January 7, 2016 – ChuckBaldwinLive.com
Let me be clear: the situation in Oregon does not remotely compare to the events that took place at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. In Nevada, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was the aggressor, which included a very real threat of violence against the Bundy family. The Bundy family appealed to their neighbors and friends for help. And help rightly arrived. The legal nuances of the Bundy situation notwithstanding, BLM gave the appearance of preparing another Waco incident that just could not be tolerated. Over 80 innocent Americans, including elderly men and women and small children, were murdered by our federal government during that unconscionable raid. There must NEVER be another Waco in this country.
The decision of Ammon Bundy (Cliven Bundy’s son)–and the men who are with him–to mount an armed takeover of the remote, empty Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building in Harney County outside Burns, Oregon, is unwise, careless, and downright foolish. There is no just cause for such action.
Previous to the move to take over the federal building, a peaceful protest in support of the Hammond family had taken place in Burns. This protest was commendable and well-conducted. Hundreds of local residents took part in that peaceful protest. The local community of Burns was very sympathetic to the plight of the Hammonds and rightly angered by the federal government’s treatment of them.
Dwight Hammond, Jr. and his son Steven had been arrested, tried, and convicted of arson for the burning of federal land that adjoins Hammond land. The Hammonds say they were burning their land for agricultural purposes and the fire inadvertently spread to federal land. The feds say the Hammonds burned the land to cover up poaching. The two men were found guilty by a jury and sentenced to five years in prison. A district court judge found the sentences to be excessive (and therefore unconstitutional) and sentenced the men to less time; but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the lesser sentence and the five year prison term was reinstated.