The Federal Tyranny Armed Oregon Militants Never Recognize
I’ve only been superficially engaged in the story happening in West Idaho – er, Eastern Oregon – with Ammon Bundy and the armed Oregon militants holed up in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Mostly, I’m following the #YallQaeda and #VanillaISIS hashtags on Twitter, which aren’t really fair comparisons to the so-called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, since al Qaeda and Vanilla Ice actually had a national hit.
These ersatz patriots have a complaint about some federal tyranny involving a mandatory minimum sentence handed out for a couple of guys, Dwight and Steven Hammond, who set fires that burned federal land. There’s actually some merit to the idea that terrorism charges shouldn’t be doled out for this sort of arson. Even the judge who sentenced the arsonists said a five-year mandatory minimum “would not meet any idea I have of justice, proportionality … it would be a sentence which would shock the conscience to me.”
The whole story just reminds me of the question I’ve been asking my conservative, gun-loving, redneck friends and relatives back home in Idaho for years: Why are you so hell-bent on supporting states’ rights, defending the Second Amendment, and fighting the tyranny of the federal government, but you never speak up about ending the War on Drugs?
This standoff in Oregon is the second time a Bundy has led fellow armed citizens in a stand-off against the federal government. Ammon’s father, Cliven, was that Nevada rancher who in 2012 faced off against government agents over his failure to pay grazing fees for his ranching on federal lands.
Supporters of Cliven Bundy went so far as to set up sniper positions, locked and loaded, against federal agents. The federal government never responded in kind and backed off without giving the militants the conflagration many of them wish for, just as they’re doing now in Burns.
Now, if Cliven Bundy had been growing a few thousand medical marijuana plants on his land, or Ammon Bundy was armed and occupying his home medical marijuana grow site, do you think the federal government would be so non-confrontational? Or would they send body-armor-clad agents with military-grade weaponry to raid the Bundys, lobbing flash-bang grenades into their toddler’s cribs and shooting their family dogs, and then sentence them to a ten-year mandatory minimum, like Eddy Lepp, or a five-year mandatory minimum, like Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer?
These Bundys talk a good game about getting the federal government out of the business of the states and the landowners. But are they upset that the federal government owns 54.5 percent of the land in the legalized marijuana states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington? Do they realize that means legal pot smokers can face federal charges if caught in over half of their state by an officer of the Forest Service, National Park Service, or the Bureau of Land Management?
Here in Oregon, #YallQaeda are holed up, begging for snacks and reacting badly to deliveries of bags of dicks, calling for other armed patriots to join their occupation of a building nobody cares if they hold.
Does #VanillaISIS realize that few of us pot smokers, now legal in this state, could bear arms to join them, since the Gun Control Act of 1968 forbids the selling of arms and ammunition to a person who is “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance”?
Funny how you never hear these militia-types address that issue. For decades now, they’ve warned us to resist federal efforts to register guns and gun owners, since that would be used to take away citizens’ Second Amendment rights. But in almost every medical marijuana state, that mandatory listing that costs you your gun rights is called a “patient registry”.
Do they not recognize that cultivating even one marijuana plant is a federal felony and a felony in many states, too? And that a felony conviction is grounds for disarming a citizen? Why do we not see the militia members occupying federal courthouses demanding an end to this tyranny? For that matter, where is the NRA in defending the Second Amendment rights of legal pot smokers?
I guess conservatives ignoring marijuana prohibition is one of the odd bits of political cognitive dissonance I just cannot explain, like how President Obama, who was allegedly born in a foreign country to an American woman, is not a “natural born citizen” eligible to be president, but Senator Cruz, who was actually born in a foreign country to an American woman, is a “natural born citizen” eligible to be president. It’s almost as if conservatives are deciding these Constitutional issues not by the merits of the law but rather by whom that law benefits. (Unlike liberals, who evaluate issues of privacy and extra-judicial killing based on which party holds the presidency.)