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#193084 - 01/08/16 04:30 PM Malheur Wildlife Refuge "occupation"
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6742
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I thought I'd start a new topic here. As you probably know, the Bundy folks who were making headlines in Nevada in the past turned up in eastern Oregon's Harney County to "occupy" the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. For the moment, things are calm but no progress is being made, either.

In about two months, the spring bird migration will start and zillions of waterfowl, including sandhill cranes, snow and Ross' geese (hard to tell those two apart), and you name it will arrive at Malheur. The sage grouse will start doing their mating displays at the leks on the dry parts of the refuge, and the sandhill cranes (enormous, spectacular birds) will be dancing in the swampy meadows. The spring migration is the big tourist draw for the Harney County area, and if the Refuge is still closed in March, local businesses will suffer severely. Some of the rarer bird populations will also suffer if the "occupiers" decide to shoot their own food. There's a big birding festival in Burns the first week of April that I wanted to attend, but of course it will be cancelled if the refuge is still shut down.

While I do have a little sympathy with the two local ranchers who have just had to return to jail after serving their sentences for setting fires in the wrong places (I'm not fond of mandatory minimum sentences), even they have asked the "occupiers" to shut up and go away.

Here's a slightly humorous take: Enraged Birders to Retake Oregon Wildlife Refuge. Never underestimate the power of birders!

Seriously, these "occupiers" are arguing that the Federal Government has no Constitutional right to own land. and that everything should be privatized. I'm not too sure where this notion came from. In fact Article IV, Section 3, second paragraph strongly implies that Federal territory or property is the responsibility of Congress.

OK, I've said my piece, have at it, folks!

Edited by OregonMouse (01/08/16 04:33 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#193085 - 01/08/16 06:04 PM Re: Malheur Wildlife Refuge "occupation" [Re: OregonMouse]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3149
Loc: Portland, OR
I have been discussing this situation elsewhere already and have taken a perverse interest in following the (non-television) news accounts.

I well understand that rural areas of the Great Basin are having economic difficulties. God knows it is a harsh place to scrape out a living and always has been. But they seem not to realize the degree to which their way of life is also heavily subsidized by federal policies and programs, and that their local economies are FAR more prosperous and stable today than they were before the New Deal and these subsidies were instituted. They seem to take the benefits for granted, as their due, rather than as direct subsidies granted them by the entire country, because we think rural poverty is bad for the nation as a whole.

Moreover, these particular "militia" men who are holding the Malheur Refuge hostage in order to publicize their views, seem to hold ideas on the Constitution and history that, as soon as they are compared to the facts of history and matters of public record, their version of the world is shown to be a strange romantic fantasy with little grounds in reality. This would be fairly harmless, if they weren't heavily armed and ready to defend their fantasyland beliefs with real bloodshed.

I hope this can be resolved soon and without shots fired in anger, but their current intransigence in the face of reasonable requests by the local population for them to leave doesn't bode well. At the very least, they need to be arrested for their obvious misdemeanors, convicted and spend some time under probationary supervision.


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