Bulldozers And Baloney

So, remember in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy how Ford Prefect managed to get Arthur Dent away from lying down in front of a bulldozer that was trying to tear down Arthur’s house by convincing the bulldozer driver that Arthur didn’t really need to be physically there wallowing in the mud, and that if the wrecking crew just assumed Arthur was going to be there and wasn’t actually there, then the bulldozer guys didn’t actually have to be there either and everyone could go down to the pub and have a pint (which is what Ford and Arthur did)?

Yeah, it’s apparently exactly like that in Oregon.

“Right now, they are allowed to come and go as they want,” says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Oregon State police.

The unknown number of militia men involved in the stand off are calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. The group sent an alert message to supporters Monday asking for snacks as they are holed up in the refuge center, but authorities confirm that they are free to drive to the grocery store and pick up snacks.

Fugate says that to his knowledge, law enforcement are “not monitoring what they are doing.”

“We are not monitoring their movements,” Fugate says.

Because, officer, it’s vitally important that we go to the right now and have a few stiff ones, you see, and you can just assume we’re occupying the place and we’ll get some Funyuns and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos while we’re out and then hey, we return the favor and you guys can grab some beers once we get back, see?

Hey, why not. Pretty sure General Washington would have agreed to the whole thing too.






128 replies
  1. 1
    AnotherBruce says:

    Justice, how does it fucking work.

  2. 2
    kc says:

    Seems like just yesterday I read a post on this very blog quoting a news story asserting that the power would be cut off and the roads blocked.

    Why can’t the media get the damn story straight?

  3. 3
    Fred Fnord says:

    “I don’t see what everyone is so riled up about. These are the same guys that we have mostly let do whatever they want for decades. Every few years one of the thousands of them goes a little too far and we have to pretend to punish them, but on the whole they are Real Americans so they can do what they want. Now suddenly they are all upset and everyone else is all upset and it’s threatening this entire lassez-faire system. What is the DEAL here?”

  4. 4

    I think Washington might have done what the police are doing now, which is laughing at these nutjobs and ignoring them*. They are being given the ultimate indignity – they’re not even being taken seriously as a nuisance, much less a threat. The rebellions Washington had to deal with were rather more dangerous.

    I did not anticipate this ‘The kooks up at the bird station? Who cares?’ tactic, but I’m rapidly warming to the idea.

    EDIT – Upon further thought, didn’t local police say they weren’t equipped to evict, and just wanted to keep the peace? Which these idiots are not threatening. It’s the feds who are making plans to cut power. Although I confess, I’m kind of digging the ‘ignore them like the whiny toddlers they are’ tactic.

  5. 5
    kc says:

    “We are not monitoring their movements,” Fugate says.

    Awesome, they can bring in some more children to serve as tiny human shields.

  6. 6
    MattMinus says:

    This is the culmination of the ammosexuals political project. Every angry white man with a gun is a law unto himself!

  7. 7
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I did not anticipate this ‘The kooks up at the bird station? Who cares?’ tactic, but I’m rapidly warming to the idea.

    In light of all the videos we’ve seen recently of unarmed black guys being gunned down, I’m having a real hard time warming up to this idea.

    Not that I want the Oregon goobers to be gunned down, but god damn, this is just galling.

  8. 8
    pat says:

    Sounds like the ultimate humiliation.

    Ignore them and they will go away…..

  9. 9
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Bet they haven’t cut the power either.

    Well, the United States had a good run there.

  10. 10
    Geeno says:

    Well Ol’ George was known to like his drink.

  11. 11

    @kc:
    Yes, it is, but the thing is, we want the blacks to be treated with decency, not the whites treated more harshly. We’re liberals. We don’t go in for this ‘only the deserving get decent treatment’ shit. That’s the conservatives’ refrain.

  12. 12
    Davebo says:

    I try to believe, because I have to believe, that there’s far more to this than we, or obviously the press knows.

    Because honestly, people in positions of authority can’t really be this fucking stupid right?

  13. 13
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Sorry, WHAAAT!! Unless I have completely lost my ability to read and comprehend English, are you saying that the Oregon LEOs are basically allowing them to squat on this public property without any interference whatsoever? And also resupply themselves as much as they want?

    Jeebus! Next the local cops will offer to run their errands for them and chop wood for their Friday night bonfire.

    I can name a few other groups of people who would love to receive this kind of kid glove treatment from the authorities. And yes, once again we are asked to believe it has nothing to do with their manly whiteness and political slant.

  14. 14
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: There is just a little problem with this tactic. Like for instance the Burns community is on edge and these psychos are heavily armed. What if one of them goes into town and shoots the sheriff? I don’t think that Oregon’s lax handling is going to go over very well. Oh, and they have committed multiple felonies. Doesn’t that merit at least a little oversight of these loons? Jesus what a country we live in. It’s becoming as corrupt as any strong arm tinhorn dictatorship.

  15. 15
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @pat: like Clive? That’s worked really well, hasn’t it?

    Actually the Feds have been ignoring the Hammonds’ law breaking at this refuge for decades. TPM has the details. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

  16. 16
    Steve in the ATL says:

    What specific crimes could these clowns be charged with? Trespassing, where conviction results in a small fine? Have they done enough for some type of sedition charge?

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    @NorthLeft12: Hey, the ‘occupiers’ haven’t actually killed anyone yet. So, it’s all cool, right? And besides, they can now take their karaoke machine down to the bar and sing ‘Let It Go’.

