With the standoff in Oregon nearing the end of its second day, it’s time for a quick rundown of what you need to know about this occupation that could potentially last for years. For those who don’t know, we woke yesterday to the news that armed men had taken over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, a federal building. These protesters have denounced the federal government and are planning on “getting the ranchers back to ranching.” The men say they are willing to die for their cause and will return any force used against them. Reports about how many men exactly haven’t been verified, with numbers ranging from 15 to 150. The wildlife refuge remains closed to the public, but all employees are safe.
But how did this all start? Militia leader Ammon Bundy, son of controversial rancher Cliven Bundy, who nearly started a skirmish with the federal military last year, and his brothers led the takeover. The Bundys have had a long history of issues with the government, and this standoff developed after a peaceful protest over arson charges for Dwight and Steve Hammond after fires they started damaged public lands. The group and other ranchers disagree with how laws affect them and their land, and they even hope to “spark a movement across the United States.”
The response to the standoff has caused some confusion. It’s being compared to “domestic terrorism,” but so far the federal government has yet to step in and take back the building. The story was largely ignored by news outlets, and comparisons have been drawn between Ferguson and other more pro-active government incidents. Luckily, Twitter hasn’t skipped a beat in finding levity in the situation.
Stay tuned for further developments in the standoff.