Sally Kohn blames the federal government and its passive non-response to the first Bundy Insurrection for the current shitshow in Oregon...
There’s a really simple reason why armed men thought they could get beat the federal government in Oregon: They beat Uncle Sam the last time they showed up with guns. Leading the standoff in Oregon is Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose band of extremists helped him defeat the feds in two years ago.
In 1993, Bundy decided not to renew his permit for cattle grazing in protest of new regulations under the federal Bureau of Land Management, However, Bundy kept grazing his cattle on public lands so that by 2014 Bundy had accrued over $1 million in grazing fees. A judge had first ordered Bundy to remove his cows from public land in 1998 but since Bundy hadn’t done so (after six years!) a judge in 2014 said the federal government could remove Bundy’s cows for him.
After the government rounded up Bundy’s cows, the rancher and some supporters showed up armed. Wrapping up his critique of cattle-grazing policies with a larger anti-government agenda, Bundy himself said at the time, “We’re about ready to take the country over with force!” According to local press, Bundy’s supporters were pointing weapons at the police. The assistant sheriff said Bundy’s supporters “were in my face yelling profanities and pointing weapons.”
And what did the government do? They released Bundy’s cattle and left his armed supporters alone. According to Bundy as of April 2015, he continued to graze his cattle on federal lands without impediment.
No charges were brought against the Bundy's supporters, Kohn points out, after they assaulted federal workers and impeded federal officers—both crimes—and Bundy and his gang did not face legal or lethal repercussions for pointing guns at police officers. So for those of you keeping score at home: Tamir Rice was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio, because he had a toy gun and the a cop "feared for his life," and John Crawford III was shot dead in Beaverton, Ohio, because he was holding a BB gun in a Walmart (a gun that Walmart stocked and sold) and a cop "feared for his life." (And Ohio is an open-carry state!) But these motherfuckers can point guns at actual police officers and not only aren't they shot dead, they aren't charged with a crime.
And why is that? Josh Marshall at TPM:
I wanted to add one other coverage point on this Oregon white militants situation. On the one hand, a major reason why we've always been so interested in these stories is just how outrageous they are and the fact that the federal government is increasingly wary or simply unwilling to enforce the law.
As I said earlier, this really amounts to white privilege performance art. We always want to avoid violence and bloodshed whenever possible. But we are also a republic. We have a rule of law. People aren't allowed to take over government buildings, threaten federal officials with violence or keep demanding free handouts from the government (which is the underlying issue here) on the threat of violence. This is a mix of violent outlawery and domestic insurrection. And I think, if we think about it, we all know that it doesn't get a very tough response because the country just takes it for granted that white people in the interior West just act weird and do stuff like this.
White people in the interior West are weird, it's true—but they're also white people, and that's the most consequential difference. Black men and boys holding toys guns in an open-carry state are gunned down by the cops and conservatives take to Twitter and Fox News to defend the police. But white people point actual guns or realistic-looking toy guns at cops and either live to tell the tale (like this white lady) or get off without facing charges—and the same conservatives take to Twitter and Fox News to defend the armed white militants, terrorists, and/or idiots.