  18. 18

    A colossal failure of craft. This makes the local law enforcement look incompetent, foolish, and complicit, in that order. Insofar as the FBI are involved, they cannot help appearing to be deferring, to some extent, to the views and wishes of the locals (just think if they weren’t), which then makes the FBI look incompetent, foolish, and complicit.

    They shouldn’t be thinking about resolving this situation.

    They should be thinking about resolving the next one.

    (All of which said, it no longer matters how this one plays out, as too much time has gone by. If they weren’t pulled out of there within the first twelve hours, it doesn’t matter what happens after that.)

  19. 19
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I believe I said that I didn’t want to see these goobers get shot.

    On the other hand, it would be cool if they faced SOME consequences for serial law breaking and threatening to shoot LE officers.

    Their supporters pointed high powered rifles at LEOs at the Bundy Ranch two years ago and got away with it. Not only did they not get shot, no one even got arrested. They used arms and the threat of violence to cow the federal government and they GOT AWAY WITH IT. Nothing happened. NOTHING, to this day.

    But let some black guy steal toilet paper out of a CVS during a protest, and the local cops won’t rest until they’ve tracked him down and made an example out of him.

  20. 20
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: there’s decent treatment and there’s cooperation/incompetence. Remind me never to let you manage a hostage situation.

  21. 21

    @AnotherBruce:
    You are giving these idiots too much respect for being dangerous. The place they’re trying to connect is miles away from anyone they can shoot, and they’ve already shown that they won’t respond violently to contempt leveled at them by townsfolk. Being ignored by the sheriff makes them less likely to shoot him, not more. The whole point of this tactic is that they’re only dangerous if you give them the siege they want. Again, they want to be removed with force. That’s the whole point of this exercise. Why give them that dignity?

  22. 22
    Waldo says:

    I kinda like this strategy: Let the lack of conflict bore them into submission. Pretty crafty, Oregon.

  23. 23
    Felonius Monk says:

    Maybe the Shitheads for FreeDumb will launch a snack attack and catch everyone off guard.

  24. 24

    @Bobby Thomson:
    There are no hostages here. That’s part of the point.

  25. 25
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: yep

  26. 26
    kc says:

    @Frank Wilhoit:

    Hell, they should have known before these assholes even seized the refuge. This has been brewing for a while, in the open. On Facebook and everything.

    I guess the goddamn feds were too busy reading Deray’s Twitter feed.

    This really has me livid, in case you can’t tell ….

  27. 27
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: removal with force isn’t the current issue. You’re advocating providing them aid and comfort. You can’t even starve them out if you’re just going to let them come and go as they please.

    Now if this is just a trap to get them to leave, wouldn’t be my choice but I could understand it. But I don’t think that’s what’s going on.

  28. 28

    @kc:
    The feds have been quietly arresting the guys from the Bundy ranch standoff one by one. Bundy himself has been smart enough to stay holed up. Compare how many supporters Clive got to the pathetic dozen here. The strategy isn’t working all that bad.

    Also, you know what stirs up militias and makes them more violent? Violently putting down other militias. They feed on that. They’re a lot like Daesh in this regard. They want a war.

  29. 29
    pat says:

    I don’t remember where I read it, but this is tied in with all the Koch brothers nonsense and has been ratcheting up for some years. Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, both run by and for the Kochs, who want to see all public land turned into private hands for resource extraction (timber, mining.)

    I agree it would be great if the government took it more seriously, especially after the goons who bragged about having government officials in their gunsights.

    I mentioned in a dead thread yesterday that one reason not to turn off the heat might be the prospect of serious damage to the buildings when the pipes freeze.

    And let’s not kid ourselves, there is no easy way to turn out a bunch of goons with guns. Maybe they can pick them up one by one as they go to the Pump’n’Munch for more slimjims.

    edit: looks like others might feel the same way. Now to finish reading….

  30. 30

    @Bobby Thomson:
    ‘Giving them aid and comfort’ and ‘ignoring them’ are not the same thing. The message is that they’re not getting the armed confrontation they want. It’s not that bad a tactic. They’re going to feel like fucking idiots if they make grocery runs and then go back and sit in their little visitors’ center and the cops don’t think they’re worth bothering with.

  31. 31
    sigaba says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The feds have been quietly arresting the guys from the Bundy ranch standoff one by one.

    Is there any documentation on this? I’ve heard it before but I haven’t seen any reports on it.

    Naturally handling all this “quietly” has the side-effect of giving everyone the impression the criminals won the standoff and there are no consequences.

  32. 32
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: for all practical purposes, there are. They brought family members in to serve the same purpose.

    In any negotiation, you don’t allow your opponent to reduce costs without giving something up.

  33. 33
    Gindy51 says:

    These same idiots have been stalking and harassing the employees of the Fish and Wildlife Department and BLM folks:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....S_Families

  34. 34
    MattMinus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Pretty sure breaking and entering is a felony. I’d bet that doing so while armed is an aggravating factor.

  35. 35
    Bob In Portland says:

    Snowed up there last night.

  36. 36
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: no. A good tactic is “you wanna leave? Fine, but you’re not coming back. Otherwise you can lose a few pounds.” Not this R&R bullshit. That’s not “armed confrontation.” It’s having a fucking clue.

  37. 37

    @Bobby Thomson:
    Think in terms of what they’re trying to get. They’re not trying to get the building. They don’t want the building and don’t want the land. They’re trying to get attention. In fact, they’re trying to get violent attention, to start a war. That is the purpose and ideal of militias. Letting them come and go is making them give up some of what they want.

  38. 38
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I don’t think that the local, or feds for that matter, police are planning on dealing with them “harshly”, but they should be treated like the criminals that they are. These yahoos broke into locked buildings and have taken over this area, threatening anyone who attempts to mess with them with their considerable firepower.

    Now if they just occupied the area, sleeping in tents and were unarmed, I could understand them being treated like most protest groups are. This is completely different from the Occupy movement, Environmental protestors, BLM, and Aboriginal groups over the last five years or so.

  39. 39
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: So we should make life as convenient as possible for them then? I’m not advocating shooting them (unless they shoot first) But can we at least take some steps to insure that they will be run out of the building ASAP. They are criminals, why give them aid and comfort? Because that’s what the Oregon police are doing. Hey, maybe we should just let them go home. Nothing could possibly go wrong in the near future, right?

  40. 40

    @AnotherBruce:
    Letting them go home and arresting them there is the optimal solution, as far as law enforcement is concerned.

  41. 41
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Also, you know what stirs up militias and makes them more violent? Violently putting down other militias

    .

    You keep saying stuff like that as if anyone in this thread has advocated putting them down violently. I haven’t seen that.

  42. 42

    @kc:
    I’m saying that ignoring them discourages them. It takes them farther from getting what they want.

    EDIT – And not just these guys, but other nutcases going forward. They want to be able to point to a siege, not a dozen guys who sat in a building, got bored, and had to go home because nobody took them seriously.

  43. 43
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    They have repeatedly stated they plan to stay there for a long time. Which will be real easy for them to do, with them being free to go buy supplies and have their supporters bring truckloads of supplies in there.

  44. 44

    Ignoring these yahoos is the best strategy. Its not like they have seized the Golden Temple. Indira Gandhi went in with guns blazing. The aftermath was not pretty. Whatever the authorities do, they need to be careful.

    ETA: Deny them martyrdom and publicity both.

  45. 45
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: bullshit. Letting them come and go does nothing to deprive them of attention and actually makes it easier for them to coordinate with outside support, including the media. Not letting them come and go gets some ridiculously unprepared yahoos to give up, which is the ultimate attention killer.

  46. 46

    @kc:
    Their supporters have so far failed to materialize, and are much less likely to materialize if there’s nothing exciting going on.

  47. 47
    jl says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Since the ‘what would Washington do’ question came up, I took a look at the wiki to refresh my memory.

    Whiskey Rebellion
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion#Meeting_at_Whiskey_Point

    Seems to me that the federal government let some outrageous stuff go on for over a year, and waited until the insurrectionists assaulted a federal tax agent and forced him to resign his commission at gunpoint. I thought they destroyed a government building too, but don’t see that in the article.

    So, taxes went uncollected for over a year, radical group took over local militia, and tried to set up an extra legal court system and used intimidation to try to quash civil court cases.

    And even after a federal tax collector was assaulted, some historians accuse the feds of ‘provoking’ the situation. So, the more things change…

    I heard an interview with the local sheriff who said he has spent at total of 8 hours trying to talk sense into the Burns freedom occupiers, and I have to suspend judgment since I figure they have a lot more information about the prospects for these people holding out than outsiders do. My theory is that they are unprepared goofballs, though other commenters disagree. But I may have been mistaken when I typed yesterday that it was spur of the moment. A news report said these guys decided to take over the visitor center between three or four days and a week beforehand and had that time to prepare. So on day two they are begging for socks and snacks?

    Big question is when will CNN start its stakeout, and would we rather see Anderson Cooper interviewing the revolutionists coming and going from town and asking if he can look into their shopping bags to see what kind of candy bars they bought, or do more stressful reports of a siege at a greater distance about how a fed got out of his car and walked over to talk to another fed, and that, this time, something might happen soon…

    Whatever gives the best chance of it winding down peacefully is best, as long as the ringleaders do face charges. Will get really tricky if other groups decide to come in and give support.

  48. 48
    Felonius Monk says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    Because that’s what the Oregon police are doing.

    IANAL, but I don’t believe the Oregon Police have any jurisdiction here -– it’s a Federal facility. The only thing the Oregon Police can do is protect the citizens outside the boundaries of the wildlife refuge and enforce the law within their own jurisdiction.

  49. 49
    kc says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The strategy, if that’s what it is, of ignoring them is not working.

  50. 50
    kc says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    The other day, the White House spokesman referred to it as “a local law enforcement matter.”

    It seems like every level of government is powerless to stop these armed white men from repeatedly breaking the law.

  51. 51

    @kc:
    The Bundy ranchers were not ignored. They got a great public standoff with the federal government with lots of attention. Not giving them that is the whole point of a ‘we don’t care if you come and go’ strategy.

  52. 52
    sm*t cl*de says:

    everyone could go down to the pub and have a pint (which is what Ford and Arthur did)?

    Then it turned out that the bulldozer drivers were lying, and they bulldozed Arthur’s house the moment he’d gone.

  53. 53

    @kc: What do you propose, the government do?

  54. 54
    J R in WV says:

    I agree that this is a pretty sad reaction by law enforcement, all the way around.

