Free Minds & Free Markets

Whatever's Going on in Oregon, It's Not Terrorism

Terrorism is the use of violence against noncombatants for a political purpose. That's not what's happening here.

Gage Skidmore/FlickrGage Skidmore/Flickr

A key to understanding the political world lies in realizing that the words terrorism and terrorist are inherently political terms. This has been clear in international affairs, but we now see this in domestic matters, specifically the case involving ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond and the takeover of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service building in Harney County, Oregon.

The Hammonds have been imprisoned under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, an ostentatiously get-tough bill —passed after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building—favored by congressional Republicans and signed by triangulating Democratic President Bill Clinton, who was seeking reelection that year and whose wife, the hawkish Hillary Clinton, is seeking the presidency today. Among other things, the Act limits habeas corpus relief in federal courts for those claiming to have been unlawfully imprisoned.

The words terrorism and terrorist are also used to describe the people now occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in sympathy with the Hammonds. CNN reports that "progressive" opponents of the occupiers refer to them as "YallQaeda" and "vanilla ISIS." Some urge government violence against them.

Is this description fair? One can answer this question regardless of what one thinks of the Hammonds and the occupiers. If terrorism has any reasonable referent, it is the use of violence against noncombatants for a political purpose. The point is to terrorize by killing or injuring noncombatants, or destroying their property, in an effort to effect change.

Nowhere do we see such violence in either the Hammonds' case or the occupation of the government building. The actions that brought criminal charges against the Hammonds consisted in setting two fires on their own land in 2001 and 2006, the first to destroy invasive vegetation, the second ostensibly to protect against a wildfire on adjacent land controlled by the central government. On both occasions the fires unintentionally spread to the government-controlled land. The Hammonds put out the first fire; the second fire reportedly endangered government firefighters, whom the Hammonds knew were in the vicinity.

Even if we grant the worst allegations—that the Hammonds wrongfully declined to inform the government that it would be setting the fires and that one fire was allegedly set to cover up poaching—the actions look nothing like terrorism. No one was intentionally threatened, and no one was injured or killed. So why were the cases prosecuted under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years? Even if we make the dubious concession that the Act was a good-faith attempt to fight bona fide terrorism, what does it have to do with the Hammonds?

As for the occupiers of the government building, who now call themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, again, where's the terrorism? Yes, some occupiers are armed. But the building was unoccupied when they entered it, and no one was threatened, much less harmed or killed. It's reported that roads around the building are open. The news media come and go at will.

In neither case was anyone terrorized. To be sure, the occupiers have a political objective, to pressure the central government into giving up control of its massive land holdings. Terrorism, however, requires a particular kind of violence along with a political motive. Critics describe the occupiers as white supremacists. I don't know if they are, although John Ritzheimer, a spokesman for the occupiers, is an anti-Muslim activist. But regardless, their conduct in Burns, Oregon, does not constitute terrorism, and no constructive purpose is served by promiscuously throwing that inflammatory word around.

I'll leave for another time the controversy surrounding the government's landholdings except to say that one need not regard all governments as illegitimate (as I do) to see something wrong in the U.S. government's control of so much land, especially in the West, holdings acquired through forcible preemption. While white ranchers and anti-U.S. government activists claim that their rights and the state of Oregon's "rights" have been usurped by the central government, largely overlooked is the solid claim of the Northern Paiute.

According to the Indian Country Today Media Network, "Ironically, the 'legal' basis for [the occupiers'] starting a fight with the federal government is that sovereignty 'really' belongs to Oregon rather than the Paiutes, who have seen their federal trust land shrink from over one and a half million acres to a tiny remnant of 760 acres in Burns, Oregon, where this current armed standoff began." It adds, "President U.S. Grant established the Malheur Indian Reservation for the Northern Paiute in 1872.... White settlement nibbled at the Malheur Indian Reservation until the Bannock War in 1878, which ended with surrendered Paiutes and Bannocks on the reservation being removed, officially to the Yakama Reservation in Washington Territory." (See more on the Northern Paiute claim here.)

Citizens for Constitutional Freedom is right that the national government should vacate the land. But it's wrong about who should have it. It was stolen from the Northern Paiute, and therefore it should be returned.

This piece originally appeared at Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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  • Brian||

    Listen, we've got to figure out what terrorism really means if we're going to have any hopes of understanding how the scary words work and who's really the good guy and who's really the bad guy.

    I think that terrorists are racists, and racists are terrorists. Probably homophobes, too.

    Plutocrats? Definitely terrorists.

