They were in it for the long haul, even without snacks.
And even, perhaps, if they didn’t get vanilla creamer for their coffee.
They had guns; were willing to die; and encouraged others to bring their guns, and come join them.
But now reality has hit, and not only have the leaders been arrested for the unlawful takeover of public property, but the tweets, Facebook posts, and videos they frequently sent out made it clear what their intentions were, and they just may come back to haunt them.
The Bundynistas claimed they would stay for years if necessary, and would use their guns if law enforcement tried to arrest them.
They insisted they were willing to fight to the death.
Now that they’ve been captured, they say that was all a mere misunderstanding.
When Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan, and several of the other Malheur occupiers pled for bail when they appeared in court on Friday, Ammon told the judge he had no desire to go back to the Malheur Refuge, and promised he would just go home if the judge granted bail.
“My only desire is to be home with family and take care of my wife and children,” he said.
In spite of all the bravado the public saw over the last few weeks, Bundy’s lawyer, Lissa Casey, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman that her client never meant to hurt or threaten anyone.
She claimed he was just trying to “educate” people to the unjust practices of the federal government.
“He is done in Harney County. His message has been sent.”
However the prosecutors had all those YouTube videos and Facebook posts that contradicted the now claimed peaceful purpose.
“As the armed group’s unrepentant leader, he (Ammon Bundy) has consistently and publicly expressed support for an armed occupation that has endangered, and continues to endanger, many people,” the court brief stated.
The prosecutors directed the court’s attention to a video in which Bundy called on people to “come out here and stand.”
“We need you to bring your arms.”
The men who appeared in court with Ammon Bundy were denied bail because, as the judge said, they pose a danger to the community, and she was not all that sure that they would obey the court’s order to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.
Shawna Cox, the only woman arrested was told that she will be allowed to go home while her case is pending, but only after the armed occupation ended.
Ammon Bundy is now publicly calling for the end of the Malheur occupation:
“This was never meant to be an armed standoff. (Remember his urging anyone who wanted to join them to bring their guns?) Please do not make it about something it wasn’t supposed to be. Go home to your families. To those at the refuge please stand down,“
Now that playing soldier has come to a bad end, David Fry, one of the four occupiers still at the Refuge is said to have asked FBI agents for safe passage from Malheur, but the FBI refused. The armed terrorists refused the offer when made earlier, so it is too late now.
Ammon Bundy’s wife, Lisa Bundy. also pled with the four remaining militants to stand down.
“Guys, I know that you’re probably scared, and I understand that, because I am too. The fight is done there. You educated. That was the goal — to educate, educate, educate.”
But, if the fight is done “there”, will it just be taken up somewhere else?
Apparently so, since she also stated,
“We believe this is where it’s supposed to be at, this is the plan. You have to help us move forward with the plan.”
She also had originally responded to the arrests by declaring,
“Ammon would not have called for the patriots to leave. We have lost a life but we are not backing down. He didn’t spill his life in vain. Hold your ground…ranchers come and stand!”
I would like to add one other thing here that is not so much about the terrorist act of taking over public property and asking people with guns to join with them, but more about how many of these ranchers got their land to begin with.
It is something people seem to forget, or may not know to begin with.
After the United States made the Louisiana Purchase with taxpayer money, it had a lot of unsettled land on its hands that was ripe for settling, and useful in producing needed consumables like cattle, sheep, and produce that needed people to raise and produce them, and it had spent a lot of time, money, and military personnel to clear the land of Native Americans.
All those “Indian Wars” cost money, after all.
Between 1862 and 1934, the federal government granted 1.6 million homesteads and distributed 270,000,000 acres of Western federal land for private ownership. This was a total of 10% of all land in the United States.
A homesteader had to be the head of the household or at least twenty-one years old, and had to live on the designated land, build a home, make improvements, and farm it for a minimum of five years.
The filing fee was $18; $10 to temporarily hold a claim to the land.
The Homestead Act of 1862 gave rise later to large land rushes, such as the Oklahoma Land Runs of the 1880s and 1890s.
Settlers found land and staked their claims.
So basically, the people who got large ranches out West got them for $18 from the federal government while people back East who wanted to own property had to pay fair market value with any costs connected to property purchases.
This explains how Ben Cartwright got to own the Ponderosa.
Some families found ways to increase the size of their initial holding by having children claim abutting land to the original allotment, while others found ways, including fronting for big companies, to screw over the Native Americans who were the victims of the Dawes Commission by taking advantage of their not understanding the laws and ways of the United States.
So, many of the ranchers who complain about the BLM and restrictions on using public land for private use, gloss over the fact that for all intents and purposes they got their land for free, and simply want more without having to pay for it.
Think about that.
They want more for free while you need the down payment, bank approved mortgage, all the closing costs, and the ability to pay for the home and property taxes to buy your property, while they get subsidies that help meet their financial obligations on land their families got generations ago for $18.