    They have to have broken locks and doors open, I’m sure the last employee out turned the lights off and locked the door behind himself. I’m pretty sure breaking into a federal facility, even one that is just a closed bird sanctuary, is a felony. Carrying firearms while in the course of a felony makes it a much worse felony, in terms of being sentenced.

    While I’m not advocating killing them all out of hand, I’m not sure why trained assault teams haven’t been sent in around 2 or 3 am on a cloudy frigid night. The FBI is rumored to have those kinds of people available, ex-Delta team members and the like. Maybe even the Oregon state police?

    I don’t understand anything any more. I’m just glad the DPRK H-bomb turned out to be a small fission device, in terms of yield. Probably the size of a small house, in physical dimensions, so not actually a weapon, as they don’t have a delivery method for something that size…

  55. 55
    Paul in KY says:

    I tend to want them to be treated the same as the ‘left wing’ groups that have tried this kind of stuff. However, I know they want a confrontation & I guess denying them any possibility of that is an adult tactic.

    The only thing is what if they just make up some shit & get their fellow nutwads all in a lather anyway?

  56. 56
    jl says:

    My hopeful guess is that the law has gotten a good understanding of these people, has a good reason to believe they are unprepared goofballs, and has reason to believe that the sheer boredom of the daily routine will wear them down. And the more boring it is, less media attention, less likelihood other militias will try to drive in to deliver snacks and socks.

    A boringly ridiculous wind down, followed by self-inflected humiliation at a trail following charges would be best result, IMHO.

  57. 57
    Davebo says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The feds have been quietly arresting the guys from the Bundy ranch standoff one by one.

    Who? Got a source for this? It seems Ammon was able to trot on home to Arizona and then road trip to Oregon.

  58. 58

    @jl:

    Anderson Cooper interviewing the revolutionists coming and going from town and asking if he can look into their shopping bags to see what kind of candy bars they bought

    This would be the worst possible blow to everything they want, are trying to get, and believe in.

  59. 59
    JPL says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Who? I know that the couple that killed the police officer in Las Vegas were at the ranch. Three died before they killed themselves, though.

  60. 60
    Davebo says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    They’re going to feel like fucking idiots if they make grocery runs and then go back and sit in their little visitors’ center and the cops don’t think they’re worth bothering with.

    So they feel like patriots after all they’ve done up to now but you are counting on being allowed to resupply making them finally feel like idiots?

    I think it’s quite possible that they have thought this situation through more than you have!

  61. 61
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    You’re right, we should let them seize federal property in private. Though that’s hard to do when they’re holding press conferences on it and touting their victory on social media.

  62. 62
    kc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Yeah, when A. Cooper shows up, they’ll realize they’ve been licked and go home with their tails between their legs.

  63. 63
    Davebo says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Their supporters have so far failed to materialize

    How do you know that? If no one is controlling access to the facility as seems to be the case how could you possibly know that?

    Is it the same source that told you that conspirators from the Bundy Ranch siege have been arrested quietly?

  64. 64
    kc says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    For fuckin’ starters, issue an order for them to get out, then cut power and water.

    Also, maybe not let their supporters roll in there with supply-laden SUV’s.

    I admit I’m not a law enforcement expert, but these seem like reasonable steps to me.

  65. 65
    MattMinus says:

    It’s interesting to see how many nominal progressives will come down on the side of white privilege when push comes to shove.

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    @Paul in KY: What you said. I feel if I protest how I will be greeted by law enforcement, when I am not running around with a gun, is far different. IMHO that is the number one thing that needs to be addressed.

    A close second is how stupid these people are. I am not a hoarder or anything of the such. But active hiker/camper. Lets just take their statement they are staying their for years. I got more freezed food in my “go” pack then they have.

  67. 67
    Elizabelle says:

    Citizens for Constitutional Freedom?

    More like Wingnut Marauders.

  68. 68
    jl says:

    Interview with Harney County Sheriff

    Sheriff: Oregon Militiamen To Face Charges For Taking Over Federal Building
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....ia-charges

    A more sinister angle to this is that people from the group were gathering a lot of info on certain locals (family connections, home addresses, photos of people and places, etc.), I suppose those they decided wer in cahoots with the jackbooted federal thugs, including the sheriff, in the weeks before they took over the visitor center. Apparently they were careful enough to do this in a way that did not get them charged with anything. So there may be a concern about local public safety, the extent of which we don’t understand.

    In the interview the sheriff goes out of his way, seems to me, to emphasize that the BLM staff are not an occupying fed force, but a lot of them are kids from local ranching families who decided to get a job with the BLM, etc.

    Edit: which may make the decision to let them come and go more puzzling, or it may less, depending on what the law knows and we do not.

  69. 69
    Punchy says:

    and the cops don’t think they’re worth bothering with

    Except the cops thought they were enough of a threat to close schools all week. So will they be closed next week, too? If not, why not….what’s changed?

    Should these pricks be able to dictate a school-free semester for all Burns schoolchildren?

  70. 70

    […] enraged by the news in Zander’s post over at Balloon Juice.  Happy to let any of seditionists out of the Malheur HQ — but only […]

  71. 71
    different-church-lady says:

    Maybe if we sent a black kid with a toy gun in there we could get law enforcement to take this seriously.

  72. 72
    El Caganer says:

    @NorthLeft12: Being treated like most protest groups? You mean pepper-sprayed and tasered?

