. Implicit threats against the families and homes of law enforcement might have been made - or - perhaps the militia was just driving down the residential streets while legally carrying weapons in plain sight.

There has been destruction of property and it seems likely some level of destruction will be on-going. The government offices have been broken into where some property was seized/stolen. Let's stipulate that these actions are likely felonies.

The Malheur Wildlife Refuge is remote. While the actions of the militia appear to be unlawful, the militia action on the refuge itself do not likely pose a threat to public safety so long as law enforcement personnel or federal employees do not attempt to enter the area. The same can not be said when the members of the militia come into town to shop or eat. [and we can not forget an assault in Las Vegas where members of a similar group murdered several people including members of law enforcement. There is good reason for civilians and law enforcement to be wary when being confronted by these people].

- What should law enforcement do about this situation?

- Is this an act of terrorism? Definition: Terrorism is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. Please note there is a difference between public protests and terrorism. Both are political in nature but there is a difference in the degree of violence threated. Public protest is protected by the Constitution, but only up to a point.

- Should the government be prepared to treat these loosely organized militias like other terrorist organizations? Is there a legal difference between an Islamic terrorist cell planning an attack and the militias involved in Oregon? Keep in mind that these militias have been quite explicit in prior engagements about their violent intentions with regards to law enforcement and civilians.

How do we expect second amendment enthusiasts to react if the militia groups get treated as an active terrorist threat and treated accordingly? Basically brought into custody in mass, preferably alive but the options are arrested or dead.

DrStrange
 

Phantom

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Wow, thats messed up mate. Sounds very much like they are operating under a 'banner' of terror. If left alone they may not hurt people, but what is their point to being 'left alone'. If they come into town and are challenged they will respond with threats of, or actual lethal force.

How many are there in the militia? Where are their families? Any motive for doing this?

On the face of it (not knowing all the ins and outs) how can they justify their actions?

Are US Armed forces allowed to take action against the militia, or is it up to law enforcement only?

What is the role of the militias?

Sorry for all the questions, we don't have this in Australia, but I do find it fascinating.
 

trever

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Not terrorists, terrorists kill for political ends; these bozos haven't hurt anyone and have no intention of doing so.

Nobody is in any danger right now and nobody is in any threat of danger. Wait for them to leave (their welcome in the community is already wearing thin) and then arrest them individually as the means and opportunity present themselves.
 

DrStrange

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Phantom:

No one knows exactly how many militia members there are. Nor do we know how dangerous each group is - some of them are basically playing a grown up version of army, some of them are marginally dangerous and a few are potentially deadly. Let's say 100,000 militia members nation wide but only a thousand at most that are prepared to use force against the government. Sadly there is likely a larger number of militia members who might be 'provoked' into killing civilians they consider unsavory / un-American {but you might use racial or religious descriptions in many cases} Keep in mind this is my largely uneducated guess - I do not know of solid source for definitive numbers.

In this case - I suspect the total number of armed militia members in Oregon is less than 100, perhaps in the ~30 range? But in the last few days a wave of reinforcements arrived, so maybe more than 30 now.

The term militia covers a wide range of groups. Some are grown men playing army and never really intend to fight. Some are playing army and would shoot to kill, but not likely targeting government officials. They would target civilians - eg 'defending the borders' or confronting civilian protesters.

The militias in this case have been edging towards armed conflict over the question of federal control of lands. These are vast amounts of acreage that came under federal control at the time the territories were granted statehood (so 100-150 years ago). The federal government restricts commercial use of the lands in some cases. Say limiting grazing rights in favor of conservation or public parks instead of logging or forbid mining operation in favor of protecting clean waterways.

It should be noted that the federal government leases vast tracts of land for commercial use at a fraction of its market value, but even that proves to be burdensome to some militia members. The last big blow up with these militia groups happened when one of their members didn't pay the million dollars owed for grazing rights and the militias showed up and drove law enforcement out of the area at gun point. The rancher still hasn't paid his debts and is still armed and dangerous. {sadly I doubt I would get the same treatment if I didn't pay my taxes and threatened to fight to the death if someone tried to make me pay.}

It would be unlikely that the armed forces of the USA would be called upon to fight this small a group. However, law enforcement in the USA is heavily militarized and capable of most ground missions that the army might conduct. If deemed desirable, law enforcement could deploy armored vehicles, troops in body armor, non-lethal chemical weapons and close air support - but no heavy weapons, air missions, artillery etc.

It is important to note that the militias in question are made up almost entirely of white people. A white group toting long guns and pistols will generally get the benefit of the doubt that might not be so easily extended to a group made up of minorities.

I'd like to say that my personal preference would be a peaceful resolution of the matter that includes significant jail time for the militia members and a lifetime loss of the right to own guns of any type. I appreciate that this might not be possible. In which case, I'd prefer the militias be met with lethal force if needed to arrest them rather than allowing them to go home without consequences.

DrStrange
 

manamongkids

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Phantom

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@DrStrange Thanks for the explanation mate. What a mess. I really hope and pray that it is resolved without bloodshed on the part of law enforcement officers. Armoured vehicles and close air-support. Wow. I live in Queensland, one of the second largest state in Australia at 1.853 million km². Our state goverment only in the last couple of years decided we needed a dedicated Police helicopter. Other smaller states have two. Apparently, prior to that we didn't need one. Sheesh. Our special tactical fellas have beefed up 4WDs, but no armour.
 

tommythecat

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The absolute insane level of hypocrisy w/r/t this situation is what gets me. If this was a group of black men with no weapons of any kind taking over a remote federal building it would have been over before they got everyone together. These guys are armed to the teeth, and have threatened violence. They have made their intentions quite clear, yet they still sit there.

As much as I would like to see them roll tanks over these guys, they will self implode on their own. In fact it is already starting to happen...http://gawker.com/drama-alert-the-oregon-militia-boys-are-beefing-like-i-1751917762

I highly doubt any of these terrorists are wealthy nor are many of their supporters. They will run out of supplies soon enough and people will be less likely to send them stuff as time goes on. That's when the real in-fighting will start and they will end up turning on each other. Quite possibly the best thing to do would be to keep them contained and ignore them.
 

stocky

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Not terrorists, terrorists kill for political ends; these bozos haven't hurt anyone and have no intention of doing so.

Nobody is in any danger right now and nobody is in any threat of danger. Wait for them to leave (their welcome in the community is already wearing thin) and then arrest them individually as the means and opportunity present themselves.
terrorism
[ter-uh-riz-uh m]

noun
1.
the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

They are threatening people with violence if they are forced to move on. Sounds like terrorism.
 

Marius L

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Interesting discussion. I'm also pretty sure that the wording would be very different if the occupants were muslims, black americans or another minority group. Even if the group have not yet hurt anyone, they seem prepared to do so, and are apparently threatening enough to keep the government away and stop them from enforcing the law (WTF). Considering what happens to black people with guns, I think its fair to say the Oregon militia are getting a completely different treatment. Will be interesting to see what happens. Hope these guys are beeing held accountable for their actions and gets taken to prison for a long time, and do not get off the hook because they are white american patriot cowboys with the constitution on their altar.

It should be noted that the federal government leases vast tracts of land for commercial use at a fraction of its market value, but even that proves to be burdensome to some militia members. The last big blow up with these militia groups happened when one of their members didn't pay the million dollars owed for grazing rights and the militias showed up and drove law enforcement out of the area at gun point. The rancher still hasn't paid his debts and is still armed and dangerous.

Also, this. wtf.....

At least some news media and people are discussing the way we talk about this group, so maybe it will lead to something good....
 

Anthony Martino

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If you want this ended quickly and only with some bruising and maybe broken bones the only real option we have is

chuck-norris-super-kick.gif




But to be serious, replace the White "patriots" with Arabic Muslims and I'm about 300% certain the response from local, state and federal authorities would have been vastly different (and already over by now). Seems like domestic terrorism to me.
 

bergs

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This is about open carry type ranchers not wanting to pay grazing fees. What's next, I disagree with what my town hall decided so takeover the public library? These idiots are on federal land destroying federal property, so send in federal troops and send the morons to federal prison. To do anything less invites a precedent that I'm not comfortable with. These guys aren't fighting for their rights or trying to correct a wrong - they're trying to let their horses and cattle graze on federal land for free.
 

DrStrange

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This morning we have reports that the militias have broken into the room(s) holding Native American artifacts found on the reserve, and also maps to the sites where more artifacts can be found. The leaders of the militia indicate they don't plan on pillaging or destroying the archeological sites for now, I wonder how long that will last. We have seen how ISIS and other similar groups have profited from looting and selling local treasures. I would expect the militias are already getting inquiries about selling items in the possession - likely tempting if they are short of money.

Artifacts with provenance are valuable even if they are "hot". Each item might be worth hundreds of dollars with the best items worth tens of thousands of dollars. And the Native Americans have plenty of reason to think the local ranchers might not respect the sacred nature of these sites.

(One of the reasons the federal government might put lands into a reserve would be to protect sacred areas from looting or damage done by ranching/logging/mining. It appears the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is one of those sites. That aspect likely wasn't widely published to help protect these sites from looters. )

I could imagine the potential for damage might both deter a massive attack on the headquarters because of the artifact/map room and encourage a violent end to the occupation to prevent looting or intentional destruction of Native American archeological sites.