    I'm almost absolutely certain everyone I disagree with is a terrorist of some sorts.

    Probably your mom, too.

  • ImanAzol||

    I think we can all agree that spamming cunts are terrorists.

  • Rusty Rebar||

    And that is the problem with that term, it only has meaning to those who use it. I am pretty sure that a lot of people in Iraq, Syria, Yemin etc.. see us as terrorists, and they have just as strong of a case as we do when we call them terrorists.

  • AJAF7||

    We already have figured out what terrorism really means. Under, 18 U.S. Code § 2331 the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C)occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

    Is the group engaged in acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United? Yes, they are armed and trespassing on Federal land, and they are utilizing deadly weapons in furtherance of their trespass. Indeed, they have stated that they will attack/kill any officers who try to remove them.

    Do their actions appear to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion? They've stated that their goal is to influence government policy regarding administration of federal land. Moreover, they have threatened force and called on others to join them in their armed takeover, so yes they intend to influence by intimidation and coercion.

    Finally and most obviously, do their activities occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States? Oregon is in the Untitled States.

    Yes, clearly they are terrorists.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Anon45||

    Thinking on the definition of terrorism this does seem to legally fit the definition of terrorism given by the FBI.

    This leads me to the conclusion that the definition of terrorism according to the FBI should be tweaked rather than sticking with the current definition though...

    What would be the possible downsides of changing the wording of (ii) to read "to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or violent coercion"?

    Another possibility could be to meet all the conditions

  • SFC MAC||

    Obama meets at least four of those requirements.

    1. "involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State"

    He has endangered the lives of Americans by putting out the welcome mat for thousands of illegal aliens and letting them out of detention into our streets. He released muzzie terrorist cutthroats from GITMO. He panders to the Muslim Brotherhood, arms Hamas, and plans to import 10,000 refujihadists from Syria and god knows where else.

    2. (B) appear to be intended— 3.(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population

    His actions are unlawful, unconstitutional and intentional. His unlawful executive orders are meant to coerce the U.S. into taking these criminals and terrorists.

    4. "occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States"

    All of these actions have occurred within our borders.

    He's a fucking terrorist.

  • ||

    Whoever you don't like is a terrorist. Hence, if you don't like crusty old anti-government ranchers who take over isolated, disused government buildings, they're terrorists, but if you like them, they're not. If some Black activists with guns took over an isolated, disused government building, 'conservatives' and the boss media would say they were terrorists, and a lot of 'liberals' and 'leftists' would say they were not terrorists but heroic freedom fighters. The word 'terrorist', like 'fascist', has lost most of its meaning.

  • You're Kidding||

    Black Panthers and the CA State Capitol building circa 1967?

  • straffinrun||

    Fine, give the land back to the Paiutes. Then all the taxes that were paid by the Hammonds over the years has to be paid back, too. You can't raise taxes to pay for that either since that would be stealing from others to settle a dispute they weren't involved with. So I guess you'll just have to fuck the ranchers and take their land.

  • spanky & alfalfa||

    if the bank repossess your house you don't get a refund from the government on back property taxes you have paid.

  • Tionico||

    differenece.. the government still is owed the property taxes on the basis the government is the ulitmate owner.. If the Paiute really owned it, the State of Oregon or Harney County were collecting under false premisis. Your comparison is not apples to apples. More like raisins to rabbit pellets.

  • Rockabilly||

    But there are white peoples with scary guns !!!

  • JeffreyImm||

    Nonsense. It absolutely IS terrorist behavior.

    In the United States of America, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” [28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 (1) ].

    Furthermore, what the apologists for such terrorist behavior will accomplish is to encourage terrorists to do this again. Whatever such apologists are, they are not supporters of the law, supporters of human rights, and certainly not patriots of the United States of America.

  • MokFarin||

    Squatting is a use of force, now?

    In that case, the US Federal government, using it's own definition combined with your new definition of squatting, is the largest terrorist organization in the world.

    This is civil disobedience. If it escalates to violence, it will be because the US Government will decide to send armed agents of the state into the facility as a military or semi-military roundup of the squatters.

    Pretending something is terrorism when it's clearly not is the first step towards making no one care about terrorism, especially when you rely on an overly broad and self-serving federal definition of the word "Terrorist."

  • JWW||

    The irony is the left calls this terrorism, but Muslims shooting people with guns or beheading them at their workplace is not terrorism.

  • ||

    Which Left? Give me some cites. I haven't heard anyone say that Muslims shooting people with guns, etc., isn't terrorism, but I don't read everything.

  • Frankjasper1||


  • ||

    "apologists for such terrorist behavior"

    This is rich man - get it?


    Yeh. Something the left are experts at.

    And no. It's not terrorism. Let's play sophistry. If you call for the murder of citizens at the hands of the government what is it? Justice? I'm curious.

  • Loki||

    If you call for the murder of citizens at the hands of the government what is it? Justice?

    Well, duh. The government only kills bad people who deserve it. And they never make a mistake, because TOP MEN. /retarded JeffreyImm

  • Frankjasper1||

    What are the political and social objectives here? Being pissed that the Hammonds are getting screwed by the government?

    So when the unions occupied the state capital of wisconsin, equals terrorism?

  • toolkien||

    Well, someone WAS strewing bullets hither and yon around the capitol square, and legislators at some committee meetings did have to be whisked - by capitol police - out of the capitol building, via secret tunnels that even said legislators didn't know existed. So, yeah, some elements of terror there.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Not supporters of human rights....wut?

  • ||

    \Fish & Game isn't a person (either naturally nor as a legitimate corporation). As such, it can't hold property. If one insists that the Refuge were somebody's property, rather than simply a public installation of some sort, it must then be the property of whatever bureaucrat or group of bureaucrats happens to keep it. In which case, one might argue that it is a violation of the property of those bureaucrats, but then there's the whole problem of the basis of those bureaucrats' claim.

    At any rate, that definition of terrorism is crap, since it would make anyone using force in any political struggle a terrorist, regardless whether it's being used in defense of lawful property. I should think that the original sense of the word required the use of actual TERROR in a program of subversion and exploitation of reaction such as characterised the work of folks like (Our Friend) Lenin and Guevara (PBUH). But don't listen to me. I don't know what in tarnation I'm talking about.

  • Loki||

    I don't know what in tarnation I'm talking about.

    Well, duh, you're a libertarian talking about politics on a libertarian site. Furthermore, the progressive left has recently began conflating words and rhetoric with "violence". If that's the true, then we're all terrorists since we use words and rhetoric (violence) "in furtherance of political or social objectives."*

    We're all terrorists, especially since we use those words (again, violence) to critisize our great and glorious government, which no patriots would ever do.

    *I think I may have just figured out the reason why the campus prog-tards have begun conflating rhetoric with "violence". It's so they can categorize anyone whose views they disagree with or find "offensive" as terrorists, and therefore the use of violence against those EVUL TEATHUGLIKKKANZ and LIBERTARDIANZ!11!!!!!1!!!!

  • Tionico||

    The Charter of Statehood of Oregon approved by Cngress and the People of the newly formed State of Oregon, declare that all "public lands" situate within the boundaries of that new state become the lands of the new State of Oregon. FedGov never followed through on that part.... HOW IS IT that BLM, USFS, DFW, USDA, are, by ratified law, part of Oregon and NOT FedGov. Time that agreement is enforced. Get FedGov OUT of the states.

  • Loki||

    “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” [28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 (1) ].

    As MokFarin already pointed out, squatting is a use of force, now? If so, then the OWS protesters were also terrorists. After all, they also took over public property (and caused a hole lot of property damage) in "furtherance of political or social objectives." I suspect you wouldn't categorize the occutards as terrorists because "that's, like, totes different... somehow. Mumble mumble... racist rednecks with scary gunz... argle bargle... derp."

    Whatever such apologists are, they are not supporters of the law, supporters of human rights, and certainly not patriots of the United States of America.

    Because being a patriot is all about sucking as much government cock and licking as much boot as possible. Slurp, slurp, slurp. Go fuck yourself.

  • Loki||

    If so, then the OWS protesters were also terrorists.

    Oh, and so were all the 60's radicals who staged sit-ins to protest the Vietnam War, the civil rights activists who staged sit-ins at "whites only" lunch counters, etc. All "terrorists" according to your interpretation of squatting as a use of "force".

  • ||

    They (OWS) were certainly called terrorists by many at the time, although as far as I could see, the only people terrified of them were the upper echelons of the Democratic Party.

  • Rusty Rebar||

    Don't forget, we would also need to call these guys terrorists as well:

    Dartmouth College #BlackLivesMatter Protest
    Published on 14 Nov 2015
    Footage of the protest from Dartmouth College's library. Obtained by Campus Reform courtesy of The Dartmouth Review.

  • Tionico||

    then Rosa Parks was a terrorist.

