Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Next Generation Bundy Ranch in Oregon

From a link by Roman on the standoff in Oregon. The mention of potential Bundy supporters called my attention.

By Gordon Friedman (USA Today) {

Burns is a small town of less than 3,000. There are only a couple of stoplights, and locals say the place to be for town gossip is the Safeway market. It's an oasis of sorts, nestled within a vast rural landscape. This is a different Oregon than Portland, or Eugene, or even Bend. This is the Oregon where men often wear cowboy hats and carry sidearms just out of habit.

Ladonna Baron, also a co-owner of the quilt store, said things in the town haven't been too bad since the occupation of the refuge, although it's pulled the community into different corners of the ring: some agree with the militia's tactics, or even want to join. Others think it's a fool's errand or a farce.

"We support our community," Baron said. "We support our ranchers. Personally, I feel what happened to the Hammonds was an injustice. But the militia is here on their own agenda." }

In general, it appears that, while the grievances are widely shared, there is less enthusiasm about the Bundy methods. Nevertheless, even a few dozens supporters in a town of 3,000 scales up to dozens of thousands of armed men nationwide who may join Bundy as he takes America's urban rural divide to the next level of confrontation.

It's safe to assume that from Bundy's perspective, he just repays the federal government in kind. If at Bundy Ranch the BLM tried to challenge the status quo by taking a forceful action against the family, in Oregon Bundy opened a new front against the authorities by challenging the status quo from his side through a takeover of federal facilities. The fact that he may count on some kind of local support means that next takeovers may involve dozens and hundreds of gunmen making attempts to dislodge the intruders virtually impossible. The lack of determined response by authorities in its turn would invite more copycat takeovers across the land.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Hammonds reportedly distanced themselves from the movement and opted instead for seeking clemency from president Obama. In case such presidential amnesty is coming, this would fuel suspicions about the authorities buying Hammonds with a behind the scenes deal to undermine the militia cause. Alternatively, Hammonds may change their mind if the presidential pardon doesn't come soon enough.

I should also notice environmental activists who argue for a tough federal action against the milia. In some respects environmentalism has grown into another American secular religion and it has its own share of fundamentalists. Besides it being a clash over land and resources, America's growing urban rural divide is very much a city/country culture war. The presence of radicals on both sides of it is one sure way to keep the show going.