  73. 73
    Mike J says:

    @Davebo: Schuyler Barbeau was arrested in Auburn.

  74. 74
    geg6 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    The feds have been quietly arresting the guys from the Bundy ranch standoff one by one.

    People keep saying this, but I haven’t seen any evidence of it yet.

    These fuckers need to be locked up. Yes, they are stupid, unprepared, brain dead idiots. But, like almost all the idiots I know, they are heavily armed. They have threatened people’s lives and are trying to take over a federally-owned facility. I want them frog marched on tv. I also want to keep making fun of them, their stupid beliefs and idiotic demands and I want them to be seen for the weak ass losers that they, deep down, know that they are. I don’t see why we can’t do both.

  75. 75
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    The irony in all this is that the very same Federal Government that these schmucks are accusing of being an overbearing, abusive, tyrannical, lawless government that is oppressing them is completely allowing them to come and go as if they were not guilty of at least a dozen different Federal crimes…

    I’m sure no one up in DOI wants to create a big window of opportunity for the Republican Klown Kar to use in an election year. But isn’t there SOMETHING they can do to pressure these freeloaders?

  76. 76
    daverave says:

    The wife and I were up at the Malheur refuge a couple of years ago in the midst of a long road trip. Nice place to check out birds. Spent a good hour photographing a barn owl not far from the HQ. It is really the middle of nowhere. We had a slow leak in one of our tires and the nice F+W people there were nice enough to top it off for us so that we could make it the 30 miles into Burns for a repair. The Les Schwab store there patched it for free!

    I do think that it makes sense to cut off any re-supplying and see how long they can maintain discipline. It’s gotta be damn cold all day long which should wear on them. The weekend forecast shows single digit temps at night and some more snow.

  77. 77
    Peale says:

    @Punchy: Exactly. Look I haven’t exactly been coming on here calling for the blood of the RWNJ wannabes but I do think someone should be intentionally looking like they feel like this is a threat after they closed the schools FOR A WEEK because there was a threat. Not “we’ll go day by day on the whole school closure until we know more” but “OMG, lets close the schools right away.”

    But whatever. For the love of protesters everywhere, at least make their lives a little difficult. Make them have to carry supplies on foot or something. Or the next time when they stage a little coup at some facility the government finds a bit more strategically important, the bloodshed will come as a shock.

  78. 78
    sigaba says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I tend to want them to be treated the same as the ‘left wing’ groups that have tried this kind of stuff. However, I know they want a confrontation & I guess denying them any possibility of that is an adult tactic.

    Some of the people I’ve worked with are former ALFers or have worked with them on various things (mostly very stupid and occasionally very destructive things). When left-wing activists say they’re doing something non-violently they really mean it, they won’t carry guns and they don’t make some whole kabuki about how they’re just “defending themselves” with AR-15s. So when the cops come to take them down it’s isn’t violent confrontation, they may run but when they’re caught they go quietly and then save it for the judge.

    Josh Marshall linked to a Vox explainer this morning and it pretty much explains the whole sordid business. In the 1980s police started responding to drug and gang crimes with overwhelming paramilitary force, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land. However, the Feds started using these tactics against firearms crimes and militias in the 1990s, and we got Ruby Ridge and Waco.

    People were, in the main, softly supportive of both of these until the Oklahoma City bombing, which was designed to be retribution for Waco, and all of the sudden people got a case of the queasies when it came to sending in the SWAT teams to take down white people living in the woods. The Feds started using de-escalation and negotiating, and they took down the Montana Freemen in 1996 peacefully. Though it was also true that every other militia in Montana made it be known that if the Feds harmed the Freemen, it would be open season on Federal judges, FBI agents and anyone else.

    Thus, a house full of black guys running a racket or a drug ring in the city gets a SWAT team and a battering ram, because the press coverage afterwards will either not exist or will be about “gangbangers,” and if there’s any kind of retribution from gangs against the police, the police know they government will back them to the hilt, up to and including putting the city under martial law. It’s happened.

    Meanwhile, a house full of white guys in the woods stockpiling weapons and plotting the overthrow of the government, if the cops DO come they come bearing cookies and milk, because the press coverage will be intense, and every dead body will be Randy Weaver’s wife all over again. If things do come to shooting, the local police won’t give any support, cranks from all over the mountain west will come out of the woodwork to shoot anyone with a badge, and there’ll be no political support, in fact a lot of people back in Congress will denounce the feds as thugs and murderers.

    The Ferguson Effect is real. It protects militias.

  79. 79
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Felonius Monk: So the Oregon Police don’t have any jurisdiction when a law breaker goes to the fucking grocery store?

  80. 80
    Tommy says:

    @kc:

    For fuckin’ starters, issue an order for them to get out, then cut power and water.

    And blast this song 24/7.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdiCJUysIT0

    I few years ago I made a stupid mistake. I got a DUI. You would have thought I killed a family of five. Cops everywhere.

    Six cops came to arrest me. Again I didn’t hit nor harm anybody. A traffic stop where things went sideways. Not saying I was right but how do people armed, saying they will die, take over any building and not get “copped”.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: You know, I absolutely hate the use of present tense when making claims like that. It’s eerily reminiscent of “The United States does not torture”.

    No, you fucks, the United States shouldn’t torture. It absolutely does.