    Whatever such apologists are, they are not supporters of the law, supporters of human rights, and certainly not patriots of the United States of America.
    ackshully, these occupiers ARE suppoters of the law... the law that already has made all federal lands within the boundaries of the State of Oregon the property of the State of Oregon, and NOT FedGov, whcih are prohibited by law from owning anything more than Washington DC, military and naval bases, forts, dockyards, etc, and post offices and post road......

    you mean THAT law?

    and how about the laws against double jeopardy, and the laws that ensure fair trials, and prohibit cruel and unusual punishments.? you mean THOSE laws?

  • Admiral Stubing||

    Then any "unlawful" petitioning of the government is terrorism, if you want to use the broad definition. Civil disobedience = terrorism, frankly, because you're using " to coerce." MLK Jr, Black Lives Matter, Occupy, etc -- all terrorists.

    Sadly, you're representative of a large % of the world.

  • Ron||

    based on what your wrote then every protest by #BLM and all other protest no matter how peace full has been a terrorist act. BTW it is legal to carry a gun on federal land so other than breaking into an abandoned building, which is legal in cases of emergency and since this is considered an emergency they have done nothing wrong.

  • Rusty Rebar||

    I think you are reaching a little on the exigency of that B&E.

  • Tionico||

    no damage whatever was done to the buildings. Keys were obtained.... doors opened. That is a public facility. Nothing says they can't be there.... except BLM don't like being trumped, even if for a short while. Its that thing about being god.... no other gods before me.

  • Harun||

    Where is the use of force or any violence?

  • Philip||

    I appreciate that you are referencing federal codes but that is not the definition. That would be in a section called decinitions. The statement begins by saying that terrorism INCLUDES the unlawful use of force and violence etc. The full definition of terrorism ALSO INCLUDES "threatening" to use force and violence, which is exactly what they are doing, preparing a stand off and threatening violence if the government attempts to force them off federal property. Making that threat is by itself terrorism.

  • Tionico||

    they do not threaten violence initiated. They have pledged to DEFEND their lives against lethal force presented against them. So, just as at Lexington, "don't fire unless fired upon. we don't want a war, but of they mean to have one, let it begin here".

  • Philip||

    I appreciate that you are referencing Federal codes but the definition would be in a section called DEFINITIONS. The statement begins by saying that terrorism INCLUDES the unlawful use of force and violence etc. The full definition of terrorism ALSO INCLUDES "threatening" to use force and violence, which is exactly what they are doing, preparing a stand off and threatening violence if the government attempts to force them off federal property. Making that threat is by itself terrorism.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    Well, which gets back to their original grievance and what they are protesting: the definition of terrorism used by the government is too expansive.

    I mean, maybe you are a totalitarian at heart and like the fact that many fairly innocuous acts can be construed as terrorism, but some of us actually care about living in a free society.

  • Rusty Rebar||

    So, except for one word in that definition, I see the definition of government.

  • Tionico||

    and what would you call men with guns taking innocents captive against their will, and subjecting them to slavery (also against their will) in order to coerce them into doing what those men with guns want them to do? Seems to me violence, or the threat thereof, used to foce others into doing what they would not is precisely what your definition of terrorism comprises.

    FedGov agents, illegally, have kidnapped two men at the point of a gun and carried them off to a place they to not want to be..... to effect a change of mind or attitude regarding the wil of those who have taken them captive.

  • SFC MAC||

    Considering the government grabs land and uses some pretty jackbooted tactics against American citizens, you'd better include the government in that category.

  • ||

    Disappointed Richman didn't work Israel into this given his article is about terrorism as well as using the word 'occupiers'.

    'Federal government lands....ranchers stand-off....guns....blah, blah....Jews!'

  • straffinrun||

    We got injuns at least.

  • Ted S.||

    I was waiting for him to blame the Jooooooooooooos, too.

  • JWW||

    Crap. Sheldon had a sort of good article there up until the give it back to the Indians sthick.

  • straffinrun||

    Think he got that here.

  • ||

    It's kind of a legitimate analogy in this case, since the Refuge is built on what was a central piece of Indian land, that the land was finally seized as punishment for participating in an armed resistance (and really a culmination of years of harrassment for the Wadatıkıʔı to succumb to the program of cultural annihilation that destroyed the identities of most other Indians in the territory), with that little scrap up north being give back only very begrudgingly years later because after being released from the prison camps, so many came back and squatted and refused to leave. It's also relevant since it demonstrates an institutional policy inhering in federal land management since the beginning. So, really, it's wholly apt, the more I think of it. The Zionist/Paleostinian--US/Indian analgoy may or may not be of any merit, but I have seen it employed quite enthusiasticly and boldly by Israelian Jews in formulations which admit no doubt of the general preferableness, on the balance, of the Zionist/USA prevailing over the aboriginal population. On the whole I'd agree with that proposition, but people are not potatoes, so it may have zero value in many actual cases. At any rate, institutionised violence was less preferable than other means, and certainly European cultural supremacy would be more unassailable had it been established through free association and judicious use of force in support therof instead.

