Federal authorities are finally making their move against the heavily armed “militia” that has taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon. Wary of provoking a deadly shootout with the anti-government extremists, the feds are taking the appropriate and logical step to freeze them out, cutting off power, telephone lines, and road access to the militia redoubt.
An official in Washington remarked that “It’s in the middle of nowhere. And it’s flat-ass cold up there. After they shut off the power, they’ll kill the phone service. Then, they’ll block all the roads so that all those guys have a long, lonely winter to think about what they’ve done.” Temperatures are expected to plummet to 18 degrees Farenheit, with snowstorms expected over the next few days.
While the rebels have declared that they are prepared to stay there for the “long haul,” the Guardian was “shown a food storage room that did not look like it could sustain a dozen men for more than a few weeks.” A social media call by the militiamen for supporters around the country to “send snacks” would also indicate that they are not prepared for a long siege. Ironically, those snacks would have to be sent by the mail, which the federal government also controls.
It is unsurprisingly clear that these heavily armed fools with a very questionable understanding of what the Constitution actually says have not fully thought this out. Without more supplies or heat it is likely that they won’t last long. The local community has turned against them; the rancher who they came to defend has fully renounced them and have turned himself in to law enforcement.
Their “cause” makes no sense; they are clearly provoking a standoff just for the sake of it. We commend the federal government for finding an ingenious solution that will not give these zealots what they want – at the most, a soapbox for their idiotic attempts to resist federal authority, and at worst a martyr’s death.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.