Justin Raimondo, of antiwar.com and The American Conservative, wants people to look past the “both heroic and pathetic” anti-government group that’s taken over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Beyond a call for more snacks, tearful goodbye videos, and a lack of sympathy from both local law enforcement and a Native American tribe, Raimondo tells the story of Oregon ranchers and their fight against the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service:
…the federal officials who today preside over the refuge don’t remember or don’t care to recall that it was the ranchers who saved the land from being despoiled. Imbued with what can only be described as an imperialistic impulse, the feds have relentlessly sought to expand the refuge, using every method, legal and illegal, to drive them off the land.
In the 1970s the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) launched their campaign of conquest: ranchers were informed that grazing was inimical to wildlife and had to be reduced, if not eliminated. Out of a total of 53 permits, 32 were revoked; grazing fees were raised sky-high, and many ranchers were forced to give up their land. The irrigation system they had created and which had attracted birds and other wildlife to the area was appropriated by the refuge. While the original refuge established by Teddy Roosevelt included only Malheur Lake, and neither the rivers whose waters flowed into it nor most of the land surrounding it, today it covers some 187,000 acres, completely surrounding the Hammonds’ ranch.
Those who held on, including the Hammonds, were continually pressured to sell, but the hardscrabble ranchers—who had fought the developers, the state politicians, and the forces of nature to preserve their land and their way of life—were not about to surrender to an army of bureaucrats and the urban elites who ran the environmentalist lobby. Their answer was a firm: no way, no how.
Read the rest of the story at The American Conservative: What the Oregon Standoff is Really About
From The American Conservative comments section:
Very well written article explaining the full story. All of the main news organizations leave critical information out of course. They could still summarize, but make sure critical info is included. But they don’t. With the internet, its not that hard to research more details. But most people don’t do it. Especially if the details get a little complex. They like white and black. Good and bad. The twittersphere is of course loaded with these kinds of ignorant people. Enough of these sorry people who put meat in the grocery stores. Now back to the Kardashians and other more important subjects.
Hmmm… No mention that the Hammonds original indictment includes multiple incidences of arson and efforts to hinder firefighters. No mention of the death threats issued by the Hammonds to various government officials over the years. No mention that their neighbors freely call them habitual criminals – on the record. And an absurdly one-sided version of history in which ranchers are the angelic saviors of the environment, thwarted only by the big, bad federal government and never their own greed, inability to get along with others, or massive sense of entitlement.
This article is just as slanted as the ones it attacks, if not worse. The part where Mr. Raimondo condemns the “howling mob” on Twitter for using words like “arsonists” to describe arsonists should win some sort of award.
The funny thing is that I’m very sympathetic to criminal justice reform, I don’t think that these men should ever have been tried under terrorism statutes and I’m pretty opposed mandatory minimum sentencing.
But reading articles like this – written to attack people like me and spread a partisan viewpoint rather than to illuminate a complex issue – makes me far less sympathetic. The Hammonds are not sympathetic characters to begin with, and the more one learns the less there is to like. Being reminded that their most ardent supporters are intensely dogmatic partisans that pretty much hate people like me doesn’t help matter any.
Do you really think that if this land were sold at market value that families who’ve been farming it could afford it? Even if it was leased at market value? Their ‘way of life’ is dependent on government largesse, too; and their deeply-discounted lease rates reflect shared use.
The fires they set put fire fighters lives at risk. The forest service has methods and ways of doing controlled burns to combat invasive species. So that noble-hearted excuse for arson doesn’t sit too well with me, I have too many friends train and volunteer to fight forest fires.