The comedy of errors that is playing out at the militant-held Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon has just gotten funnier. Law enforcement have made their first arrest of one of the self-styled “militiamen” when he used a federal vehicle to drive to a local grocery store, likely in search of critical snack supplies.
Kenneth Medenbach, a sixty-two year old man from Crescent, Oregon, was arrested by local authorities for “probable cause for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.” Two vehicles that the insurgents had stolen from the refuge were seized by local troopers; they had clumsily placed “Harney County Resource Center” stickers over top the Fish & Wildlife logos that had previously marked the vehicles. Apparently the “Harney County Resource Center” is the name that the militants have given to their new base.
Unfortunately for Medenbach, this is not his first brush with law enforcement. He had been previously convicted in 1995 for squatting on federal lands and booby-trapping his camp, and had a warrant out for a similar crime in 2015. He is deemed a danger to other for his “intimidation” tactics and willingness to use violence:
“Medenbach had attempted to protect his forest campsite with fifty to a hundred pounds of the explosive ammonium sulfate, a pellet gun, and what appeared to be a hand grenade with trip wires. The government also proffered evidence that Medenbach had warned Forest Service officers of potential armed resistance to the federal government’s continued control of the forest lands in question.”
This is just the latest chapter in an increasingly bizarre story. While the trials and tribulations of the Harney County Resource Center and their band of bumbling fools make for amusing entertainment, the obstinate refusal to recognize the legality of the federal government and their state willingness to use violence to get their way is a very disturbing development that cannot be tolerated.
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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.