It’s been nearly six weeks since a group of well-armed militants drove to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, took control of its headquarters, and posted guards in camouflage outside. As regular readers know, the militia members, led in part by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, controversial rancher Cliven Bundy’s sons, said they were willing to kill and be killed if necessary in their effort to have federal land turned over to local authorities.
As of last night, the standoff appears to be nearly over. Ammon and Ryan Bundy were taken into custody, and late last night, their notorious father was also arrested. The Oregonian reported:
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch. […]He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer – the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges. The Bundy Ranch Facebook page reported Cliven Bundy was surrounded by SWAT officers and detained after his arrival from Nevada.
For those needing a refresher, two years ago, there was an armed confrontation between federal law enforcement and Cliven Bundy’s well-armed supporters in Nevada. The Obama administration, in the interest of public safety, chose not to escalate matters against the rancher, who claims not to recognize the legitimacy of the United States government, and the underlying dispute went unresolved.
Bundy continued to ignore multiple court orders and he still owes the United States more than $1 million after he was fined for grazing on protected land.
Last spring, he seemed to realize he was in an unsustainable position. “It’s hard to tell, but the feds, they’re probably going to do something,” Bundy told the L.A. Times. “[T]hey’re probably just standing back, looking at things.”
And speaking of things being over, the standoff in Oregon is likely to wrap up today. NBC News reported overnight:
FBI agents surrounded the last four armed occupiers of an Oregon wildlife refuge on Wednesday night, a dramatic turn in the slow-moving, six-week standoff.Negotiations were under way and no shots have been fired, according to the FBI’s Portland office…. The remaining occupiers have said they would turn themselves in Thursday morning. Sean Anderson, one of the four, said “We’re not surrendering, we’re turning ourselves in. It’s going against everything we believe in,” the Associated Press reported.
For the record, I’m not sure what the difference is between “surrendering” and “turning ourselves in.”
Regardless, by all accounts, only four militants remain inside the building, so once they give up, the standoff will be over.
To date, there was only one violent incident as part of this ordeal – an exchange of gunfire in late January that left Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum dead.