I note with sadness that the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon continues, with the last four 'holdouts' of the original occupying group now calling on other like-minded individuals and groups to join them.
The occupiers claim they won't leave unless they're granted immunity from prosecution. To my mind, that means they didn't think this through before they took action. There's a long-standing tradition of 'civil disobedience' in this country, but along with it comes the responsibility to accept the consequences of one's actions. Martin Luther King and many others exercised civil disobedience during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950's and 1960's. They went to jail, and many were convicted of breaking the laws of this land as they then stood. After their struggle had borne fruit, most of those laws disappeared from the statute books - but that couldn't and didn't erase the criminal and civil convictions of those who'd broken them. That's just the way it was . . . and still is. One disobeys the laws at peril of the penalties legally prescribed for breaking those laws.
There are two very different perspectives on the Oregon standoff that I recommend to your attention. The first is by fellow blogger Murphy's Law, blogging at Laignappe's Lair. He's an officer of the law, with a perhaps predictable perspective based on that. Here's an excerpt.
I note that the feds and Oregon State Police were very selective in who they decided to arrest, singling out those whom they wanted after watching them in action for a month and viewing all of their interviews and non-stop Youtube ramblings. The ones who made threats, harassed citizens in town, or committed other specific acts are being treated differently than the average "playtriot" who just showed up and hung out. The arrests appear to have planned well, and they probably would have come off without any injury to anyone had not Finicum decided that he had some right to refuse to comply with the officers and tried to drive off. Some people are now claiming that in his warped belief system, he only recognized county sheriffs as legitimate authority, as if that somehow justifies either his attempt to flee or his reaching for a gun. My theory is that he just committed "Suicide by Cop" ... Finicum had ranted numerous times about how he could not handle prison and wanted to die free, and even in the anti-government novel that he self-published, he reportedly had the lead character, modeled after himself, die in a gun battle with the police rather than submit to lawful arrest.
There's more at the link. I've added internal links for those who'd like more information.
The second (and completely different) perspective comes from Herschel Smith, writing at The Captain's Journal. He maintains that the standoff is actually the result of political corruption over many years at the highest level. Here's an excerpt.
Just like the Bundy experience, which was all related to a corrupt deal by Harry Reid to enrich the Chinese communists and his own son with the Bundy land, this is related to land, how valuable it is, and the value of its minerals. If you think that this land is for you, if you think that you can just do anything you wish with government owned land, if you like to sing “this land is your land, this land is my land, from …,” then you’re a moron and you belong at a Bernie Sanders rally. No one except other rubes believes that anything about federal lands is yours. Federal land is capital. It is power. It is largesse. It allows gifts to those in power. It catalyzes corruption. It is quid pro quo, the stuff of powerful men and women who want to rule the world, the currency of graft.
. . .
Here we are with Mr. Finicum dead, a good man by all accounts, especially those who knew him best, his friends and family, and yet the evil goes much deeper. The divisions are becoming more pronounced, and they will not be healed. As for the shooters, Oregon police, or *.gov federal agents, whomever you are, this is what we know. You knew that this mess needed to be closed out quickly. Thus you did what you did. Congratulations. You killed Mr. Finicum so that Hillary Clinton could become enriched by selling the rights to American Uranium and Gold to a Russian communist
Again, more at the link.
I recommend both articles to your attention as illustrations of the depth and breadth of this problem, and the reactions it's aroused, and the hidden issues that are often ignored by mainstream media. The waters are very murky, and getting murkier. As I said in my last post about the death of Mr. Finicum, I personally have no idea of the truth about this matter. I know only what I've learned from news media and some sources such as the blogs I've quoted above. I can't say which (if any) of these sources are right or wrong, truthful or mendacious. I hope and pray that in time, the truth will come out, so that wrongdoing can be punished and the rule of (sound) law upheld.
On that last point, I'm not so sanguine as I used to be about the rule of law. Let's face it: the law has become an instrument of oppression and/or political favoritism in far too many cases. Congress could pass a law tomorrow asserting that the sky is red, and making it a criminal offense to refer to it as being any other color. The law would be factually wrong (and, because it makes a lie legal, it would be morally and ethically wrong as well), yet it would still be legally binding. The fact that "it's the law" does not automatically mean that "it's right" or "it's wrong". Anyone trying to assert that is lying, plain and simple.
Good judgment is called for in analyzing legal issues, including whether or not the law is fair and/or is being fairly applied. (For example, why were the Hammonds charged under terrorism laws, instead of more appropriate legislation? They're about as far from 'terrorists' as it's possible to get. IMHO, this was a gross misapplication of the law by the prosecutor concerned. Why did he do it? Your guess is as good as mine . . . but it wouldn't surprise me if he was acting under pressure, or at least 'suggestions' as to what course of action he might follow.)
If we want to uphold the rule of law, it has to be upheld across the board, with no exceptions. Whether or not that's still possible in the current standoff is debatable.