Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

One land-- or many fiefdoms?

 shared from Facebook

Oregonians have been facing an issue that maybe isn't of as much interest to those in other states, but it should be because it has deeper repercussions than some might realize. When the Malheur Wildlife Refuge was occupied by militia members from mostly other states, it started a debate over public lands and whether there is a right for such to exist. The debate goes beyond that to whether each state/county should make their own laws and the federal concept of one nation (except to fight foreign wars) should be eliminated. It's not a new battle for this country but rather shocking that it's being fought again in 2016.

If those, willing to use guns and make their argument with their willingness to fire bullets, can win this, what will they claim next? Most of these militia types do not believe the government, which in our country means the people, should own anything. It should all be in private ownership which means under the control of the local rancher or the richest people. 

When ranchers can cut off access to wilderness areas, which were often long-used by the public, they do so with fences and locks. If those using outlaw methodology can win that way in Harney county, it won't stop there. Never forget, they are not claiming it for the people but for a few people-- some of whom graze it now for pennies in comparison to what other ranchers pay for leasing private land for their stock. What we are seeing in Oregon is what amounts to an attempted land grab with guns.

What they are attempting would be called theft if they arrived on my land and decided they'd live in my house and change my fences and roads to suit themselves. But for some reason, this has been allowed to go on and on and on. There have been a lot of articles on it for those who have not heard about it.


Some claim innocent ranchers were put in prison as terrorists when they were not. Before defending the ones who gave the Bundys the excuse to do this, check out who these two guys were. This doesn't even address accusations earlier that the younger Hamilton abused his nephew as part of 'disciplining' him. 

What is ironic is why didn't all of this come out months ago as the Hamilton case has been a story in the farm papers for months. If the government is responsible for any of this happening, I'd say their lack of putting out the information regarding this family contributed certainly-- although militia groups have just been looking for excuses and a place to do what they want which is take over. If the meanest and most brutal take over, what will happen? Well, read about the Hamiltons for a good idea.

The claim is made by these militants that they are returning the land to the people. Strange talk indeed because it is owned by the people now, managed for their use. IF these yahoos got their way, the only ones able to use it would be the ranchers who could graze it to dust if they wished. 

This is a land grab attempt and if the US government doesn't recognize that, worse will come. There are those who do not want national parks, refuges or wilderness areas, those who only value $$$, and then only when in their own hands.

I've often thought, when hiking on BLM or National Forest land, or when visiting state or federal parks, how wonderful it is that earlier generations set aside land for the people of the future. I thought how wildernesses are disappearing and without the foresight of those like Roosevelt, there'd be no Yellowstone or Grand Canyon as we know it. Always the rich wanted to set those places aside for themselves to charge anyone else or even prevent their entering. It's not a new story we are seeing. What is new is now it's our generation's time to step up to bat. Or do we let oligarchs and the ones who believe might comes through weapons to take over.

Writing my new book, one of the places I had to research was San Francisco and got a surprise when I learned that Golden Gate Park was created over the objections of the local oligarchs of that time, who wanted a race track or some other use that would suit their exclusivity desires.

The although fictional, this thinking was in my historical, Love Waits-- the desire to set up a militia, who will make things better than government. Nothing new with it as there are always those willing to take what they didn't work to earn. In Love Waits, the leader manipulated those he deemed weaker than himself. It fed his desire for power. Such people can make all sorts of excuses but in reality, it's always about them and not for the benefit of anyone else.

Historically, what we are seeing in the Malheur is not new. It is just new people leading it, some of whom are religious extremists of the Mormon type. When Bundy claimed he's following God's will in this and the example of the angel Moroni, who was in their Book of Mormon, he pretty well shows where this is heading. Once again, we are seeing religious extremism threaten the lives of others and once again it does not come from the religion it claims. The Mormon Church does not condone what he's doing but there is a history there and he's claiming it as have so many other religions extremists from many religions.

It has been very disappointing that we think we have these issues settled, that Americans see the value of large swaths of land available for multiple purposes, that parks have values, that migrating birds need to be protected, that environmental issues matter to city folk even if they don't know it. We think we settled the value of having parks, places for the public to use, but it seems it's never really settled and each generation has to go through it again.

Below are photos of what it is like to be in places that have been set aside for not only the birds and animals, but for humans to re-create themselves. Think long and hard before allowing such to be taken away for one man's profit over the value of such places to benefit all men.

I guarantee you if the United States federal government lets Bundy and his ilk get away with this, such places will not be there for future generations. This is not a good time to be distracted by minutia. It is a time to pay attention to terms like sagebrush rebellion and Posse Comitatus because where this is going is beyond one refuge.


Tara Crowley said...

I've said from the beginning: arrest them either on Federal property or as they come off of it. Do not let any supplies whatsoever in.

This is nuts. I'm surprised Palin hasn't joined them. They are of her ilk.

Linda Kay said...

Kind of reminds me of an old feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. There was a feud in Texas that lasted over 40 years, and is still talked about.

Rain Trueax said...

Arizona has one like that too, Linda-- Pleasant Valley, Grahams and Tewksburys, and Zane Grey even used it in one his westerns, To the Last Man, and it did come down to that. The thing is these guys came in from outside looking for an excuse to do what they did and probably a nice building to occupy. They want to take land they didn't buy and a few probably are hoping they succeed. The militia movement though worries me for bigger stakes than our wildlife refuge.

Rain Trueax said...

Looks like the government finally took a stand. Time will tell what exactly happened or how it went down. But considering how they have shot and killed blacks who stepped out of line, this has gone on way too long. The worst part is the belief it's put out that the government will never do anything. Shots fired in militia standoff. Eventually we will know more but our government had to stand up for the law eventually and these guys pushed it to the last with their belief they could take land at the point of a gun.