    Liberals shouldn’t want violent treatment for these people, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way it is. Even on this site, I’ve seen comments arguing for a mortar battery to be used on these folks. Liberals DO want these people to be shot. I mean fuck.

    Sorry, big pet peeve of mine.

  83. 83
    Dork says:

    @different-church-lady: Just bring in Fergeson and Chicago PDs and have them do what they do worst. They’d probably write up $8,200,913 in fines and then shoot each protestor 16 times on his way to the courthouse to pay it.

  84. 84
    Tommy says:

    @Tommy: I want to well, well to give them the war they want. Pretty sure there are a few folks at the FBI or ATF that are shooters and they would think these folks are easy pickings. But that would give them what they want. I think laughing and mocking them is a better approach.

  85. 85
    Heliopause says:

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but according to this article they are well-provisioned for both food and heat.

    Looks like their plan went something like this:
    1. Take over an undefended federal facility. Check.
    2. Count on a feckless federal response (see Bundy, Cliven). Check.
    3. Count on local sympathy, or at worst disinclination to oppose them, for provisions and other support. Check.
    4. Air your grievances and demands to an eager press. Check.

    Sorry to once again be the bearer of bad tidings, but even if this thing were to end five minutes from now it’s already been a stunning success from their point of view.

  86. 86
    sigaba says:

    @Tommy: They can’t cut the power, the Guardian reported that the ranger station is on a busbar with a bunch of ranches and they can’t kill the power without killing all the adjoining areas too. Not without driving up to the visitor center and cutting some wires on a utility pole.

    @WarMunchkin: Using the present tense for a normative statement is completely valid: “None of my friends is a murderer.” “We don’t run at this hospital.” “Aarfy never pays for it.” etc. (Okay that last one might be pushing it.)

  87. 87
    Mike J says:

    @Heliopause:

    2. Count on a feckless federal response (see Bundy, Cliven). Check.

    They’re getting the kind of response the Montana Freeman got in ’96. What happened to them?

    LeRoy M. Schweitzer – 22 years. Died in federal prison on 20 September 2011 of natural causes, at age 73 years.
    Emmett Clark – (Pled guilty) Time served plus 3 years under supervision
    Richard Clark – 12 years
    James Hance – 5 years, 7 months
    Lavon T. Hanson – (Pled guilty with plea bargain), 1 year, 1 day
    Dana Dudley Landers – (Pled guilty) 1 year, 9 months with credit for 2 years and 3 months already served

  88. 88
    sigaba says:

    @Mike J: That was 20 years ago. I’ve seen no evidence that the crimes of militiamen are prosecuted by this or the previous administration. Clive Bundy has gotten off, everyone that came to help him has, as far as I know, walked away.

  89. 89
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: Hear hear! Happy New Year too!

  90. 90
    Paul in KY says:

    @sigaba: Thanks for the recap.

  91. 91
    jl says:

    @Heliopause: Thanks for the link. Not sure I agree with some of your conclusions. Most of the provisions I read about were deliveries from local sympathetic ranchers. Maybe the plan is for the occupiers to eat themselves to death on steaks and biscuits and gravy.

    Doesn’t sound like the town folk, half of whom work for the feds, are very sympathetic.

    Some good info on why the power was not cut: there is common line servicing the visitor center and other residences in the area, so have to have crews go in and cut specific lines that retail to specific buildings.

    We can joke about it, but looks like it is no joking matter to the locals.

  92. 92
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Chris Rock once said, “There isn’t a white man in this room who would trade place with me, and I’m rich!” When I first heard him say that, I thought he was wrong. Now? I think I owe brother Chris an apology.

  93. 93
    trollhattan says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    He could bring Kathy Griffin along to evaluate their wardrobes and ask, “Where are my gays?”

    This is not the media attention you seek.

  94. 94
    WarMunchkin says:

    @sigaba:

    I’ll agree that it’s grammatically correct and valid English. It bothers me when the pattern is used as a counterfactual because it obfuscates the truth in certain contexts. (We do not torture).

    In the we do not run example, the speaker would look completely ridiculous if, prior to the speaking, there had been an investigation suggesting that hospital employees within the hospital had been constantly observed running.

    With None of my friends is x example, you can always ex-post facto de-friend anyone who falls in the category of x, but the meaning is subtly different if that’s what you mean.

    With We do not torture, we is presumed to be the United States, and the torturer does not magically not become part of the United States by virtue of the fact that s/he tortured.

  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @sigaba: Can they at least cut off/jam their communications?

  96. 96
    Heliopause says:

    @Mike J:

    Is it your prediction, then, that they will not in fact surrender in a few days in exchange for a bag of cheetos? That’s not a terribly popular opinion on BJ.

  97. 97
    MCA1 says:

    I get frankensteinbeck’s point, though ultimately I disagree. It might work, but there are other factors at issue and precedents to consider here. In principle, this is no different than if they’d decided to take over the main ranger station at Yellowstone at 3:00 in the morning at some point in July. That’s also harmless so long as no one’s there, but I don’t think I want to distinguish appropriate law enforcement response based on how many tourists are inconvenienced in one situation vs. the other. Commandeering a national forest owned by 325 million citizens deserves a swift, professional, unequivocal response, period.

