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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dead Man Protesting

Right from the get-go, when I saw LaVoy Finicum bundled up and peering out from under his Blue Tarp I said to myself, "that man is dying from some kind of cancer." His gaunt features resembled the countenance of a person with AIDS or late stage cancer. Considering the cold air, the blue tarp over his head would have provided a warmer humid air for him to breathe if he already have compromised respiration.

His eagerness to die for a cause rather than succumb to illness was evident in his rhetoric. This is why I believe that he was the only person to be killed during the highway blockade on the evening of January 26. The time was ripe. He would get no second chance to be martyred rather than die in prison of his alleged disease.

Dying of something as terrible as lung cancer would be far worse than dying for one's political beliefs. My neighbor died of lung cancer several years ago.  He had that same look LaVoy had. At a Christmas openhouse party in the neighborhood he appeared after three months of not being seen. I asked him how he was doing. He replied. "I wish I were dead."

I said, "That will come soon enough."

He replied, "NOT soon enough." I let the conversation stop there. He lasted 4 more months.

LaVoy got his 15 minutes of fame and may have sparked the flames which will consume many of his sympathizers "back at the ranch." The smarter one have packed up and left. The die-hard fanatics are strutting around in false bravado proclaiming the start of a new civil war in America. Fueled by Budweiser and Jack Daniels, they will fumble around the Wildlife Refuge leaderless until the "well regulated" government forces come to take them away.

No one needs to be injured or die in the cleanup operations. These wannabe heroes of the US Constitution just need to walk out single file without their AR-15s and other guns and take their consequences. They will get far more opportunity to speak their minds to their followers if they live to get in front of a media microphone and camera.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Confrontation

There are a few items to consider in an attempt to cut through all the hoopla over a group of disaffected men taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge  building in Oregon. One side says "yeah, you go guys" while another side suggests an all-out gun battle to route them from their hole. Both of these extremes are not the appropriate response.

The more liberal side asserts that if these men were Muslims or Blacks and they took over this building while carrying formidable fire power, they would have been dealt with swiftly and mercilessly. While that might be, only if such a group tries a copycat event, will we get to see.

The question of why hasn't such a liberation of the building been done already while other "protests" in other places were quashed with violent police action has been raised. One allegation is these men are white and will be afforded special consideration. While there may be some truth in that assertion, the more rational answer is that violent action is not warranted for a simple trespassing act and a whole lot of fiery rhetoric.

This action in Oregon is (so far) little different from an Occupy movement where protesters gather, set up an encampment and suggest that more supporters show up to solidify the movement. It is little different than protesters refusing to leave the state capitol building while swearing they will stay until the government capitulates. Yes, they have guns, they have said they will fight and die for their cause, but other than trespassing no huge honking crimes have been committed.

The other reason why armed intervention has not been initiated is this is Federal property, under Federal jurisdiction and the Federal government has a huge stake in the outcome of this standoff and will be judged and misjudged for whatever way this ends.

In Occupy protests of recent years, it was city police forces directed by Mayors and State Police directed by Governors who decided "when enough was enough" and they "could not stand no more." Occupy protests were designed to disrupt business as usual in cities whereas the Oregon protesters are out in the woods where nobody really cares. Mayors and Governors acted in favor of the corporate interests who claimed they were losing business because of the protests.  No such claim is being made here.

One can scream Treason, Sedition, Terrorism all you want to, but (so far) only free speech and unlawful assembly have been exercised. There is no reason yet to ratchet up violence in response to rhetoric. In the coming days, everything might change and it will be far better that the FBI and the ATF are not the instigators of the first round of gunfire and death. I would hope these organizations learned a few lessons from the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas. The Feds can be really patient in "getting their man" if only they stay rational and not let the armchair Generals plan the battle.

Media outlets and numerous bloggers from all sides of the issue are calling for their own particular action to be taken. Drone strikes, black helicopters, police cordons, full frontal attacks, mass shoot outs and arrests all have been offered even as the FBI tries to negotiate a solution. Everyone is saying one thing or another - The government is too weak; the government is stepping on the rights of patriots; the government should come down hard on these criminals; the armed men are rebels, terrorists; the occupiers are right; the occupiers are wrong. Everyone has and expresses their opinions.  This includes myself who suggests the diplomatic approach that the Obama Administration has been willing to take in all international and domestic actions.

Diplomacy doesn't mean negotiations or capitulation. It just means "move carefully and deliberately" to bring about a resolution. Cutting power, water and cell phone services  will greatly shorten their stay since spring and warmer weather is months away.  As each offender walks out, a quiet arrest can be made.

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