Y'All Qaeda: "Militia" In Oregon Actually Just Terrorists
By now, you’ve probably all heard the shocking news about a terrorist group in Oregon who has taken over a federal building. It’s a national emergency, but there’s a big problem with how it’s being covered in the media. It isn’t being labeled a terrorist attack—and that matters.
The terrorists who took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon were all white, not what we perceive as stereotypical terrorists. And thus the phrasing used to describe them includes “armed protesters,” “outside militants,” and “armed anti-government protesters.” America today is a place where Muslim people are assumed to be terrorists, and young black men are being killed by police at five times the rate of young white men. To use the word ‘protester’ for these people in Oregon, especially after a year of violent backlash against the Black Lives Matter protest movement, is wrong. Here’s the information you need to know about the terrorist group in Oregon.
The Hammond Family
A divisive jail sentence started this whole mess. The Acting U.S. Attorney in Oregon, Billy J. William, described the case to the Burns Times Herald last month.
“Five years ago, a federal grand jury charged Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammond with committing arson on public lands and endangering firefighters,” he wrote. “Steven Hammond was also found guilty of committing a second arson in 2006.”
Prosecutors claimed that the Hammonds set a fire that burned about 130 acres in 2001, to cover up illegal poaching. It’s an important case in the ranching community, because the Hammonds were publicly targeted, and subsequently given a harsh sentence of five years in prison for their crimes. Meanwhile, the family claims that they set the fire to reduce the growth of invasive plants onto their property, and to reduce the risk of wildfires. That’s painfully ironic, considering they set a wildfire that took about 130 acres of public land out of public use for two years, according to the prosecutor. The fire was supposed to hide the illegal slaughter of a herd of deer. But it was unsuccessful and the Hammonds were set to report to prison today for their five year sentence.
Thirty miles southeast of the wildlife refuge building in the town of Burns, an estimated 300 marchers paraded through the streets, protesting the prosecution of the Hammond family. A terrorist group within the protest broke off from the parade and headed toward the wildlife refuge that they now occupy, which leads to the power dynamic happening within the walls of the building. See, there’s another ranching dynasty at the center of this ongoing crisis–and this one is no stranger to violent run-ins with the federal government.
The Bundy Family
One of the leaders of the terrorist group holed up inside of the federal building is Ammon Bundy. This is a pretty big plot development, especially if you keep up with radical white rancher drama like I do—the Real Housewives of Harney County is wild this season. Ammon is the 40-year-old son of renowned racist Cliven Bundy, who famously led an armed standoff against the federal government in 2014 over a cattle-grazing dispute. His son Ammon is chilling with two of his brothers, along with as many as 100 supporters. Luckily, there are no hostages, because the office managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was closed for the holiday weekend. The terrorist group occupied the building on Saturday after the protest through Burns.
Since Saturday night, Ammon Bundy and one of his brothers, Ryan Bundy, have been doing telephone interviews to relay their message. “We will be here as long as it takes,” Bundy said. “We have no intentions of using force upon anyone, (but) if force is used against us, we would defend ourselves.” The duo has also made statements that they are willing to occupy the buildings for years if they have to. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they went all open-invite on Facebook and literally invited everyone pissed off at the government to join them.
“We are using the wildlife refuge as a place for individuals across the United States to come and assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources,” he said. “The people will need to be able to use the land and resources without fear as free men and women. We know it will take some time.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard about a radical armed group of terrorists taking over land and inviting other angry people who share the same ideology to join their ranks. It’s called ISIS.
The Internet’s Response
— Mr. Kinney (@MrKinneyTweets) January 3, 2016
— Lars Petticord (@fatdownjacket) January 3, 2016
#YallQaeda – where armed insurrection is an act of patriotism as long as you're white
— Dreamweasel (@Dreamweasel) January 4, 2016
On Saturday, January 2nd, news broke of the terrorist takeover in Oregon on social media, under the hashtag #OregonUnderAttack. By Sunday, a critique of the media coverage had appeared, with the brilliant #YallQaeda and #WHISIS hashtags. People quickly began comparing the events in Oregon to those surrounding the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of police—a murder that no officers were indicted for. The tweets really get to the heart of what’s wrong here–it’s an ongoing terrorist occupation. If Black Lives Matter protestors (who practice nonviolence) prompted numerous calls for the National Guard, and led to government spying on prominent leaders within the movement, a building full of armed white terrorists and the white supremacist movement as a whole should be considered a legitimate threat to national security. There is no grey area here. The Bundy brothers and the other white people in the federal building are terrorists. Let’s push to be critical of media coverage and focus on these very real threats to American citizens.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on this ongoing situation.
Images via Jim Urquhart and the U.S. Department of Justice.