2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Standoff
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The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Standoff is a militia occupation of a federal building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, undertaken on January 2nd, 2016 by several armed independent militias, to defend a family of ranchers against further imprisonment for an arson the family had already been sentenced for. The standoff received a large amount of attention by the news media and on social media.
Dwight Hammond is a rancher in Harney County, Oregon with his son Steve; much of their land borders federal property. After setting a series of fires on the federal property in 2012, which federal prosecutors claimed were to cover up illegal deer poaching and illegal backburn and the ranchers claimed were to stop invasive plants, the Hammonds were sentenced to serve five years in prison each, but an appeals judge shortened the terms to three months for the 73 year-old Dwight and one year for Steve. After they were released, a U.S. District court in Oregon said that the term shortening was illegal, and sentenced the pair to return to prison to fulfill the rest of their sentences. The pair were ordered to return to prison on January 4th, 2016.
To protest the sentencing, a petition began circulating under the hashtag #SaveTheHammonds. As of January 4th, 2016, over 14,000 have signed the petition, which was originally created in late September, 2015. One of those who saw the petition was another rancher named Ammon Bundy, who, along with his father Cliven Bundy, leads an armed anti-government militia. The pair contacted the Hammonds and pledged their assistance. While the Hammonds publicly claimed they did not want the assistance of the armed militias, Ammon Bundy called for the militias to convene Burns in a Facebook video, and on Saturday, January 2nd, an assemblage of armed militiamen marched on the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Later that day, they began occupying the building, which was unoccupied. Their stated goals are for the Hammonds to be released and for the government to relinquish control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
After the armed militiamen occupied the central building, many began using the hashtag #OregonUnderAttack to describe the event and discuss it on social media. One major critique accused law enforcement of racial bias when it came to the attackers; many Twitter users complained that if the protestors were black and armed, they would have been attacked by law enforcement in the manner of the many recent police brutality controversies that had been publicly debated over the previous three years. Roland Martin, a prominent television personality, wrote "Did I miss the call for the national guard in Oregon? I recall them in Ferguson and Baltimore. #OregonUnderAttack," comparing the protests in Oregon to those that followed the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, in which the National Guard and a militarized police presence descended on those cities after large and mostly peaceful protests.
Another criticism of the militiamen on Twitter compared the men to domestic terrorists operating under radical faith in the same manner as ISIS or Al Qaeda, although in this case, the faith was Christianity instead of Islam. Several hashtags, including #YallQaeda, #Yeehawd, #VanillaISIS, White ISIS, #YokelHaram, and #Talibundy were suggested, with the first three going into wide use.
Call for Care Packages
On January 1st, after the occupation had occurred, a militiaman named Blaine Cooper shared a video from another named Jon Ritzheimer along with the message:
"We are not asking for money so if you can send supplies or anything that will help the militia and those taking a stand then please send it to:
Jon Ritzheimer or Blaine Cooper
Burns, OR 97720
We will humbly accept monetary donations at www.rogueinfidel.com. Again, not asking for money and care packages would be greatly appreciated.
Things we could use:
cold weather socks
equipment for cold weather
anything you think will help. "
When the media found this post they ridiculed it with headlines like, "Armed, Pathetic and Hungry: How the Oregon Militants' Revolutionary Plan Went Sideways" in Rolling Stone. Several publications, including Gawker and the Huffington Post, sent the militia their own packages, which included items like feminist books (below left) and pictures of food instead of the real thing. PETA arrived on site in Oregon and offered militia leader Ammon Bundy (who is a cattle rancher) vegan beef jerky (below right). A post on /r/notheonion talking about the call for care packages inspired several posters on reddit to glitter bomb the militia.
Shooting and Surrender
On January 26th, 2016, the leaders of the militant group attempted to visit a public meeting nearby where Ammon Bundy would be speaking. After two vehicles were stopped by law enforcement, one automobile surrendered while another driven by Robert Finicum fled, which also contained Ryan Bundy. The vehicle was subsequently trapped after an attempt at avoiding a roadblock, leading to the fatal shooting of Finicum and the wounding of Bundy at the hands of state and federal authorities. Two days later, the Conservative Outfitters YouTube channel posted the FBI's aerial footage of the incident (shown below).
Following the shooting, many militants purportedly abandoned the refuge. The next day, law enforcement surrounded the location, leading Ammon Bundy to advise remaining occupiers to leave. Eight militants subsequently left the refuge and surrendered. On February 11th, the remaining four militants Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson, Jeff Banta and David Fry surrendered to the FBI.
 SF Chronicle – Key things to know about the militia standoff in Oregon
 Landrights.Org – PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
 KTVZ – The feds' case: What they said of Hammonds' resentencing
 Wikipedia – Bundy Standoff
 KOIN6 – Anti-government protesters march through Burns
 Facebook – Bundy Ranch's Video
 CBS News – Militia takes over Oregon wildlife refuge
 CBS News – Armed activist leader: Standoff will last indefinitely
 Twitter – Hashtag -#OregonUnderAttack
 Twitter – Roland Martin's tweet
 Huffington Post – Vanilla ISIS & Y'All Qaeda: Oregon Gunmen Mocked On Social Media
 Facebook – Blaine Cooper's Video
 People – Oregon Militiamen Asking for Snacks, Socks, Money on Facebook
 Rolling Stone – Armed, Pathetic and Hungry: How the Oregon Militants' Revolutionary Plan Went Sideways
 Gawker – We Sent the Oregon Militia Idiots a Care Package
 Huffington Post – The Oregon 'Militia' Needs Food, So I Mailed Them Pictures Of It?
 /r/nottheonion – Oregon 'terrorists' don't plan siege very well, put out plea for snacks and supplies
 PETA – Vegan Jerky Hand-Delivered to Oregon Cattle-Ranching Militia
Jan 04, 2016 at 07:20PM EST
Jan 05, 2016 at 11:38PM EST
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