How should we respond to armed militants invading, seizing, and vowing to hold a Federal installation? They are apparently all or mostly Americans, so this is treason rather than a foreign invasion.
Oh, I guess I was wrong about them being Islamic. They seem to be some other flavor of nutjob militants. Should that make any difference in our response?
A group of armed protesters took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon as part of a protest to support two ranchers who have been sentenced to jail for arson. Leading the pack of militiamen is Ammon Bundy. If that name sounds familiar is because he’s the son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who is known for his 2014 standoff with the federal government.
Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan Bundy told the Oregonian they don’t want to hurt anyone but don’t rule out violence if law enforcement tried to remove them. They’re also not planning to go anywhere anytime soon. "We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely," Ammon Bundy said. "This is not a decision we've made at the last minute." The two men refused to detail how many militiamen were taking part in the occupation but militia members claim there are as many as 150 people at the refuge.
Ammon Bundy told CNN the group was armed but wanted to be seen more as concerned citizens than a militia. “We are not terrorists,” Ammon Bundy said. "We are concerned citizens and realize we have to act if we want to pass along anything to our children." When a Guardian reporter tried to enter the federal land shortly after the occupation began he was blocked from doing so by a man armed with an “AR-15-style rifle” who said the land belonged to the people. “This public land belongs to ‘we the people,’” he said. “We’ll be here enjoying the snow and the scenery.”
I say give them 15 minutes to surrender and be taken into custody, and, if they refuse, use all necessary force to quash the rebellion.
When Native Americans occupied Wounded Knee in 1973, the response was 50 US Marshals; fifteen armored personnel carriers; grenade launchers; 133,000 rounds of ammunition; government snipers; and National Guard troops from five states.