That’s the word that every media outlet under the sun is emphasizing in their coverage of a small group of ranchers and extremists who have decided that knowingly entering and remaining upon a Federal facility (the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge) while it’s closed is a good idea. By the way, that amounts to a “petty misdemeanor” under Federal law.
Sure there is a lot of banter, and they have guns. Okay. But even if these ‘militiamen’ broke in to the building, or entered through an unlocked door, under Federal Statutes, it’s still just a burglary. Yes, it’s also unlawful to carry weapons on Federal property. Still not a violent act in and of itself.
So while it may not be a wise career move for me to dispute our Opinion Editor’s position, I’m going to, simply on the basis that what’s unfolding in the high plains desert of Oregon is in to no way terrorism.
Could it reach the threshold of terrorism? Yes. But at this point in time, this is a group of folks who perceive a long history of grievances against the Federal government, some based on the historical events within their own family – and some who simply align with the Mormon / LDS religious beliefs of the ideological leaders of this undertaking, the Bundy family.
As I’ve spoken to before, terrorism involves violent acts, or acts dangerous to human life. That again is based in Federal statutes. So where has it been reported that a single shot has been fired in this ‘armed takeover’ of this Fish and Wildlife Service facility? It hasn’t. Because it hasn’t happened.
These are dangerous people, with dangerous ideology, a grudge against the Federal Government of the United States,
The facility is in an area with a lesser population density than Wyoming, or Alaska. Even if there was a shot fired, there’s no one around for miles. How does this present an act dangerous to human life, if there’s nobody to get shot?
Yes, when Law Enforcement enters the area, the likelihood for an armed conflict rises exponentially. This is a group with which Federal law enforcement has some experience, and though these folks profess to be ‘ready to die for the cause’, the much more attended events at the Bundy Ranch were resolved peacefully.
Then again, they also weren’t occupying and refusing to leave a Federal facility in that case.
Brass tax – I am not delusional.
These are dangerous people, with dangerous ideology, a grudge against the Federal Government of the United States, and who have displayed a willingness to use violence, or the threat of violence to achieve the outcome that they desire.
The Bundy Ranch standoff is fresh in many people’s minds. But let’s not blow things out of proportion either. Yes, the headlines are flashy, and it gets people all worked up, which generates click-throughs and ratings – but at the end of the day – we have not reached the point of terrorism.
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