Busy day today, so I have little commentary. I recommend an article in The New Yorker for a slightly different, but valuable, perspective than mine:
American vigilantism is never racially innocent. Its two parents are self-mobilization on the frontier, usually against Native Americans at a time when homesteading was reserved to whites, and the racial terror of the Ku Klux Klan in the South during and after Reconstruction. It is too much to call the occupiers “domestic terrorists,” as the Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh or the Klan were, but it is also obtuse to ignore the special comfort that certain white men have using guns as props in their acts of not-quite-civil disobedience. After all, guns were how they acquired their special sense of entitlement to public lands in the first place.
The latest news seems to be that the “protesters” have said they will leave if the locals there want them to. That’s good news.
A leader of the activists occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon’s snowy back country said he and others would agree to stand down and leave if local residents ask them “directly” to end their campaign.
Ryan Bundy, who along with his brother has emerged as a leader of the activists and protesters holed up in a compound of federal buildings in southeastern Oregon, pledged to organize a meeting as early as Tuesday to let Harney County residents speak with them directly.
But on Tuesday, Bundy renewed his vow that there was no end in sight for the occupation.
Residents in the county’s largest towns – Burns and Hines – have said they agree with the activists’ message but take issue with their tactics, such as the armed occupation of government-owned buildings.
In Burns, signs have gone up asking the occupiers to leave. Some residents said they are fearful of a violent confrontation if federal agents were to descend on the refuge.
That sounds to me like Bundy thought he has the support of the local community when he said he would leave if the local residents wanted him to. And now he’s finding out, uh, maybe not. The article continues:
He said the occupying group has made “no direct demands,” but the participants have stated that they will leave if the federal government gives up control of the nearby Malheur National Forest.
Well, that’s not going to happen.