This past Saturday Ammon and Ryan Bundy and a group of about 150 armed militia men took over the unoccupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. No media outlet reported the news from the onset of the event that unfolded (Unlike San Bernardino or Sandy Hook). Some mainstream media outlets were under fire for the way they reported the incident. ABC News titled their headline, "Peaceful protest followed by Oregon wildlife refuge action." A former US Marshall and analyst on CNN was rebuked for the comments he made about the militia men being more peaceful than the #Blacklivesmatter movement.
They are "not looting anything," said Art Roderick of CNN. Other media outlets talk down on the protesters, labeling them as "gun toting protestares."
A backlash of criticism fell its way
when people began voicing their opinion on the issue. Tweets started rolling in, such as these.
An outcry poured out as people vented their frustrations on how the media downplayed the severity of the incident. Had a group of black people or Muslims gathered to protest on federal land, they would be treated differently by federal law enforcement. The armed militia men have not shot a single round, held anyone hostage nor damaged any property. So why are people so fired up by this controversy? Currently many individuals are unsatisfied by the way minorities are being treated by police officers. Last year, police officers killed a total of 1136 people. Of the 1136, 301 were black. Although more white people were killed (578), the controversy on how police respond to black people remains. Cops are more likely to perceive black people as threats and have displayed horrendous treatment when responding to an incident involving a black individual. Take for example the shooting of Tamir Rice. A 12 year old black boy with a toy bb gun, in a state of open carry, was shot within 2 seconds by police upon approaching Tamir. Yet when a group of white militia men armed and ready to take over a federal building, no one is shot or killed.
Another prime example in comparison was the recent #Blacklivesmatter protest in New York where police arrested several unarmed citizens.The response from the FBI and local police force of Oregon has thus called into question why law enforcement officials are so quick to escalate a situation with a black person instead of reasoning in a peaceful manner (as displayed by the FBI and the Bundy's). After all, the men did break the law when storming into a federal building and occupying it.
Although the media is shedding light on scrutinizing the Bundy's and militia men for being domestic terrorists, there are some facts to examine before making a decisive decision. Two local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond were charged of terrorism for spreading fire from their own lands onto Government owned land from 2001-06. This was in retaliation to the government for taking land that belonged to the family and for grazing fees on land that the Bundy family had since the 1870's. After serving their sentence, Dwight and Steven were charged another 5 years in prison by a grand jury because they felt their time served was insufficient for the amount of damage they caused. Dwight and Steven both claimed they would turn themselves in Monday afternoon, but Ammon Bundy and the militia men are keen on going nowhere until a reasonable and peaceful resolution with the federal government can be made.
Aside from the point that there are frustrating opinions on whether or not it is appropriate to label these men as domestic terrorists, there are a lot of controversies that build up when examining all the different angles of the situation that unfolded this past Saturday. It is a fact that police officers find other skin complexions more of a threat, so it becomes questionable why the FBI and local police authorities did not resort immediately to violence (a shoot out). It is also true that the media would have treated this story differently had it been a group of Muslims or blacks that invaded this federal building. A historical context may better explain the current situation.
In 1773, a group of American Colonists fed up with paying taxes to the British Crown dumped a huge shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor. The incident resulted in 0 deaths and injuries and catapulted the stage for the American War of Independence and the Declaration of Independence. Had these brave men failed to stand up for what they believed in, our country would not be the United States of America. We as American's should be working together for our due process rights and our freedom rather than arguing and pointing fingers. The situation of the story has proved that instead of the Unites States of America, our country is further becoming the divided states of America. The US government is spending billions of dollars in it's military and other terrorist organizations (ISIS, Cartels) overseas to continue the ongoing violence in the middle east and other countries as well. With a vast amount of innocent civilians being murdered because of our government, shouldn't the people call into question the actions taken by our leaders? Are those who practice civil disobedience and stand up for what is right truly terrorists?
All facts and statistics attributed to: