2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Standoff

2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Standoff

Updated Dec 15, 2016 at 09:22PM EST by Brad.

Added Jan 04, 2016 at 06:44PM EST by Ari Spool.

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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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] The pair contacted the Hammonds and pledged their assistance. While the Hammonds publicly claimed they did not want the assistance of the armed militias,[6] Ammon Bundy called for the militias to convene Burns in a Facebook video,[7] and on Saturday, January 2nd, an assemblage of armed militiamen marched on the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.[8]

Some of Ammon Bundy's videos calling for Militiamen to converge on the Malheur building.

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.[9]

Notable Developments


After the armed militiamen occupied the central building, many began using the hashtag #OregonUnderAttack[10] 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.[11]

Elon James White 2: Follow RAPISTS elonjames White People must take responsibility and find these terrorists in your communities. #OregonUnderAttack RETWEETS LIKES 292 269 9 冏脂 ELEO 10:57 PM -2 Jan 2016 rolandsmartin 2: Follow rolandsmartin Did I miss the call for the national guard in Oregon? I recall them in Ferguson and Baltimore. #OregonUnderAttack RETWEETS LIKES 12,261 10,832 1:34 PM -2 Jan 2016


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.[12]

John Hulsey な Follow JohnHulsey #Yal!Qaeda waging #YeeHawd on America and we're still calling it a "peaceful protest." It's domestic terrorism and we need to shut it down. RETWEETS LIKES 783 857 1:58 AM-3 Jan 2016 Sean Kelley McKeever seankmckeever な Follow I really liked #Yal!Quaeda but #VanillaISIS wins. RETWEETS LIKES 20 74 1:58 AM-4 Jan 2016

Call for Care Packages

On January 1st, after the occupation had occurred, a militiaman named Blaine Cooper shared a video[13] 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:

General Mail
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
energy drinks
equipment for cold weather
snow camo
anything you think will help. "

When the media[14] found this post they ridiculed it with headlines like, "Armed, Pathetic and Hungry: How the Oregon Militants' Revolutionary Plan Went Sideways" in Rolling Stone.[15] Several publications, including Gawker and the Huffington Post, sent the militia their own packages, which included items like feminist books (below left)[16] and pictures of food instead of the real thing.[17] PETA arrived on site in Oregon and offered militia leader Ammon Bundy (who is a cattle rancher) vegan beef jerky (below right).[19] A post on /r/notheonion talking about the call for care packages inspired several posters on reddit to glitter bomb the militia.[18]

PTA People for the Ethical tnent of Animals

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.

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 6 total

Recent Images 30 total

Top Comments


"The armed thugs from the other political party are terrorists who should be shot, but the armed thugs from my political party are just peaceful protesters being slandered."

-literally everyone in America, 2015-2016


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