Two Oregon ranchers were arrested after a preventative fire they started on their own property spread to BLM (Bureau of Land Management) acreage. The Obama Administration labeled them “terrorists” and sentenced them to five years in prison.
“We are gravely disappointed at this outcome,” reported the OFB (Oregon Farm Bureau). The story continues:
Elderly Harney County rancher Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, a former OFB Board member and Harney County Farm Bureau president, have already served time in federal prison for their mistakes and paid their debt to society for the less-than-140 acres of BLM land that was accidentally impacted by the fires.
This is an example of gross government overreach, and the public should be outraged.
The BLM would not capitulate despite months of diplomatic effort by the OFB. Many consider the verdict hypocritical considering the BLM’s harm to both private and public grazing lands – harm that goes without consequence. This unjust prosecution is sure to incite the wrath of foresters and ranchers across the West, not to mention destroy the positive relationship between these individuals and the BLM.
Mr. Hammond and his son are scheduled to begin their sentence on Monday. This Saturday, hundreds of supporters in Burns, Oregon formed a parade to protest. Harney County residents and militia members marched up Court Avenue to support the two condemned ranchers and their family.
After the parade, over 100 militiamen stormed the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters. They promised to occupy the federal outpost for years to come. Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy brought his three sons and over 100 militiamen to join the protest. Ammon Bundy, who appears to be the leader of the group, posted a video to Facebook Saturday which said: “We’re going to be freeing these lands up, and getting ranchers back to ranching, getting the loggers back to logging, getting the miners back to mining where they could do it under the protection of the people and not be afraid of this tyranny that’s been set upon them.”
As reported by the Harney County Sheriff: “After the peaceful rally was completed today, a group of outside militants drove to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occupied the refuge headquarters. A collective effort from multiple agencies is currently working on a solution. For the time being, please stay away from that area. More information will be provided as it becomes available. Please maintain a peaceful and united front and allow us to work through this situation.”
According to a Twitter post yesterday, the Bundys are willing to “kill and be killed if necessary.”