Nobody ever hears about anything that goes on in the Middle of Nowhere, Oregon, but when they do, it’s about approximately 150 heavily armed white men all topped with a cowboy hat or a camo baseball cap. Amazing.
Protesting beginning on Jan. 2, this group that calls themselves “Citizens for Constitutional Freedom” occupied a government building on the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve located in Princeton, Oregon, refusing to leave, and even rejecting the local sheriff’s offer for a safe leave. As of right now, they’re on their eleventh day of protest.
On Tuesday, LaVoy Finicum, one of the group’s leaders, said that they will be revealing the date of their departure on Friday.
Led by Ammon Bundy of the infamous Bundy family, the rancher took to Facebook to post a recruitment video for his cause. In the video, he evokes “American patriots” to arm themselves against the U.S. government to “assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources.”
However, on Jan. 6, the Native American Paiute tribe claimed the land to be part of their ancestral land, so let me rephrase the protesters’ goal: they want to “assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back [the] land and resources [their ancestors stole from the Native Americans after torturing and killing them].
But there’s no need to worry: Bundy promised that “we are not terrorists.”
Well, of course they aren’t terrorists. Terrorists are supposed to be dark skinned, non-Christian, and not American. This group of armed, devout Mormon, anti-government group of white men can’t be terrorists, right?
In truth, just because Bundy claims his group is not a terrorist group doesn’t make it true. I could say that I’m family friends with Queen Elizabeth, and it doesn’t take much to know how false that is.
The Department of Defense Dictionary Military and Related Terms defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence, often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs, to instill fear and coerce governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are usually political.”
A large group of heavily armed men propelled by anti-government ideology with no legitimate power have possessed Federal property, threatening to resist government officials with their weapons if the officials exerted any force to evacuate them. Their goal is to force the government to complete their politically driven want: turning over land to people they say they represent. This is without a doubt, 100 percent, terrorism.
With this, it’s alarming that major news sources are still calling the group “militia,” “occupiers,” and “armed activists”– terms far from the derogatory, fear-instilled word, “terrorists” that would be automatically implied if the protesters were dark skinned.
The double standard is unsettling. In 2014, Tamir Rice, a 12- year-old black boy playing with a toy gun was shot by a police officer in Cleveland, no second thought given, and these heavily armed men can refuse a peaceful offer to leave the building from the sheriff. Unarmed black men– “thugs” –as the media deems them, in #BlackLivesMatter protests are beaten by police with batons and tear gassed while the protesters lounge in the government building, being comfortably interviewed by various news sources. A group of Muslims could mirror the actions of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, but they would not be entering day eleven of their protest.
They would be dead by now. And America would be exuberant that the feds got rid of the “terrorists.”
Why are the police willing to wait? Politicians and law enforcement should begin to acknowledge the harsh truth that extremists that “look American” with “American” names can too be a threat.
I’m certainly not saying that the protesters should be beaten and killed, how the police treat any person of color without even thinking twice. However, it’s prevalent that the double standard in our flawed justice system, along with the media, prefers white men over any person of color.
Commentaries are the expressed opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Fourcast staff, its adviser or any member of the Hockaday community.
Cheryl Hao – Asst. Castoff Editor