Here’s a little background information that surprised me:
Because the refuge is so remote and no government employees are at risk, law enforcement isn’t likely to immediately confront the militia. But law enforcement will be under great pressure to act because of the Bundys’ confrontation in Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management retreated from that confrontation and has yet to publicly act against the Bundys to collect $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. That retreat has emboldened militia members as they now face the prospect of another standoff.
A bunch of white religious nuts and far-right yahoos have been pillaging federal property to the tune of a million dollars, and the government does nothing? Don’t try to tell me there isn’t a whole lot of privilege going on.
Has there ever been an analogous incident, where a minority group took control of a remote location? I wonder how the federal government responded then.
On February 27, 1973, a team of 200 Oglala Lakota (Sioux) activists and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized control of a tiny town with a loaded history — Wounded Knee, South Dakota. They arrived in town at night, in a caravan of cars and trucks, took the town’s residents hostage, and demanded that the U.S. government make good on treaties from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Within hours, police had surrounded Wounded Knee, forming a cordon to prevent protesters from exiting and sympathizers from entering. This marked the beginning of a 71-day siege and armed conflict.
Of course, that was completely different. The Bundy gang is asking for property and the right to exploit the land, and demanding that a pair of arsonists be set free.
AIM was asking for respect and that the US honor their word. That can’t be allowed.