  • ||

    For what it's worth, I disfavour the idea that the Indians (collectively, even as a tribal collective) should "own" vast tracts of land as property only slightly less than that the fucking federal government should collectively own vast tracts of land as property, and the only use to which it puts it is buffoonishly, irresponsibly, and tyrannically administering it for the common good. The case of the Refuge, however, is a bit different, as Fish and Game at best has not harmed anything and probably has actively diminished the value of the land whilst the Piutes actually used that particular patch of land extensively and regularly for specific human purposes of real value. Again, we see a legitimate analogy with the Bundies, who are also using the Refuge for some purpose of real value to many individual moral agents, whereas Fish and Game does not openly admit the concern or reality of even its own individual actors. If nothing else, the Refuge will be because of the occupation evermore henceforth slightly less of a festering abomination hiddeous to the brain of passersby.

  • Lenny Spruce||

    Tribes are sovereign nations, as recognized by the U.S. Constitution and treaties. As such, reservations and other areas of tribal authority are not necessarily collective ownership of land but areas designated as under tribal jurisdiction. When entering areas of tribal sovereignty, essentially one is entering the territory of a separate nation that has its own governance and rules pertaining to dispensation of the land within said boundaries.

  • Allen Muncy||

    "People are not potatoes" sounds like a reference to Major Reid.

  • Tionico||

    Read yur history. Its true. FeeGov ran off the Paiutes in the late nineteenth century, sent most of them to the Yakima Reservation...... it is also true those peoples had treaties granting them all the land in Harney and three neighbouring counties. Some 1.7 million acres. And BLM got their knickers all bunched between their cheeks over 137 acres burned.... which fires INCREASED their value, per BLM figures? Get real.

  • Loki||

    Whatever's Going on in Oregon, It's Not Terrorism

    But... their white rednecks with guns. WHITE RACIST REDNECKS WITH GUNZ!!111!!111!!!!!!11!!!!

  • ||

    I don't get it why the fact that they are armed is such an outrage or even relevant. Ideally, every individual would bear the means of repelling violence. It's almost like if someone came out at a meeting to object to some public policy, and the response was to dismiss his arguments, saying, "Folks like him can't be trusted. Don't you see? He is armed and prepared to back up his objections with force. He is clearly resistant to being subjugated to the will of others by violent means. This is an outrage! And no one should listen to the arguments of anyone who is capable of resisting." So pretty much, it seems as though completely waiving your moral agency and agreeing to submit, in the end, whenever they get tired of talking, to the will of the majority, regardless its determination, is a prerequisite of pursuing one's concerns through the proper channels.

  • Loki||

    Their thinking on the matter doesn't go any deeper than "GUNZ R BAD, RACIST WHITE PEOPLE ARE BAD* THEREFORE.. TERRORISTS DERPITY DERPY DUMB."

    *And of course the modern proggie leftists believe that all white people are racists because... something about white privilege.

  • AJAF7||

    Ughm because when you use a gun in furtherance of a crime, say trespass, it's a pretty big deal. Moreover, its a felony to bring a firearm into a federal facility.

  • Harun||

    Is the left just being vengeful, or is it some ironic play on supposed right-wing fears of brown people, so now its turnabout?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Ithink both

  • ||

    At the meeting at the county fairgrounds at Burns last night, lots of citizens came forth to speak, and everyone, the first two things they said was, "I really respect law enforcement," and "While I may agree with a lot of the points being made by the Bundies, I disagree with their methods." This was kind of creepy. Twenty years ago, when my father was being prosecuted, concerned citizens talking about his case almost invariably began their comments the same way. The second part in particular is exposed rather by this comparison, since my father's objectionable methods primarily involved a program of documenting the abuse of power and having public meetings where all concerned parties were invited to say their piece (and when he went about these political activities, he usually went unusually unarmed, on the basis that was he to be carrying a weapon as normally that there would be the possibility of an overblown incident at some point that could undermine the program, and however small it be it wasn't worth the risk).