    In any event, if law enforcement’s going to just try to induce them to leave out of either humiliation or boredom, I submit they’re not doing it right, anyway. They should go whole hog, posting yelp reviews for the local grocery stores, helpful hints on area taverns, and trail maps of the refuge. Basically, go loud and public, pretending you assume these guys are there to birdwatch and drink beer, and join the meme creating mockery all over the internet. Yeah, it’s unprofessional and not their traditional role, but just letting them come and go on Slim Jim runs doesn’t scream impartially doing your job, either. If you’re not going to stop allowing them to come and go, shut off the power, set up a perimeter and starve them out, then I want all-in contempt advertised loudly.

  98. 98
    Paul in KY says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: There are a lot of perks to being white. No automatic valet parking, though.

  99. 99
    Soylent Green says:

    They are not a militia. They are a bunch of welfare ranchers from Nevada, 80 percent of which is public land.

    Their cause is to make that public land their private property. They don’t want it privatized in the usual sense, available to the highest bidder on the open market, because they would be outbid.

    They believe that the public land of Nevada belongs to them alone, a handful of ranching families, because Mormon Jesus gave it to them. They believe they should get it free of charge to use as they please.

  100. 100
    different-church-lady says:

    @trollhattan: What? And ruin this priceless supply system for parody videos?

  101. 101
    gene108 says:

    @AnotherBruce:

    It’s becoming as corrupt as any strong arm tinhorn dictatorship.

    The U.S.A.is light years away from being a corrupt – by global standards – government.

    We don’t have to bribe people to get our cars registered, deeds recorded, etc.

  102. 102
    Hoodie says:

    In principle, this is no different than if they’d decided to take over the main ranger station at Yellowstone at 3:00 in the morning at some point in July. That’s also harmless so long as no one’s there, but I don’t think I want to distinguish appropriate law enforcement response based on how many tourists are inconvenienced in one situation vs. the other.

    That’s nonsense. Of course you consider the context when deciding how to deal with a perpetrator. You don’t do a high-speed chase in a congested city. You don’t shoot in a crowded subway car. People who elevate worry about precedents over practicality usually have never had to deal with the latter. The precedent you want to establish is that these guys are nuts and morons, not revolutionaries. The ideas in the second paragraph are good, but the internet has already pitched in to do a lot of that. The place they’re holed up is fairly isolated and soon the press will get bored hanging out there.

  103. 103
    glory b says:

    @MattMinus: I know, right? I plan on feeling very comforted by their “tsk tsks” when the police gun down the protesting kids in my (black) urban neighborhood…

  104. 104
    Paul in KY says:

    @Soylent Green: In a dream, Mormon Jesus gave me dominion over Ohio and parts of Sussex. Guess I better get on over there…

  105. 105
    glory b says:

    @WarMunchkin: I don’t want them shot, but treat them like the criminals they are.

    I don’t think some of you realize the damage it does to our country to see that the rule of law is good for some people, but not for all. The young African Americans in my community (who are watching, trust) see that they get treated to SWAT Team action for a broken tail light, but the people who are on their side are okay with this.

    And I know that you say that you want this type pf treatment for their protests too, but all they see is that it doesn’t happen that way and the sense of despairing unfairness in them hurts me to see.

  106. 106
    gvg says:

    It may be that the interviewed local police no longer have jurisdiction as I had heard it was the FBI due to it being Federal property. I don’t know that, I just think it may be that the officer interviewed doesn’t know everything going on and there is nothing wrong with that especially if the Feds want to make quiet arrests without fanfare. Publicity would be unhelpful. On the other hand it makes them look like idiots.
    And if the power can’t easily be cut because of other ranches on the line, they need to say so. I also think they should cut the line but I have no knowledge of how difficult that would really be.
    I do hate the unfairness of the response compared to other people.

  107. 107
    goblue72 says:

    @WarMunchkin: They made their bed. They can surrender. Or they can die as they resist arrest. This isn’t a protest – its a criminal conspiracy. Their choice.

    When a Tamir Rice stops happening every week, then I might give a flying fart about your pet peeves.

  108. 108
    gex says:

    Let me tell you I feel stupid. As a queer person I can’t believe we bothered to try to persuade people and use the political process to be granted the rights we already supposedly had. Why the fuck didn’t we all just arm ourselves to the teeth and threaten a few preachers and government officials and force them to let us do what we want?

    Oh yeah right. We would have been murdered real quick. And with great joy on the parts of the law enforcement officers who pulled the triggers.

  109. 109
    TriassicSands says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    They’re going to feel like fucking idiots if they make grocery runs and then go back and sit in their little visitors’ center and the cops don’t think they’re worth bothering with.

    I doubt if these fools are self-aware enough to actually feel like idiots. Their level of self-righteousness is almost beyond measuring. I’m pretty sure they will interpret any action taken against them in a way that is favorable to their own cause. Lack of apparent action will be seen as weakness on the part of the authorities and will encourage more law breaking.

  110. 110

    @kc: It is hard to choose “the single most baffling aspect of modern life”, but the total lack of interest in prevention ranks pretty high.

  111. 111

    @sigaba: There is a lot of handwaving here in the citations of shifts in public attitudes. I think they were poorly (if at all) sourced at the time and even more poorly today in hindsight.

    Here in the Gretstetvaha’a, state police were ordered by the then Governor to stop engaging militia types in the early 1990s, after a couple of troopers were shot, having stopped a vehicle whose license plate was a little hand-lettered sign saying I don’t need no fkkking license plate. For a while there, huge convoys of military equipment with no insignia were a common sight on the freeways. But eventually, the Governor whose nerve failed him was replaced by a new Governor.