DrStrange

Link to news story:

http://news.yahoo.com/4-000-artifacts-stored-oregon-refuge-held-armed-061523370.html
 

BiGGyT

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I am a bit torn on this story as it does show hypocrisy, but not the same as you may think. My understanding of this story is it started with some ranchers who served the time a judge gave them for starting a back burn fire without specific permission on BLM land. They served some time and were released, then the BLM said hey, this was terrorism because it occurred on federal land and so you have to have a minimum 5 year sentence, forget what the judge gave you, back to jail boys. The ranchers said it sucked, but showed up to go back to jail and said to the mob that they should not do anything bad. Well, just like any other mob, they do what they want and took over a shack in the woods, maybe 2 buildings and are being a bunch of dicks.

Now, this is where I have a problem and I think is hypocritical, is that if people want to riot in Baltimore, Furguson, L.A. or elsewhere, they are "allowed" to. If people want to "occupy" wall street or Atlanta, or wherever, they were "allowed" to. If a bunch of dicks with guns want to riot and occupy a SHACK in the WOODS, people are calling for tanks and Army to kill them.

How about this, let them sit in the woods with each other until they get bored and go home. If they destroy stuff, charge them after just like you charge the looters after the riot. You cannot tell me that they know who these guys are and have drone video footage of them all by now. No need to go guns blazing in, what is the point? A bunch of dead dicks which rile up the 3am talk show crowd to organize more militias and start calling for open revolt?

Let them get it out of their system like every other rioting occupy asshole and quit pouring gasoline on it. I guarantee that if you ignore them, they will get bored and go home.

I do not know if any chips or Native artifacts were/could be harmed, but is it worth mowing them down with tanks? Did they mow down the QT gas station looters or arsonists? No, use the same logic you apply to non-gun nuts. Tell them "we are watching, you are breaking the law, and need to disperse". Not "we got TANKS bitches, gonna roll on you" Of course, have some of those same armored vehicles handy just in case the mob gets crazy, just like in Baltimore.

Personally, I think the ranchers are getting shafted, and with appeals and such will get the law changed, but the mob is wrong. As far as "poaching" and burned to "cover that up", even if they did, it seems odd that for arson and poaching (which they were not convicted of) they get minimum 5 year sentence. I heard there was testimony from a firefighter who was battling the other fire that was burning when the ranchers set the back burn, that they did the right thing and saved even more lands, but this was radio talk, cannot confirm.

Regardless, I have spoken against the liberal community on this now, and will probably be called wrong and stupid and ignorant. All I ask is you think about apples to apples, would you be okay with rolling tanks on a bunch of assholes camping in Woodruff Park (where occupy Atlanta was set up) or rioters throwing molotov cocktails? How about the Black Panther Party? They also are armed and were charged with voter intimidation, but it was dropped. Not sure why.


Pretty sure you could place the "terrorism" definition on them as King Samir Shabazz, is quoted as saying “I would love nothing more than to come home with a cracker’s head in my book bag.” and has also says black people should create militias to exterminate whites, skin them alive, pour acid on them, sick pit bulls on them, bust their heads with rocks and even raid nurseries to “kill everything white in sight.” No one rolled a tank over him, so quit throwing these assholes under the ISIS/ISIL banner as terrorists when they are a bunch of blowhards, just like every other 1st amendment protected dick in the USA, like me. So simmer down now.
 

atomiktoaster

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But to be serious, replace the White "patriots" with Arabic Muslims and I'm about 300% certain the response from local, state and federal authorities would have been vastly different (and already over by now). Seems like domestic terrorism to me.

Honestly, if we're going to use a drone strike to kill Anwar al-Awlaki for stirring up hatred against America, I'm not sure what remaining justification there is to take a different course of action here. I'm open to hearing any (including "Oregon is not Yemen", which is worth pondering).
 

BiGGyT

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Honestly, if we're going to use a drone strike to kill Anwar al-Awlaki for stirring up hatred against America, I'm not sure what remaining justification there is to take a different course of action here. I'm open to hearing any (including "Oregon is not Yemen", which is worth pondering).

Are you honestly calling for the US Government to execute assholes in a shack with a Hellfire Missile without any due process?
 

BiGGyT

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I am okay with fart bombs and non-stop blasting of hot disco hits from the 70's if it would end it with out the blood that so many "tolerant" people seem to be calling for.
 

