On the EDge: Bundy militia in Oregon, homegrown terrorists

OPINION — What would happen if a group of heavily armed Muslim extremists took over a federal building in the United States?

How long would it take for the National Guard to be called out to take control? Seconds, I guarantee.

What would happen if a 12-year-old boy with a toy gun was confronted by police while walking near an inner city recreation center in a place like, oh, let’s say Cleveland?

Now, let’s also mention that the 911 caller told police that the young man was “probably” a juvenile and that it was fairly clear that the weapon was a toy.

That child was shot within two seconds of police arriving at the scene by a cop who had resigned from a smaller police department after being found unfit for duty and recommended for dismissal. Oh, yeah, even after decisive evidence, including video surveillance, a grand jury would clear that same cop of any criminal charges.

We’ve seen the police roll onto the scene with armored vehicles, automatic weapons and a host of other anti-personnel military weaponry in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, to use against protesters and media members.

So, why were a bunch of heavily armed white extremists allowed to take over a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, without much of a challenge?

And, in the name of all that is good and decent, why is the media whitewashing this thing by referring to these people as a “right-wing militia” group instead of calling them what they are: domestic terrorists?

It took no time for the media to describe the two killers in San Bernardino, California, as terrorists.

It took even less time for the media — even those news people not on the scene — to label the protesters in Ferguson and Baltimore as “thugs” and “criminals” way before the situation turned sour.


I think the answer to that is embarrassingly clear.

And, while we’re at it, I must stress that I am not advocating that the police or military should have rushed into that Oregon building and started killing its occupants, loosely called the “Bundy Militia.” Quite the contrary, I always hope cooler heads prevail.

But, I also see this as a bit of extremism equal to that of Middle East terrorists who are quite willing to become martyrs for their cause.

Of course we are familiar with this bunch from when they got into a standoff with the feds in Bunkerville, Nevada, when the feds came after Cliven Bundy for dunning the government on a $1 million tab he refused to pay for illegal grazing. Bundy’s son, Ammon, is the leader of the bunch that headed to Oregon to further its beef with the federal government.

The Bundys enlisted a crew of domestic terrorists to draw down on a federal law enforcement team two years ago when 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County, Nevada, were temporarily closed for the “capture, impound and removal of trespass cattle” belonging to the family that were allegedly grazing illegally on a parcel called the Bunkerville Allotment.

At first, Cliven Bundy became the poster child for the far right.

He masked his actions in language that resonated with a number of anti-government militia outfits who rushed to his aid, going as far as to take offensive sniper positions against federal officers who had come to shut down access to the land and confiscate Bundy’s cattle that had migrated onto it.

It was a bust, of course, when federal law enforcement officers moved away from the confrontation.

It didn’t let Bundy off the hook as he keeps adding to his tab instead of settling his bill. But, just to put matters into perspective, most ranchers pay their grazing bills.

According to a piece in Portland’s “Oregonian,” excluding Bundy’s bill, the total of all late grazing fees owed nationwide was a paltry $237,000. So, despite all the posturing and propaganda, ranchers weren’t terribly upset about grazing fees.

How it routed itself to Oregon is a result of protests over sentencing for Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond.

In 2012, the two men were convicted of arson for lighting fires on government rangeland in Oregon to cover poaching violations and were sentenced to a year or less in a federal prison. Federal prosecutors argued that the men should have received the mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

Last October, the government won its case and the men were ordered to report to a federal prison in San Pedro, California, Monday to serve the remainder of their sentences.

Protesters assembled in Burns, Oregon, over the weekend and while Hammond and his son seemed to appreciate the show of support, they backed away from endorsing the takeover of the reserve.

After a peaceful march through town, heavily armed militia members separated themselves from the protest and took over the nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building.

As a result, the refuge has been closed indefinitely and all land management agencies in the vicinity have been temporarily shut down, with employees being instructed to work from alternative sites or placed on administrative leave.

Officials have also closed the local school district until Jan. 11.

The bottom line is that we all can find reasons to be upset with the government, whether at the local, state or federal level.

We can all find a reason to protest, to feel as if we are not being represented.

But, is this ongoing feud with the government something that should result in repeated armed showdowns between these homegrown terrorists and the law?


There is no excuse or even remote bit of reasoning that can justify the actions of these disturbed minds.

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews@EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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  • BIG GUY January 5, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I agree, Ed. We are a country of laws. Those laws need to be enforced consistently or respect for government will be eroded. If these so-called militia members have broken the law–as the apparently have–they should be charged and tried.