  • ||

    So, precisely the same objection was made by all right-thinking people in both cases--on one hand, the Bundies who have occupied a federal installation and bear the means to defend their position (however briefly); on the other, someone making recordings of public events and organising public meetings to try to resolve concerns unviolently. Either way, "We don't agree with their methods." It occurs to me then that this comment lacks face validity. It doesn't mean what it says. Rather, it seems to be a response one may emit in response to any serious questioning of authority, which declares the admitter to be a properly subservient peon, making very sure everyone knows he is not a dangerous revolutionary like whoever is not submitting instantly to the command of his betters. Taken as such, the way it seems almost invariably paired with declarations of adoration of LE is no mystery.

  • ||

    Let me also comment that the community response in Harney County is considerably different to what might be observed elsewhere. For one thing, although everyone had to declare his unseditiousness by saying how he disagreed with the Bundies' methods, nearly everyone also expressed some agreement with the Bundies' political statement, including the sheriff and community "leaders" (we need less leadership, more regular folk just acting responsibly); and many, perhaps most, also made a point that however much they disagreed with the methods, we must appreciate that they are actually exciting considerably more public interest in their concerns, than have years of pursuit in the proper channels. Also, only two people said anything about fear, and generally there has been no tangible atmosphere of fear in the community, even at meetings such as this which were directed by the sheriff and which had most local LE present helping to direct elderlies and infirms to seating and get everyone parking and what not. I think this is the wrong place, in this respect, for someone to make this kind of stand, since they'll never get the traction that one would get in areas where there is the more typical chasmatic difference between government overlords and the common peasantry.

  • Frankjasper1||

    What killing is going on here? Has there been any indication of violence? Why are you having these fantasies?

  • Frankjasper1||

    Yea that quote is hearsay based on what a reporter said he talked to the one. And saying the same thing in different ways is not many references. Stop projecting your violent fantasies onto me.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Sounds like more of projecting on to me.

    They are trespassing and squatting in the middle of nowhere via civil hostages, no violence, no bombs. There has been no actual indication of violence. Are you seriously comparing them to suicide bomber?? Not sure if serious...

    You seem to wish for violence here for what reasons im not quite sure.

  • Frankjasper1||

    What suicide bombing are they partaking in here? What people are being killed and where/who are thr victims?

    Next you will be telling me obama equals hitler


  • Frankjasper1||

    Ah i have heard it all...they are using suicide bomber tactics (where are these bombings and suicides exactly?) And trump is hitler

    Ah now you are comparing squatting to blowing up a federal bombing.

    Lulz. You sound intelligent...keep it up!

  • Frankjasper1||

    I dont understand what your first sentence is trying to say or how it applies to what i wrote.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Suicide bombers drink water. Squatters in Oregon drink water. WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THE CORRELATION???!?!?


  • Frankjasper1||

    Also Huffpost is known to be a pretty sensational source

  • Tionico||

    the only way they would kill or be kiled would be if Fedgov, illegally, were to launch a raid agains them using lethal force. WHY do not FedGov sit back and honestly LOOK at what they've done to the Hammones, AND to the FACT they are refusing to relinquish control over the lands they illegally hold to the people of Oregon? Seems FedGov have taken a similar "vow" to use whatever force is avaible and promises effectiveness to get THEIR way... which is continued control lf lands FedGov have no business owning or controlling. FeeGov are STEALING those lands by refusing to relinquich them to the State of Oregon, as Federa law (Constitutin) requires, and the Charter of Statehood approved by COngress then ratified by the voters of Oregon Territory.

  • Harun||

    The men who signed up to fight against the King of England for some idea called liberty most certainly included wacko crazy birds.

    The smart, civilized people probably were loyalists, or kept their head down. "These rebels should just go home! I just want to run my flour mill without any crazy talk of revolution!"

  • Harun||

    Yesterday, I listened to NPR, which in its low, concerned yet husky tone, told the story of a first-offender arsonist lady in California (who sounded black - NPR loves stories about black people.)

    They explained how the minimum sentence was 10 years and how she was only a first offender, and how we needed to reform out judicial system.

    And I had to wonder if they really covered the Hammonds case like this...and why they didn't link these two stories, because they are almost friggin' identical: arson cases with large minimums!

  • Frankjasper1||

    But but but that is different! The bundys are basically suicide bombers cause they said they dont like atrocities by the lives matter also equal suicide bombers


  • The artist known Dunphy||

    In regards to the premise (not the conclusion) which is based merely on what we collectively agree that a word means (iow it's not a statement that is empirical , that deals with real world events or has any bearing on the nobility or lack thereof of the suspects' actions) ... I disagree at least if by 'violence' we refer only to violence against living beings (which again devolves into a definitional wank)

    I am saying if you blow up a building to make a political point (doing it for insurance fraud would not be terrorism - as with most crimes - intent matters big time) even if you know with 100% certainty nobody could get hurt

    That is terrorism

    Again, it's meaningless since it's just definitional but So is the article in that respect

  • DarrenM||

    Terrorism is not just to make a political point. Look at the word TERRORism. Do you know what "terror" is? The main point of "terrorism" is to generated fear in the population. It's to use that fear as leverage to obtain other goals.

