The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Monday, January 04, 2016

Key Things to Know About the Militia Standoff in Oregon

Armed protesters are occupying a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon and asking militia members around the country to join them. The protesters went to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday following a peaceful rally in support of two Oregon ranchers facing additional prison time for arson.


Tension has been building for weeks in the Burns, Oregon, area over the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond. Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. The two were convicted three years ago and served time - the father three months, the son one year. But in October, a federal judge in Oregon ruled their terms were too short under U.S. law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.


The Hammonds have received support from local residents, but the most vocal groups are from outside the area. Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights, is among those organizing the opposition at the wildlife refuge. Ammon Bundy and militiamen from other states arrived last month in Burns, some 60 miles from the Hammond ranch. Ammon Bundy has criticized the U.S. government for what he called a failed legal process.



Anonymous said...

This is a distraction To the world war 3 brewing in the Middle East. but hey..of course our government Overreach Concerning this incident is tyranical and wrong. the lines are being drawn if your paying attention.

Anonymous said...

The felons in question are not that innocent. Convicted arsonists whose own family claimed the fires were started to cover other crimes such as wildlife poaching. They seemed to be pretty good at treating public land like it was private. Funny how they are willing to head back to prison and the Clivens are looking for an uprising on thier behalf.

Anonymous said...

When you are a rancher leasing land, it is incumbent on you to properly manage the land for its intended purpose, which is to feed beef cattle.
If that land management includes burning brush land in order to grow cattle food, so be it.

Shouting arson is, or should be, a crime against the rancher.

Anonymous said...

I agree 8:46 pm. Who was the judge?? This is total abuse of the judicial system. How can you be sentenced twice for the same crime? (even though i don't agree that it was a crime).

this was an unintentional accident!

Sending a rancher/farmer to jail ??? How is that protecting the citizens of Oregon? This is "abuse of power" to say the least.

Every judge has a boss and a panel they have to answer to. It is called Judicial Disabilities! Any problem with judges, you can write to them and make a formal complaint. They will investigate. They ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW AND REPRIMAND!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

no property was lost nobody was injured. 5 years for clearing what would have been a potential for a large forest fire is total bs. once again the government is out of control. taking up arms is not the answer, yet!

Anonymous said...

A beginning of a crucial uprising , save your ammo , it's coming soon to a theater close to you , the battle ground is the theater if you know anything about war. Obama , you will get what you have wanted. Your father will be so happy.

Anonymous said...

Best answer cut and pasted from another blog:

More conclusions:

(1) If you decide to poach deer and burn up the evidence on public land, expect to be prosecuted.

(2) If you decide to continue torching property, no matter how big or how small, you put other people's lives at risk. Arson is arson. If you make that your manner of expressing frustration, expect to be treated as a felon.

(3) If you decide to use arson as your tool of protest, don't expect a lot of sympathy from most Americans, whether you are torching public or private property. Expect little empathy from people who don't appreciate you risking the lives of others; such as a jury who might be seated to hear your case.

(4) If you are convicted of a felony because of stupid acts, expect your prison time to be a hardship on your family and your business.

(5) If you are inclined to engaged in felonies and want to go to court to make your point, make sure you have the best attorney you can find. If you get your ass handed to you because of the legal fiction your attorney tries to pawn off, blame the attorney, not the jury.

(6) If you are a Militia supporter and you find your most worthy causes to be the likes of Cliven Bundy and convicted arsonists, I conclude your are an ass clown looking for trouble and if you find trouble I'm not too inclined to worry about the outcome.

(7) If you think Mike Adams side of the story, as slanted as it is, is the only side to a story, understand there is another side of the story that the jury heard and found to be far more compelling than what Mike Adams has tossed out there. Funny how an entire jury can hear the story and unanimously conclude the story they heard in court as opposed to believing the "victimization" yarn provided by Mike Adams and Hammond's attorney.

(8) By asking the Militia to leave Burns alone and go somewhere else, the Hammond's seem to have concern about the bigger picture of the local area and its citizens; a concern not shared by the Militia people who could care less about what headache they impose on local communities, so long as they can spend another winter making headlines as some sort of circus sideshow.

Anonymous said...

7:51, Go out and burn the trash in your burn barrel.

There, you have just committed the same crime of arson that these ranchers did.
The same with the Forest Service performing a controlled burn this past fall in the Wicomico Demonstration Forest off Sixty Foot Road.

Setting fire to something isn't always arson, especially when the end result actually does the land good and increases the lend value.

Get your facts before diving off the deep end.

Anonymous said...

How about one more cut and paste for all you Cliven Bundy is a hero crowd:

EUGENE, Ore. – Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, both residents of Diamond, Oregon in Harney County, were sentenced to five years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken for arsons they committed on federal lands.

A jury sitting in Pendleton, Oregon found the Hammonds guilty of the arsons after a two-week trial in June 2012. The trial involved allegations that the Hammonds, owners of Hammond Ranches, Inc., ignited a series of fires on lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), on which the Hammonds had grazing rights leased to them for their cattle operation.

The jury convicted both of the Hammonds of using fire to destroy federal property for a 2001 arson known as the Hardie-Hammond Fire, located in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. Witnesses at trial, including a relative of the Hammonds, testified the arson occurred shortly after Steven Hammond and his hunting party illegally slaughtered several deer on BLM property. Jurors were told that Steven Hammond handed out “Strike Anywhere” matches with instructions that they be lit and dropped on the ground because they were going to “light up the whole country on fire.” One witness testified that he barely escaped the eight to ten foot high flames caused by the arson. The fire consumed 139 acres of public land and destroyed all evidence of the game violations. After committing the arson, Steven Hammond called the BLM office in Burns, Oregon and claimed the fire was started on Hammond property to burn off invasive species and had inadvertently burned onto public lands. Dwight and Steven Hammond told one of their relatives to keep his mouth shut and that nobody needed to know about the fire.

The jury also convicted Steven Hammond of using fire to destroy federal property regarding a 2006 arson known as the Krumbo Butte Fire located in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Steen Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. An August lightning storm started numerous fires and a burn ban was in effect while BLM firefighters fought those fires. Despite the ban, without permission or notification to BLM, Steven Hammond started several “back fires” in an attempt save the ranch’s winter feed. The fires burned onto public land and were seen by BLM firefighters camped nearby. The firefighters took steps to ensure their safety and reported the arsons.

By law, arson on federal land carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. When the Hammonds were originally sentenced, they argued that the five-year mandatory minimum terms were unconstitutional and the trial court agreed and imposed sentences well below what the law required based upon the jury’s verdicts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld the federal law, reasoning that “given the seriousness of arson, a five-year sentence is not grossly disproportionate to the offense.” The court vacated the original, unlawful sentences and ordered that the Hammonds be resentenced “in compliance with the law.” In March 2015, the Supreme Court rejected the Hammonds’ petitions for certiorari. Today, Chief Judge Aiken imposed five year prison terms on each of the Hammonds, with credit for time they already served.

“We all know the devastating effects that are caused by wildfires. Fires intentionally and illegally set on public lands, even those in a remote area, threaten property and residents and endanger firefighters called to battle the blaze” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Billy Williams.

“Congress sought to ensure that anyone who maliciously damages United States’ property by fire will serve at least 5 years in prison. These sentences are intended to be long enough to deter those like the Hammonds who disregard the law and place fire fighters and others in jeopardy.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank R Papagni, Jr., AnneMarie Sgarlata and Kelly Zusman handled the prosecution of this case.