    • Accountable January 5, 2016 at 9:29 am

      The laws are NOT enforced consistently which is the reason Americans have lost respect for the current government.

      The government charged the Hammonds as TERRORISTS, imprisoned them, and fined them $440,000 for causing fires on open land. The Hammonds served their time and paid their fines. During the first trial, the Hammonds were forced into signing an agreement which prohibited them from appealing the decision and gave the government first right of refusal to their remaining land — and then the government appealed. And, again, the Hammonds surrendered, as instructed, for the second malicious sentencing. Notwithstanding the deceptive and blatant abuse of the legal system by the government, the Hammonds still honored the law.

      This same government has continually allowed Black Lives Matter TERRORISTS and their ilk to destroy innocent people’s lives, property and businesses, as well as that of our towns and cities, with impunity. I again challenge you to name even one of those thugs that the government has charged, imprisoned, and made to pay restitution for the destruction they have caused.

      So, yes, the government’s actions against this family have caused citizens to finally stand up and pay attention to the inequities and abuse perpetrated by the government.

      Ed Kociela’s article is a clear example of yellow journalism.

      • anybody home January 5, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        You really need to acquaint yourself with the full story on the Hammonds. There’s a lot more to it than you’ve reported here. And you’re overlooking the fact that the Hammonds themselves said they were willing to serve the additional time because as the senior Hammond said, “we did some things that were wrong.” Please stop writing as if the Hammonds were innocent pawns in the Federal game. They were not. And they have the humility to admit it.

        • Accountable January 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm

          Of course there’s a lot more to it — are you actually suggesting I regurgitate (“report”) all of the case history in this comment section? Each person is responsible for conducting their own research and, subsequently, reaching their own conclusions (I’ve posted mine here).

          Now, on to your statements. Post the sources for the quotes you’ve attributed to the Hammonds. I find it amusing that you did not address my opinions on the government’s criminally inconsistent enforcement of laws and violations of civil rights, which have been paramount in the Hammonds’ experiences. And, low and behold, Obama has conveniently provided evidence of my assertions by announcing an executive order on guns. The government plans to subvert the legislative branch and violate our constitutional and civil rights. Sound familiar?

          The Hammonds’ attorneys released these statements (you can easily find them using google): “as the Hammonds have previously stated, they will be WILL BE reporting to the United States Bureau of Prisons today to serve their sentences.” “Dwight and Steven Hammond respect the rule of law,” the statement continues. “They have litigated this matter within the federal courts for over five years and, in every instance, have followed the order of the court without incident or violation. That includes serving the entire sentences imposed in this case by the judge who heard the evidence at trial and who concluded that imposition of a five-year sentence under these circumstances would ‘shock the conscience.'”

          Dwight Hammond has stated: “Remember, this is not about me. This is about our country.”

      • Laura January 11, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        Amen Accountable, you have nailed this piece as yellow Journalism that is exactly what it is. The biggest difference between what is happening in Oregon and what has occurred in other states is that the Oregon occupiers are doing no more than a glorified sit in. No one has been harmed they have committed to harming no one, unless they are defending themselves. They chose an unoccupied and non dangerous area so civilians would not be impacted by their actions. They are not committing crimes against other property owners or civilian businesses or assaulting other demonstrators. They are not committing crimes that will amount to millions in property damage. This author needs to get a grip on reality.

    • observer January 5, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      2 Questions were presented to Supreme Court; they denied the Petition. Bringing about unanswered questions in our US laws. Ruling factors for the 4th Circuit (since 1991) were expressly rejected by the 9th Circuit (who oversaw this case). Isn’t our constitutional freedoms based on the entire US? and not only within our state’s Circuit? Laws were not enforced consistently; if they had been this entire case would have been unknown to most and a moot point. Respect was eroded.

      Here’s the link, followed by the 2 questions (in quotes) that the Supreme Court refused to review.