    I do not know whether this pattern applies to any other state (or stet).

  112. 112
    Mnemosyne says:

    @glory b:

    I don’t think some of you realize the damage it does to our country to see that the rule of law is good for some people, but not for all. The young African Americans in my community (who are watching, trust) see that they get treated to SWAT Team action for a broken tail light, but the people who are on their side are okay with this.

    Exactly. I’m not black, but even I can see how bad it looks for white idiots with guns to be allowed to take over federal property while black children and adults are shot in the street with no consequences to police. There doesn’t need to be some huge standoff, but there should be SOMETHING, FFS.

  113. 113
    gene108 says:

    @sigaba:

    Meanwhile, a house full of white guys in the woods stockpiling weapons and plotting the overthrow of the government, if the cops DO come they come bearing cookies and milk, because the press coverage will be intense, and every dead body will be Randy Weaver’s wife all over again. If things do come to shooting, the local police won’t give any support, cranks from all over the mountain west will come out of the woodwork to shoot anyone with a badge, and there’ll be no political support, in fact a lot of people back in Congress will denounce the feds as thugs and murderers.

    There’s always been a ton of support for right-wing violence / terrorism in this country.

    You don’t get the KKK flourishing for decades, lynching, Jim Crow, etc. without a lot of wink-wink, nudge-nudge from the powers that be looking the other way when a white person breaks the law.

    This is not new.

  114. 114
    worn says:

    At minimum, given this news, someone (be it citizens or LEOs) need to seed the road(s) leading in and out from end to end with caltrops. As a citizen of the state this is really starting to piss me off.

  115. 115
    PIGL says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Except that unless we insist that the white guys get nailed too, the black guys will continue to be shot in the street with impunity. I believe that the liberal attitude that “oh, we’re above all this” facilitates the oppression.

  116. 116
    PIGL says:

    @MattMinus: I know many do not think that is what they are doing with their high-mindedness, but I believe what you say is what it comes down to.

  117. 117
    waysel says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: Gretstetvaha’a? I seriously don’t know what this is.

  118. 118
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @El Caganer: Yeah, I guess I left that out. But honestly, most protests are handled pretty professionally by the cops….when the protest is out of the way and does not block public roads, etc. Again though, the protestors I mentioned are pretty much always unarmed.

  119. 119
    MCA1 says:

    @Hoodie: To be clear, I’m not arguing that we need to go in guns blazing, and I’m not arguing that all enforcement actions fit all circumstances and practicalities. Or that the crimes here are as bad as many others that could be committed. However, I do think that, regardless of circumstances and practicalities, it’s appropriate and important that law enforcement establish a baseline understanding with perpetrators: you are committing a crime, and we are here to bring consequences.

    Law enforcement doing nothing, or nothing beyond pointing and laughing, sets poor precedent. It suggests that the authorities do not treat this as lawlessness at all. Either it’s a federal felony to break into a national forest HQ with automatic weapons or it’s not. If simply closing the road and turning off the power freaks these idiots out, so be it.

  120. 120
    PIGL says:

    @goblue72: I’m with you, white and Canadian as I may be.

  121. 121
    Ransom says:

    Think of this as a really slow high speed chase. Right now the perps are doing something really dangerous, but only if someone goes in to roust them; dangerous for themselves and the LEOs who might get hurt if they tried to stop the chase right now.

    But the chase has to end sometime. And there is already a stack of evidence of their crimes. So just like when chases are properly dealt with, if there is no hostage in the car, let ’em go if they don’t pull over and pick them up later, at home.

    Seriously, its January in the mountains. They don’t even need to cut off the power to make it a hardship up there. If they jammed the cell signals, it would just curtail the comedy for us.

    Anyway, terrorism is not about violence, its about exposure for the cause. The whitehouse line that this is “a local law inforcement matter” is perfect in this regard.

    And in the hitchhiker’s guide Arthur’s house got bulldozed after he left. That would seemingly analogize to the cops locking these jamokes out while they are out snack gathering, or maybe arresting them at the 7-11.

  122. 122

    @waysel: So called, invariably, by yet another of its former Governors, who served a couple of dozen non-consecutive terms. Sound it out. It is a state, not of the Deep South, but of the Shallow (or Flibbertigibbet) South. The current Governor, to general hilarity (but when might that not have been said?), is supposedly (but when might that not have been said?) running for President.

  123. 123
    Monala says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: I don’t get it, either. I’m figuring the first part is “Great state of” but the actual state name – I got nothing.

  124. 124
    sigaba says:

    @gene108: It’s really not even just this country. Conservative movements throughout the world usually will get a pass on violence under certain circumstances. It is always and at all times simply the “Common Folk” fighting to “protect” their “Way of Life.”

  125. 125

    @Monala: Ohio…sorry…either I’vr lived here too long or you’ve not lived here long enough, possibly both.

  126. 126
    Monala says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: I grew up there, but in blue Cleveland. Never recall hearing it referred to that way.

  127. 127
    Paul in KY says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: If you’re a police officer, you get promotions & commendations for stopping/capturing, etc. the bad guys. Thus you want the bad guys to do stuff.

    No different than military people wanting conflicts to aide their promotion prospects. Very nasty thinking by them, but it happens.

  128. 128

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