Ammon Bundy, the son of welfare rancher Cliven Bundy who was arrested during his father’s infamous standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, has a new hobby horse. He wants the residents of Burns, Oregon to let his militia buddies turn their town into a ‘safe zone’ against federal government authority — on behalf of people who no longer want his help.
Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father-son ranching duo who have already served time in prison along with other consequences for setting fires that spread to federally-owned acres, are due to face further incarceration after the federal government successfully appealed their sentences as too lenient.
Seeing a fresh opportunity to foment sedition, point guns at federal employees again, and draw attention to their fringe western uprising, the Bundy cult has now arrived in force to make its presence felt throughout the Harney Basin. But just like armed white power groups that try to make northwestern towns into fascist enclaves only to wind up becoming unwelcome ‘outsiders’ and the topic of documentaries, Ammon and his associates have evoked a strong negative reaction in the very community they supposedly want to ‘defend.’
Les Zaits tells the tale at The Oregonian. Consider Ammon Bundy’s fumbling attempts at local outreach:
Some residents have shown interest in the group’s cause.
Locals voted seven of their own onto a new Harney County Committee of Safety, including ranchers, a retired fire chief, and a tax preparer.
Payne and Bundy said the committee would decide how to address the Hammond conflict. But Bundy quickly created a website for the group and drafted a sharply-worded letter to the sheriff for the committee to issue.
Citizens on the committee said they authorized none of it.
Locals who were sympathetic to the Bundy gang’s ‘constitutional argument,’ or the Hammonds’ plight, have nevertheless not been interested in taking up arms against the United States. Who could have predicted that a potentially-bloody armed uprising would be so unpopular and controversial? Who could have predicted that militants who famously used women and children for human shields would not be all the rage in a small American community?
Ryan Payne, an officer at the Bundy Ranch standoff who openly brags about directing ‘patriots’ to aim their guns at BLM employees, is the insistent sort of person that ignores a hand-made ‘Go Home Bundys’ sign to knock on your door because he ‘wants to understand your concerns.’
One episode in particular has upset the community.
The sheriff said three militiamen and one woman, one with a gun strapped to his hip, engaged his 74-year-old mother and 78-year-old father at a yard sale being held at the American Legion. When the men criticized the sheriff, his mother bristled, and said she didn’t need their protection from the government.
Later, the men showed up at the sheriff’s office to complain about the exchange involving his mother.
She had, they said, threatened them.
That is your Cliven Bundy acolyte in a nutshell: heavily armed, terrified of contrary opinions, and utterly mystified that you don’t just love and respect them for wanting to ‘defend’ you.