      “The first question presented is:
      Under what circumstances does the Eighth Amendment
      authorize a district court to impose a sentence
      less than the statutory mandatory minimum?
      Since 1991, the Fourth Circuit has held, based on
      fairness and finality, that a waiver of appeal by a
      criminal defendant precludes a government appeal as
      well. In this case, despite defense counsels’ statements
      to the trial judge right before the waiver that
      their clients expected the case to be over after sentencing,
      the Ninth Circuit has expressly rejected the
      Fourth Circuit’s rule.
      The second question presented is:
      Does a criminal defendant’s waiver of appeal
      rights made in an agreement to resolve a case also
      prohibit an appeal by the government? “

      • observer January 6, 2016 at 8:51 am

        On May 23, 2011 the Supreme Court ruled on a landmark case – Plata vs Gov. Brown in which the inmates at CDCR sued the state, et al. The huge overhaul of the prison system began. The BOP has made some changes of their own and President Obama has visited a federal prison this year. Fed inmates serve 85% of their sentence, no parole, and there are credits one can earn. The President can pardon an inmate, if he feels the sentence was too harsh.

        I expect the boys on the inside will honor these two ranchers, in that they fought for two very important legal challenges. No different than the inmates in the case above. Especially since the prosecution system is set up to “win” via a plea agreement, which involves an agreement between both the prosecutors and the defendant. In Hammonds cases, the prosecutors reneged on that promise.

        In the Hammonds 2001 case, the dear hunters were a father/son team from Utah. The so called “terrorists” wearing ranch attire, are also Mormons. The Mormon church knows exactly what is at stake, if they don’t condemn these actions. First it’s a direct reflection of their members, and the church relies heavily on Fed funds and members’ tithe. Without the first, they hold no political power; without the second they would fold.

        As many Americans are staring at their cellphones, addicted to social media, and typing posts to “feel better” about their own baggage, the real “terrorists” and “refuges” are buying up our land, infiltrating our government, controlling our stock market, and eventually will have what they want – complete control of US soil.

      • Accountable January 6, 2016 at 9:02 am

        Thank you for providing this Observer! The prosecution/government manipulated the defendants into signing away their right to appeal with the knowledge the government would be allowed to subvert due process. How was this blatant violation/abuse of their civil liberties allowed to stand?

        A significant part that same agreement not to appeal was that the Hammonds were forced to give the government Right of First Refusal on the sale of their property. The government’s prosecution of the Hammonds is known as a “slapp suit” — which is a strategic lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. The government exploited this case for malicious, vindictive, and strategic purposes which in this case was to obtain the land that the Hammonds own. Once the Hammonds are forced to sell their property and water rights, the government (as intended) will finally attain their ranch for pennies on the dollar and complete the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Why wasn’t this agreement declared null and void once the government appealed?

        Did you know that the government also used this malicious prosecution to strip Dwight Hammond of his pilot’s license and conduct raids of the Hammonds’ properties where they confiscated their firearms? A ranch in the middle of nowhere with no firearms … ?

        In my opinion, the Hammonds have a hell of a case against the government.

        • observer January 6, 2016 at 11:18 am

          Yes the Hammonds do. The minute they stepped into that prison for their re-sentence – the harm/injury aspect in a civil case begins…. In the meantime, someone needs to create a donation account to the Hammonds ranch Inc and fund the ranch until the men are back home. Signing the Petition doesn’t accomplish, what a “NOT FOR SALE” sign does.

          Now it’s their attorneys’ job to pick apart that ROFR. There are many ways to do that, including rendering it void or invalid due to the “intent” in which it was signed. There are more creative ways that I will not discuss on here.

          The blatant violation/abuse of their civil liberties was allowed to stand, because this is an “inside job”. I believe civil will change all that.

  • jaybird January 5, 2016 at 7:44 am

    So agree with you, Ed. Each and every one of them should be arrested. The problem is that would not change their ignorant thinking. Perhaps if the local police arrested them and held them in state pens?

  • native born new mexican January 5, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Ed I am ashamed of your poor journalism. Why are you spreading propaganda? The Hammonds did not set fires on the kings/BLM land. They got permission to set them on their own land to clear trees. The government does that same thing all the time and the burns get out of control and do great damage. I know that personally Ed. The Hammonds were never charged with poaching. They have no court charges for that. Why are you further inflaming this situation by spreading those kind of false hoods. If you don’t have the police reports of which there are none then leave it alone. You want to see things be peaceful than tell the truth and stop starting fires of your own. The Hammonds already went to federal prison for this accident burning of some BLM /kings land. They did no violent crime. Their control burn accidentally went where it shouldn’t. OH and the BLM was going to do burning of it’s own any way. No harm no foul. Go fairly read what actually happened before you write columns like this full of inflammatory non truths. Would you please ask the government when EPA officials are going to federal prison for poisoning the drinking water of many poor people in my state. That caused REAL harm!

