The Bundy militia standoff at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge may have ended in mid-February, but details about this ordeal continue to trickle out. The latest news to be made public is that the militants — led by Cliven and Ammon Bundy — harassed local police for several weeks leading up to the refuge occupation.
According to the The Spokesman-Review, Ammon Bundy and another militant contacted Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward back in November with demands related to the prison sentences of two ranchers who had set fire to federal land. They wanted Ward to stop federal officials from taking the ranchers into custody. Here’s what Ward recalls of the meeting:
“It was made pretty clear to me that if I went along with their agenda, everything would be all right,” Ward said. “There was a lot of ultimatums and saber rattling.”
When Ward didn’t cave, Bundy came back on November 19 with 10 militants, as well as militants outside the building. Most were armed. Then supporters of the militants flooded the sheriff department’s phone lines. After Thanksgiving, more militants started to show up in town, harassing sheriff’s deputies and locals who criticized them. And this was all before they occupied Malheur, just to remind you. This sounds terrifying. As Sheriff Ward puts it:
“It was a very trying time,” Ward said. “I looked over my shoulder during that time more than I did in Afghanistan and Somalia.”
It sure sounds like the ordeal isn’t quite over for Ward, but at least the militants are all gone now.
(via The Spokesman-Review)