A county sheriff and judge on Monday demanded that self-styled militiamen occupying a remote U.S. wildlife center in Oregon peacefully end their 3-day-old anti-government siege, telling the protesters: "It's time for you to leave our community."
And in fact a lot of people seem to think this is a terrible idea, including other militia seditionist types.
Self-styled militia members who seized federal property in rural Oregon in an effort to galvanize opposition to the U.S. government appear to have made a tactical error - potential allies say they picked the wrong battle.
As armed anti-government activists occupied a snowy wildlife refuge for a third day to call attention to a land-use dispute, militia leaders from similar groups across the country criticized the seizure of federal land and a building.
The protesters have said they aim "to restore and defend the Constitution" to protect the rights of ranchers and ignite a national debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy they hope could ultimately force the federal government to release tracts of Western land.
Their occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge comes as the number of paramilitary groups is on the rise in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group that tracks their numbers.
But the latest call to arms appears to have failed to resonate with like-minded groups whose support would be crucial for creating a coalition of armed militia members substantial enough to thwart a law enforcement operation.
"There's a better way to go about things," said Brandon Curtiss, president of Three Percent of Idaho, a militia group that has been involved in the dispute. "If you want to make a change like that, you need to get the county citizens behind you to go through the proper channels."
When you're getting "Well, actually'd..." by armed militia groups that want to overthrow the federal government, you've lost on all possible fronts. In fact, the Bundys may be considering cutting their losses and taking the out provided to them.
Late Monday, the apparent leader of the armed occupiers, Ryan Bundy, told OPB reporters that the group — which has branded itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom — would respect the wishes of the local community.
"This is their county – we can't be here and force this on them," Bundy told OPB Monday. "If they don't want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we'll leave."
Bundy tells OPB that he hopes to have a community meeting organized within the next day.
So amazingly enough, what I though was going to be a protracted standoff that was sure to end in Ruby Ridge-style bloodshed may in fact turn into a bunch of losers giving up and slinking home. Sensing an opportunity here to put a peaceful end to this, the Feds are going to cut off power to the refuge.
Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out.
Armed militants will begin their third day at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a remote federal outpost in eastern Oregon, on Tuesday, and have vowed to remain for months in protest over the treatment of two local cattle ranchers.
A federal government official told the Guardian that authorities were planning on Monday to cut the power at the refuge.
“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said the official, who is based in Washington, DC, and has knowledge of the planned response to the militia. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said they were not privy to the FBI’s plan of action. However, they said the US Park Service, which is leading the crisis management reaction to the occupation in liaison with the FBI, planned to cut the power to the building where the militiamen are spending their nights.
We'll see where this goes. Hopefully this will all be over soon.