As the armed occupation of a federal building by the Bundy “militia” drags into its fourth day, the patience of federal authorities is running thin. Given the lack of prosecution behind the Cliven Bundy standoff, which the government forsook in favor of saving lives, these men believe they will receive the same leniency – but that appears to not be the case this time around.
Sheriff David Ward told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the FBI “is handling a criminal case against the armed men occupying the refuge since Saturday, and has told Ward that the men will face charges. The sheriff still believes a peaceful resolution to the conflict is possible. They have an opportunity right now to work towards a better solution, and not face further charges.”
The Sheriff demanded that the mainstream media and the rest of America’s delusional “Constitutionalists” stop supporting the militants, especially since the community of Burns, Oregon, which has been forced to close I think if one person gives them a Snickers bar, they’re going on national media and claiming that the community supports them,” he said. “If you’re giving them support, you’re just prolonging the situation. Further attention is what these folks are seeking. I think the more attention we give to them, the more rhetoric we’re going to hear, or the longer this might draw out.”
ThinkProgress reports that “federal law and regulations provide a variety of ways for the federal government to go after the occupiers.” The federal government is has a fine line to tread; while they cannot let these insurgents get away scott-free, a severe punishment would make them into martyrs and prove to other militias around the country that the federal government is indeed punishing them and further deepening their paranoia. Of course, if that paranoia is strong enough to provoke them into taking arms, perhaps it is too late and a show of force is needed.
In either case, they aren’t walking away from this.
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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.