    • 42214 January 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Lack of facts and police reports don’t seem to stop you from spewing your propaganda and blind support for anything anti BLM. You lack any credibility with your WOE IS ME rhetoric and BS stories. Why don’t have some guts and go to Burns to show your support. Put up or shut up cry baby.

    • theone January 5, 2016 at 9:20 am

      ?, I’m giving you one of my question marks to put at the end of the sentence you phrased as a question. Not sure where you get your info from, but you’re way off base with the facts. They were in fact convicted of arson on federal land from eyewitness testimony. They committed the crime they were convicted of. They are just a bunch of delusional homegrown terrorists.

      • Rainbow Dash January 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

        Native gets his info from the voices in his head and his Bishop.

        • .... January 6, 2016 at 5:35 am

          Well he gets his info from the voices in his bishops head !

      • native born new mexican January 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

        The eye witness was 13 years old at the time and has mental problems Theone. Try again. The Hamonds never denied they set a fire on their own land that accidentally burned over onto BLM/ kings land. They got permission to burn and they were told the BLM/ king was going to burn also. No harm was done; zero! Would you please ask the government when the EPA officials are going to federal prison for poisoning the drinking water of the poor people in my state? (used a question mark)
        Maybe if both you and Ed ask them nicely you will get an answer.

        • 42214 January 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          So let me get this straight Native Born, you’re saying you were the eye witness?

        • theone January 5, 2016 at 12:29 pm

          A little further down I posted a link to the court documents which will educate you on the facts and show your facts to be false.

    • anybody home January 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      You are another one who defends the Hammonds when even they themselves admit they were wrong. They did a few other things, too, that don’t fly and have the humility to admit it. I have a feeling you were not in Burns, Oregon, when all this happened and are simply spouting the party line. Ed is writing a true piece. You and your conspiracy theorist pals are the ones spreading falsehoods. The Bundy gang should get the h*** out of Oregon. They are not wanted there.

  • Who January 5, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Ed, You weren’t very clear as to who you’re mad at this time but, once again you’re all talk and no action. Why don’t you start a effort to reclaim our (And every other state’s) land back from the federal government. We would all be willing to come to a peaceful AND fair agreement on grazing fees, OHV use, etc.
    As it is you are just another talking head.

  • .... January 5, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I can’t wait to see what mesaman writes. LOL ! get ready for a laugh

  • NotSoFast January 5, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Compelling closing arguments if you just want a conviction and don’t want all the evident to be heard. Reminds me of the case for total gun control in the USA. I realize you only have only so much time to pin an article Ed, but take the time do a decent, compelling, factual article next time. Pick upon line 2 on your phone Ed, – Black Lives Matters Org. is requesting your services.

    • .... January 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Hey Notsosmart crawl back into your stupid jail cell idiot. it’s not illegal to be stupid but its your God given right to be stupid. have a nice day stupid

    • .... January 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Notsosmart. hey stupid pick up your phone .Stupid Lives Matter Org is on line 2 . you qualified as their poster boy…have a nice day stupid

  • Curtis January 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Very educational Ed. I did not realize those living in thirteen British colonies in the 1770s were domestic terrorists.

  • tcrider January 5, 2016 at 9:51 am

    well written, very informative article, it couldn’t be further from truth. These people are nothing but home grown terrorists trying to get free land by pointing their assault rifles at the u.s. government.
    There is nothing heroic about seizing federal property with assault rifles, The hostile actions that the bundies repeatedly try to demonstrate, may end up in a cloud of gun smoke, and the spouses and relatives will be left behind with the humiliation and history of their very stupid actions.

  • theone January 5, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Here’s the court documents of the case, and they clearly spell out the crimes committed. For those of you defending these jerks you will find the real facts that supersede the made up facts you’re proclaiming. http://landrights.org/or/Hammond/Hammond_superseding-indictment%20May%2017%202012.pdf

