As much as we’d like to call the Bundy Family Cohorts a bunch of terrorists for taking over an empty so-called federal bunkhouse in the middle of nowhere that was once Paiute land, we can’t because they haven’t killed anyone. Every time you read about this situation there are hidden details that make you go yes, no, hmm, wtf. Those Paiutes were removed by federal troops after the last official Indian War, “relocated” in the snow some 300 miles away. Those nasty feds won’t do to these resisters what they did to the Dann sisters, unarmed Shoshone women ranchers who were beaten and bloodied, their horses confiscated and sold by BLM “thugs” over a similar land-use issue.
This episode of The Bundy Family Foibles sit-com is once again a bunch of angry white guys, well-armed with semi-automatic weapons, but apparently they left snacks and socks behind according to a social media post. Then one of the Bundy Twitter accounts went dark—perhaps a conspiracy? Or it’s what happens when you try to start a war against the government. And those packages of snacks will not be delivered by the federal mail, nor will the roads be plowed by county plows and the public phone will go dead and no electricity, no power. No power is the operative phrase as national militia and patriot organizations disavow their actions, but may agree with whatever principles they espouse. Wrong fight, wrong place, wrong strategy, they won’t support the wrong guys with the wrong stuff.
The locals are pissed off and just want them gone, basically viewing them as outside agitators who hijacked their protest over the Hammond father and son who voluntarily turned themselves into the feds and are returning to serve jail sentences that probably are excessive. It’s not those 150 protestors from Burns, Oregon who have every right to protest, it’s a dozen dudes in the Bundy Cohort. You can read what the Hammonds actually did and why they disavow any connection to the Bundys. Their issue is now being co-mingled and added to the debate over federal mandatory minimum sentencing. The local judge thought the sentencing guidelines excessive and the Hammonds did serve his minimum but the federal appeals judge said go back and finish the “lawful” federal 5 years. Their lawyer said they will ask for clemency from the feds, meaning President Obama. I probably got something wrong in there, but so is everyone else, from the feds to the Hammonds to the right-wingers and the liberals and the media.
And especially the Bundys. They said they would last at Malheur for years but according to their provisions, it’s a couple weeks at the most, which means how long they can hold out in real harsh conditions as they attempt to save some face. Will they outlast Indians of All Tribes at Alcatraz or AIM at Wounded Knee? I bet not even close. They already laid out an exit-option that the feds can just sign a paper and they will go away. Again with Indian references, “this is our land, you stole our way of life, if you sign this treaty it will make everything all right, we are starving! where are our commodities?” There are Indians laughing into their mittens about who can survive in those conditions and how will they do it and they also are taking bets.
Why does this episode of the Bundy Family Foibles look more like comedy than tragedy? Again no one is going to die, unless it’s one of them by accident. I’m betting on the Islamophobe Jon Ritzheimer who posted a tearful video declaring his intent to die, if need be, in a hail of federal bullets. He has taken a position at the front point, guns in his truck waiting for an attack that will never come. There are a number of scenarios in which he could be martyred but not by federal bullets. So we need to ignore the “terror” of the situation, since that is always the advice given, ignore terror and it will go away. But since the Bush Neo-Con Family stole two elections and implemented plans that had already been prepared, this nation has been living in fear, willing to dis-assemble the constitutional rights many of the current crop of agitators and the politicians that cater to them say they are fighting for. Question mark. Exclamation point. So who’s the terrorist in that scenario, random groups or state-sponsored? But I digress.
This Bundy Cohort (now dubbed Y’all Qaeda or Vanilla ISIS) kind of resembles Daesh (ISIL) as do the open carry gun wingos that want America, the nation, to look like Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria where everyone carries guns. Is this what spreading democracy comes down to, open carry guns everywhere? The only winners for now are white supremacist dot coms selling anti-US Gov’t paraphernalia to other closeted bigots. America, the country, has different attitudes and values than the fear-mongers who are naming terror where it doesn’t exist and defending God Knows What but it ain’t America, the Ideal or the Dream.
There is so much to follow in this reality sit-com of ‘Merica’s favorite dysfunctional family (after the Kar-cash-ians), and it’s being carried all over the inter-webs so you can follow reality mixed with fantasy, conservative denials and liberal faux rage. 40 million birders (ie: birdwatchers) are already organized to #takebackmalheur and they are pissed and they have cameras to document everything. But remember if they say it’s not terror because nobody has died then Native Americans become experts in such textbook definitions of genocide, ethnic cleansing and terrorism. The experts also say that just because a few of Donald Trump’s “Brown Shirts” may beat a few protesters does not signal a full on Fascist Social Movement. Not yet, anyway. That tragi-com has new episodes coming up this political season.
Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.