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The Aftermath of Ammon Bundy’s Arrest
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Oregon after Ammon Bundy's arrest.

The Oregon militia standoff has been going on since early January (you can read more about it here, in our article explaining the reasons behind it). Recently, eight leaders of the group were arrested, including the ringleader Ammon Bundy. Several militants were shot, after shots were allegedly fired by the militants. Additionally, Robert “LeVoy” Finicum was killed in the altercation after appearing to reach into his pocket, ostensibly to get the loaded handgun that cops later found there.

Some have cited Finicum as a martyr for the cause, but according to The Hill, “‘I think he is being portrayed as a martyr in some circles at this point, but I think for most people, what happened with the entire armed occupation is that the public and most Americans realized what this movement truly is, which is a fringe movement driven by radical anti-government extremists,’ said Jessica Goad, the advocacy director at the Center for Western Priorities.”


The FBI didn’t raid the nature preserve. Rather, six of the militants were driving to an anti-government rally 70 miles north of the Malheur preserve. Two others were arrested on the road, as well, and one other turned himself in.

The militants were arrested on “a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.” Congress enacted this law in 1861. The full statute reads:

If two or more persons in any State, Territory, Possession, or District conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof, or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave the place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.

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Interestingly, this law has been used for both questionably good and certainly bad offenses. Often, it’s invoked against environmental activists or protesters, such as four people protesting the war in Iraq in 2004. Additionally, a man associated with the group Earth First! was arrested when trying to impede a federally-arranged mountain lion hunt in Arizona. However, it has also been used to prevent violent attacks, such as former Jewish Defense League member Earl Kruger’s 2001 plot to bomb a mosque in Southern California.

One of the foremost myths that the militia is proffering is that they are there for the locals of Burns, Oregon. However, many locals have made it clear that they want the militia members gone. According to Business Insider, “We just want to go back to the way we were,” Barbara Ormond, who owns a quilt store in downtown Burns, said Saturday. “We want everyone to leave us alone.” Additionally, they quote another local: “It’s tearing the community apart,” said Bonnie Angleton, who owns a gift shop downtown. “I care about the people who live here.” Reuters reports that “Mayor Craig LaFollette said the protesters were mostly outsiders who had disrupted the community, adding: ‘We don’t want them here.'”

The removal of the militia’s leadership seems to have crippled the remaining militants pretty significantly. Only four people remain at the lodge in Malheur, and Bundy has even told them to leave. According to Business Insider, “Lawyers for Ammon Bundy said they have recorded a phone call with their client telling the four people remaining at the refuge that it is ‘his authentic desire for them to stand down.’ In the call released by his lawyers, Bundy said ‘go home to your families.'”

As of now, the four remaining militants are still holding out at the preserve – although it seems pretty clear that they’ve lost their battle.


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