  • Frank January 5, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Well Ed, you have just proved your ignorance to the constitution and your liberal mindset of totalitarian control of the masses. Before you blab your liberal mouth off maybe you should actually do some research before you try and sway the masses with your illicit ramble of dividing the people. 1st off, where do you get off they are heavily armed and have seized a federal building? Media has shown 1 man with a pistol on his side and another with a knife in his rear pocket. That is not heavily armed. As far as taking control of a federal building would supposed there was some type of forced entry and violence. Since all they did was drive to a remote location 50 miles out of town and park in a “public” parking lot and “walk” into a public visitors center that was empty does not make it seizure. And since the fbi has said the only charge so far “if” pressed would only be tresspassing, I’d say stuff your liberal agenda up your arse.
    According to the Constitution we are allowed a redress of grievances. Since you apparently no nothing about all the cattle that the BLM, which is by the way, not a federal agency but is a foreign corporation, has burned, the houses they have burned, the land they have purposely burned, the ranches they have purposely shut down by either burning them out or illegally pushing them out, or the part of the constitution that says the Federal Govt is not allowed to own state property without the consent of the states legislature and supposed to pay for the land and are only allowed to own 10 miles square total and have to only use it to erect bunkers, magazines or military structures Id say your pretty much a fascist and not better than any other terrorist yourself with your contempt of the truth. Quit giving opinions and start stating facts. Oh and by the way, this is not Bundys militia. Bundy is from Nevada. most of the folks here are locals, ranchers, other state members. All just normal citizens pissed off at the ever encroaching illegal Gov’t land grabs. Maybe you should go look at the video of the BLM burning the entire area killing cattle and burning houses and fence lines and corrals and the grazing land the week after the hammonds were sentenced for starting a backfire to stop the BLM from burning their farm down. People like make me sick. And one more thing, If the muslims took over a federal building to make a redress of a broken constitutional law we would stand with them. But comparing a “Federal Building” which makes people think of a downtown large building occupied with several hundred folks rather than the small cabin 50 miles in the middle of nowhere like this one is where no one is around is a pretty cheap and irresponsible attempt to sway the liberal masses.

    • anybody home January 5, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Frank, you are spouting nonsense. The Bundy gang is an insurrectionist bunch of yahoos who are not wanted in Oregon (and likely no place else except Utah or Nevada). Stop making stuff up and get a grip. Better yet, get the truth.

    • theone January 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Rambling delusion. Seriously friend try to be more than a conspiracy theorist.

    • Curtis January 5, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Excuse me Frank, but how is the BLM not a Federal agency but a foreign corporation ??

  • Jeff January 5, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Why is the left so quick to throw around the word “terrorism” now? These guys are hardly terrorists. Are the “occupy wall street” members terrorists? What about “black lives matters” members? They all took over various locations in demonstration/protest….

    I’m not saying these guys arent breaking the law, nor that they shouldnt be arrested, and I agree that there are better ways to communicate your point…. but terrorism? Come on now….

    • tcrider January 5, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      why are you so quick to label everything you don’t agree with as being left, you try and make it sound like everything that isn’t fear based moronic right wing bs as being left wing. Believe it or not there are a lot of independents that have a view or opinion that isn’t based by either left or right. Although the right wings opinions about gun control are utterly ridiculous, or do not make any sense.
      The real difference with the bundy idiots, is that they are getting preferential treatment because they are white trash.
      What will really satisfy me, is if the feds start treating these thugs, as if they are the same as muslims or blacks.

      • Jeff January 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

        “why are you so quick to label everything you don’t agree with as being left”

        because “the left” are the ones I see calling them terrorists…… has nothing to do with my disagreeing with them.

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    i’d like to see mass rallies to get rid of the scourge of illegals and take back the country. these boys are just putting on a useless sideshow. my bet is it lands a few of them in prison this time

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 5, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    public land is also a good thing. why don’t the go and protest the corrupt Jewish controlled wall-street banking establishment

  • anybody home January 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Ammon and Ryan Bundy must be trying to prove to daddy how brave they are. There’s little other reason for them to go trooping up to Oregon, butt into something that’s none of their business (the Hammonds have already surrendered and are in jail in San Pedro), and spout off to the press about the high-quality reasons they’ve invaded Oregon. Which they have. The people of Oregon want them gone, but they’re by golly, gonna stand like the brave (give me a break) militia guys they are. The photos show a mostly overweight, over the hill, bunch of guys living a fantasy. They also fantasize about sleeping with Playboy models and that’s about as likely as becoming “heroes” in Oregon.

    Good column, Ed. It’s always fun when you poke the yahoos and they come flying out like drunken wasps, flying every direction and making no sense.

  • knobe January 6, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Given that Bundy hit up the taxpayers to back a 1/2 Million dollar $$$$$$ loan
    And NOW wants taxpayers to provide More in terms of land ,
    The Word that comes to mind is PARASITE !

    Bundy is one big parasite soaking regular working taxpayers .
    But he is daddy’s son . . .
    I’m not counting on him acting honorably any time soon .


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