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    So if you think violence includes blowing up inanimate objects w:o any potential injury etc - then YES

    Otherwise no

    Of course crimes against persons are more evil/serious generally speaking

    And of course partisans define deviancy up or down to include or exclude property attacks depending on the narrative

    Eco terrorists destroy some Weyerhauser structure with no Risk to human life?

    Liberal sympathizer ? Not terrorism

    But opponent of ELF or ALF? Terrorism

    Reverse it

    Conservative blows up unoccupied building wherein abortions are performed ?

    Double standard Liberal (sorry for the redundancy) - oh that's terrorism
    Double standard conservative (see above) - not terrorism

    POINTLESS to argue because it's arbitrary definition

    It says NOTHING about external reality

    If one accepts the definition of terrorism to include the above stuff, it just means

  • The artist known Dunphy||

    Be consistent

  • See Double You||

    Does mere trespass constitute the kind of "violence" that would make one a terrorist?

    Were the Founders terrorists to the British Empire?

  • Bob K||

    They aren't terrorist (yet), but the Bundys are communist. They think they shouldn't have to pay for the right to use others property. Don't understand why Reason readers are backing people like that.

    As for the Hammonds, Obama should issue a pardon. They did their original time and are obviously not terrorists. The original judge in that case should be made a supreme court justice if his ruling in that case was indicative of his other rulings.

  • Frankjasper1||

    Whose property were they using without paying?

  • AJAF7||

    Under, 18 U.S. Code § 2331 the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C)occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

    Yes, clearly they are terrorists.

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  • DarrenM||

    The Left ultimately want to promote the idea that anyone who owns a gun is a "terrorist" and can therefor be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws.

  • TimothyLane||

    There is a certain logic to saying that some crimes, in which the victims are targeted more or less randomly, are more destructive to social order than others. This would apply to hate crimes and terrorism -- but also to serial killers, muggers, and mass killers as well.

  • Chocolatejeebus||

    And who did the Northern Paiutes "steal" the land from?

  • TimothyLane||

    Notice that in both of these instances, the people crying "terrorist" are the same ones who call pro-lifers and Tea Partiers terrorists. Perhaps this reflects the inherent fascism and intolerance built into modern liberalism.

  • The Rainione||

    These men are part of the Sovereign Citizen movement. That group does not believe our government has a right to make any laws. Because of that they are considered terrorists by the FBI. What they are doing now is not considered terrorism, but their movement is considered a terrorist movement.. Want a good laugh? Google Sovereign Citizen on YouTube. These people don't even believe they legally have to have a license to drive a car.

  • AJAF7||

    Why does Sheldon Richman go through pains to ignore the LEGAL definition of domestic terrorism? Under, 18 U.S. Code § 2331 the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that— (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; (B) appear to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C)occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

    Yes, they are armed and trespassing on Federal land, and they are utilizing deadly weapons in furtherance of their trespass. Indeed, contrary to the authors assertion, they have stated that they will attack/kill any officers who try to remove them. So yes they have threatened people.

    Clearly, under the LEGAL definition (the only definition that matters since terrorism is a LEGAL term) they are terrorist.

  • DarrenM||

    A. What acts have they committed that were dangerous to human life?
    B. Obviously that is not i or iii, so I assume you are saying they are attempting to influence the policy of government by intimidation or coercion. So, a threat to defend yourself in the event you are attacked by a government force is considered intimidation or coercion?

    No, "terrorism" is not just a legal term (which is NOT the only thing that matters), no more than any other word government entities have had to define to clarify what was being referred to. The word has existed for centuries.

    You're reaching. You simply want to be defined as "terrorism".

  • Tionico||

    Since FedGov should NOT own or control any lands beyond those granted it in the Constitution (which most definteily do NOT include any lands BLM (mis)manage) AND the Charter Congress granted Oregon to begin its process of becoming a state included language that ll"public lands' situate within the boundaries of the new State of Oregon would become those of that new State, the land SHOULD be ceded to the State of Oregon per that charter.