Anthony Martino

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I'd probably park a speaker truck outside the refuge and blast The Macarena on repeat until they surrendered or agreed to a dance off
 

DrStrange

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I do not like mandatory minimum sentences. I really don't like prosecutors applying terrorism statutes to domestic situations. I thought the judge's original sentences were properly thought out and reasonable if not a bit harsh. The USA is the prison capital of the world - not as nearly bad as Stalin, Mao or Hitler, but truly over the line for a nominal democracy. Not quite sure what the point is of a five year sentence for letting your fire get out of hand. Stupid? Yes! Criminal? Maybe to an extent? Worth ten percent of your adult life in the pen? No! {and I don't care much one way or the other about 'illegal hunting' on your own lands.} That being said, this protest is far more about federal control of lands than two over zealous prison sentences.

Let's not kid ourselves comparing the Oregon militias to other recent protests. No other group has be so well armed with the explicit threat to fire on law enforcement. There are ample examples of law enforcement using lethal force vs citizens presenting far less threat. But that is an indictment of excessive force by trigger happy cops not of too much restraint in Oregon. There appears to be a sizable and troubling difference in the offical response - we saw hundreds of militarized police with body armor, tanks, chemical weapons and high powered weapons deployed to deal with mostly unarmed protesters elsewhere in the nation but we see Oregon militia protesters left largely alone.

The authorities have given the situation two weeks to calm down. That didn't happen, if anything it became worse [ reinforcements came, resupply was allowed and the level of property destruction rose.] In other protests around the country, law enforcement because far more aggressive when property was damaged, stolen or destroyed. Hundreds were arrested and the remainder were dispersed. But in Oregon none of that happened. No arrests, no efforts to disperse the protesters.

I do not want to see a large scale assault of the National Wilderness Area, but I would expect the authorities to cut off reinforcements, restrict the supplies of food/water/power and make arrests where possible. We should want to avoid mass slaughters like what happened in Waco or Philadelphia. (note that I don't include Ruby Ridge.) We shouldn't see armed protesters shopping in town, getting dinner at the local diner or similar situations without them being disarmed and being held by the local authorities.

We should be clear about the risks. This is the second recent example of a militia protest where there were overt threats vs the government. Not idle threats, but ones made with the clear capability to carry them out. In the original Bundy protest we had the surreal moment on TV with the militia sniper preparing to fire on US special agents while giving an interview on national news - no charges, no arrests, nothing. In the Oregon protests, there are threats of snipers being in place but at least not being shown on TV. Sooner or later this is going to end up with a slaughter of law enforcement agents and/or the mass deaths of protesters. The Constitution provides for loud messy protests but not an armed insurrection like the Bundy stand-off or the Oregon protests. When officials do nothing if faced by 'armed to the teeth' protesters it encourages escalation. Let's hope Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter don't see how things go when everyone has a high powered rifle plus a brace of pistols and decide the next one of their protests is going to look like these in the West.

I don't want a mass shooting if avoidable. But I don't want to see everyone sent home without any consequences either. You shouldn't be able to threaten to murder the cops without at least some penalty. That isn't a minor crime, most places such actions would result in a hail of gun fire followed by a trial or funeral.

DrStrange
 

bergs

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If we let these guys inhabit a federal building on federal land whats to stop it from happening more frequently? And let's be clear about this - there was a response to the St. Louis riots but it was designed to minimize the damage and keep the peace as much as possible, and the Occupy movement wasn't violent or potentially violent at all. The guys in Oregon have guns and have made threatening statements about using them, and they're occupying federal land primarily because they want to pay grazing fees that hundreds (maybe thousands?) of other farmers and ranchers pay. And, the family that is taking over the building on federal land has a long history of doing this in the past. So they have carte blanche? What's next, an armed sit-in at the Senate chamber of the Congressional building?

As the good doctor said above, this --> "The Constitution provides for loud messy protests but not an armed insurrection like the Bundy stand-off or the Oregon protests. When officials do nothing if faced by 'armed to the teeth' protesters it encourages escalation. Let's hope Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter don't see how things go when everyone has a high powered rifle plus a brace of pistols and decide the next one of their protests is going to look like these in the West."
 
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These guys are lucky they're white. Imagine a similar Muslim-American protest, or a similar #blacklivesmatter protest? That's why this ridiculous racist propaganda coming from the GOP front-runner is so dangerous.
 

atomiktoaster

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Are you honestly calling for the US Government to execute assholes in a shack with a Hellfire Missile without any due process?

I'm more of the opinion that we shouldn't execute assholes in the desert with Hellfire missiles without due process, but since that's not a popular view, why are we making exceptions?
 

bergs

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I'm more of the opinion that we shouldn't execute assholes in the desert with Hellfire missiles without due process, but since that's not a popular view, why are we making exceptions?

Technically, speaking we only execute people in the desert with Hellfire missiles when it's a non-US desert.
 
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