Written by Tyra Mills, Social Media Editor
On January 2nd, a group of militiamen walked into the Federal Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon and declared it their own. The standoff is happening at the headquarters for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They have been protesting for weeks now, allegedly due to an issue they have with the government and its “overreaching.” Some of the protestors have stated that they are willing to stay at the refuge for years and even die fighting if they have to. They have stated that they do not want to hurt anyone, but will use violence if they are threatened with removal.
Honestly, the protesters demands are kind of confusing and unclear. The revolt is being held by Ammon Bundy and his younger brother, Ryan. What I find the most funny about all of this is that Ammon and Ryan are the two sons of Cliven Bundy, who just held his own armed standoff in 2014 in Nevada over yet another dispute with the government. This must run in the family.
So far, the protestors have destroyed a fence built by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. They apparently even went as far as to use the own agency’s equipment to do so. Bundy stated that last year, the Wildlife Service used a $100,000 grant to install a fence to prevent a local ranching family from grazing their 600 cattle on public property. Bundy stated that they destroyed the fence to help out the family and allow them to run their ranch how they have in the past.
Bundy also stated the protest will continue until Dwight Hammond Jr and his son, Steven, are released from prison. The Hammonds were sentenced to five years in prison for deliberately setting fires to public land.
Most of the protestors are military veterans and small business owners, and it seems that local officials have decided to just wait the occupiers out to see when and if they’ll leave.
This is a prime example of how law officials handle whites’ differently than minorities. Here we have a group of armed military veterans destroying government property, and not one of them has been reprimanded. Not only has law enforcement decided to ignore them, but it seems the media outlets have as well. Yes, they have covered the story but in the most minuscule way. These militiamen aren’t being called what they actually are, which are bigoted terrorist. They aren’t being called criminals, though they have clearly committed a crime. They aren’t being called thugs, though they have definitely destroyed property. No, in the media’s eyes these are just frustrated occupiers. There has been no media backlash from this situation and there have even been national organizations, such as PETA, who have sent the men food to help with their protest. This protest isn’t calm, peaceful, or lawfully correct and yet and still there have been no consequences for the actions of these men.
Whereas, in Ferguson, last year when minorities gathered to peacefully mourn the death of Mike Brown, they were greeted with army tanks, automatic weapons and were pelted with wooden bullets. Some were arrested, others were beaten or gassed. This hasn’t been the only time minorities have peacefully gathered to protest and were handled in an excessively aggressive way. Recently at Missouri University, when word got back to school officials that the football players were planning on protesting, their scholarships and grants were threatened to be taken away. It seems like minorities must be chastised and reprimanded immediately when they do something the government doesn’t like, whereas when white men do it they receive a mere slap on the wrist if that.
Would this be a different story is blacks or Muslims decided to take over a government building with guns? Absolutely. It’s sad to see that not only does the media pick and choose who it shows its leniency to, but the government does too.