    Now, it does appear (news to me these past few days, but OK, fine..) that the Paiute and possibly other native peoples were kicked off that land dishonestly way back when, the State of Oregon would then need to begin dealing with those Peoples and this land in terms of the wrongs FedGov perpetrated upon them. Perhaps some agreement can be reached whereby the descendants of those unrightly removed could return.... whilst making some allowances for current landholders to carry on somehow as they have. Its not THEIR fault the State of Oregon granted their land patents when they should not have done.
    But for that land to continue under BLM management is WRONG.... and the crimes perpetrated against the Hammonds and others in the area need to be recompensed. Out of the trasury of the offending agency.... in this cae, BLM. These men have been seriously wronged.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    But for that land to continue under BLM management is WRONG....

    It is a bad idea. That land should be privatized.

    and the crimes perpetrated against the Hammonds and others in the area need to be recompensed.

    The Hammonds and Bundys received massive government subsidies for decades (in the form of grazing and water rights, plus direct subsidies). Now the government is ending that largesse and treating them like regular property owners: stay within the limits of your land or else. I don't see how that is a "crime".

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    If What Bill Ayers and the SDS did in the 1960's and 70's wasn't domestic terrorism, nothing is.

  • sgreffenius||

    I agree with your analysis. The key element for critics is the presence of guns. No one labeled the Occupy Wall Street protesters terrorists. When police showed up, no one expected anything other than a total rout, which is what happened. Police man-handled protesters, gassed them, threatened them with dogs and weapons, an in general treated the protesters as sub-human -- vermin, to use Michael Savage's memorable put-down.

    When you come with firearm, people on the left may call you a terrorist, but you won't be treated like vermin. Yes, authorities may shoot you, but they won't handcuff you and throw you into the back of a paddy wagon in the middle of the night. We see that the Oregon occupiers are treated with more respect than that, and that is how they should be treated. They are citizens with a grievance, not terrorists and certainly not vermin. They're entitled to respect, and entitled to be heard. If authorities listen to them, authorities will reduce the Hammonds' sentence to time served. Everyone will go home. Authorities will not listen to them, however, and people who back the feds' position will have plenty of time to vilify them, just as people on the right vilified the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

  • sgreffenius||

    Conclusion to above:

    If you think polarization in Congress is bad, consider the conversation that occurs outside of Washington when protesters take action. We have vermin and terrorists, and they all want the same thing: respect and a conviction that they are heard. The country is truly divided. Washington's divisions -- and our vocabulary -- reflect that.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    If authorities listen to them, authorities will reduce the Hammonds' sentence to time served.

    We don't live in a monarchy; "authorities" don't get to increase or reduce legal sentences on a whim. Someone might pardon those guys, but don't hold your breath. The sentence is the result of a federal court decision. It's a bad decision, but it stands for now.

    The only thing a protest can possibly achieve is to bring the issue of minimum sentences and federal land ownership to the public's attention in order to cause Congress to act. But that's a PR operation, and the Oregon protesters are doing a piss poor job at PR: not only do they communicate badly, they themselves have been the beneficiaries of massive rent seeking and crony capitalism for many decades.

    The Bundy and Hammond families lived fairly well courtesy of the government and their close and cozy relationship with it. Now the government largesse is coming to an end, and they should just deal with it. That's not a property rights issue.

    Of course, the fact that the federal government controls so much land in the West is an outrage. That land should be privatized, but that privatization should happen by auctioning it off to the general public.

  • Rational Exhuberance||

    The problem with "returning the land" is that there never was a legally well-defined group of "Northern Paiute" who owned that land: prior to US arrival, there were no titles and no records. "Returning" the land means giving it to a small number of people who often have just a tenuous or no connection with the people originally living there, while leaving out most of the people who might have ancestry with legal claims to the land out cold. That is, tribal membership is not a reasonable way of determining legal ownership.

    But there is an even bigger problem with that. The modern Northern Paiute Indians are dirt poor and giving them this land isn't going to change that. The problem with Indian reservations is that they are run like socialist countries (sometimes democratic, sometimes not), with land ownership in the hands of the state. That means that people aren't going to invest in Indian reservations to improve the land, create jobs, and create prosperity. The current system of Indian Reservations is the source of poverty, corruption, and racism. Of course, the same is true for land held by the Federal Government.

    What the Federal Government should do is privatize much of the federally held land; it could be auctioned off and the money used to pay down the debt. And we should demand from Indian Reservations that they protect private property rights within their borders and adopt a non-racist immigration policy.

  • You're Kidding||

    There is a lot of federal money pumped into those reservations. Which helps keep them dirt poor in the way that all welfare programs do.


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