Welcome to the new year, folks. Apparently we get to kick off 2016 with an armed showdown at a national wildlife building in Oregon. Terrific. Of course, this will just be more fuel for President Obama, who has pledged to make gun control his number one priority this year, threatening to take executive action if Congress doesn’t march to his tune. Second Amendment and freedom be damned, right?
Wonderful. What a great time to be an American.
Anyway, as you’ve undoubtedly heard by now, a handful of armed citizens in Oregon (like 12-20 people) reportedly seized a building at the National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to protest the imprisonment of local ranchers Steven and Dwight Hammond. It should be noted here that this building was empty when these people entered it. It should also be noted that Steven and Dwight’s imprisonment is horrifically unfair and happened for no other reason than a federal government that is completely out of control. If you’re unfamiliar with this story, you can catch up here. Basically, the Hammonds own a large chunk of land near the bird sanctuary where these protestors decided to hang out. For decades, the feds have been unsuccessfully trying to run them off the property — which the Hammond family has owned for several generations. So, let’s remember that there’s already an injustice happening here, particularly when you consider that both the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish & Wildlife Service have been tyrannically harassing and bullying this family for years.
According to several reports, the Hammonds accidentally burned a portion of federal land when they set fire to their own land back in 2001 and 2006 in order to stop the spread of some invasive animal species and to control a wildfire that threatened their property and assets. Five years later (yes, five years), our government suddenly decided to prosecute them for what was obviously an accident, arresting and sentencing them under the Anti-Terrorism Act. The judge in the case sympathized with their situation and said that the required five-year sentence seemed harsh for such a minor offense, so the father Dwight Hammond, 73, spent three months in prison, and son Steven Hammond, 46, spent a year in jail.
Naturally, this just wasn’t enough to satisfy the pompous pencil pushers at the Bureau of Land Management, who eventually filed an appeal and argued that the Hammonds should be sent back to jail and forced to serve an additional four years. This seems to be dangerously close to double jeopardy, but I digress. To sum it all up: our government is essentially trying to run a family off their land in order to expand some bird sanctuaries and other habitats for cute, little, furry woodland creatures. And if they have to throw a father and son in jail to do it, then I guess they will. Truthfully, this is all just further proof that our government is being run by a bunch of childish, petulant, power-hungry, egomaniacal tyrants.
To be clear: I don’t think that the armed protestors are helping the situation at all and from everything I’ve read, the Hammonds are not part of their cause and do not endorse or support it in any way. That’s good, since it’s these sort of protesters who will make Obama’s gun control legislation all the more appealing to the majority of uninformed, low-information voters. “Hey! Look! A bunch of armed, crazy people in Oregon sitting there peacefully! Ban guns for everybody!” But, the building was empty when these protestors decided to occupy it, so I’m not sure why they felt the need to go in with guns. Honestly, they really could’ve banded together with even more people, sat peacefully and unarmed in the bird sanctuary, and still made the same point. One could argue that civil disobedience can sometimes be useful when making moral arguments, but at some point local law enforcement will obviously have to remove these people, since they’re technically trespassing by occupying a building that they don’t own.
That being said, I think there are a couple of overarching points that need to be made. First, it’s become increasingly clear that the federal government under Obama is hellbent on expanding its powers beyond the Constitution and apparently thinks it has the authority to snatch up some privately owned land and hand it over to squirrels, rabbits and deer, all because a dad and his son accidentally burned a little bit of government-owned property. (Oh, the horror.) I say "a little bit,” because, well, when you do the math on this, it’s all pretty silly. In the 2001 incident, the Hammonds accidentally burned up roughly 138 acres of federal land. That might sound like a lot, but consider this: The fire was located in the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area. A quick search on Google or Wikipedia will tell you that this area is comprised of roughly 425,000 acres. (Not to mention that the protection law enacted by Bill Clinton back in 2000 actually ensures the federal protection of a whopping 1,200,000 acres here from mining and cattle grazing.) So, 138 acres were burned out of a total of 425,000 acres. That’s like, what, .00032 percent? And in the 2006 incident, only one acre — one acre — of federal land was incinerated.
This is all so absurd. Of course, the federal government does have every legal and constitutional right to erect forts, military bases and that sort of stuff, but their actions in Oregon are really pushing the envelope where constitutionality is concerned. Moreover, if a random forest somewhere in America truly does need preservation or safeguarding, then it should probably be up to that state’s local government to handle it — not the federal government.
Secondly, back to the gun control issue, there’s absolutely no reason for Obama and the fanatical leftists to use this situation to push their agenda, although I know they will. In fact, the president is already claiming that he has the legal authority to take executive action on guns, despite numerous critics who argue that he’s overreaching. Regardless, this so-called “armed standoff” in Oregon is exactly the sort of narrative Obama would love to use as justification for taking draconian measures on guns. Liberals across the nation have even labeled these people “terrorists,” with the hashtags #OregonUnderAttack and #YallQaeda trending on Twitter for almost two days now. I can’t help but find this all sort of ironic, considering that these are the same progressives who were totally fine with a bunch of protestors burning Ferguson and Baltimore to the ground, but are now determined to label the occupation of a remote, empty building in the middle of nowhere as “terrorism.”
The truth is: America does not have a gun problem, it has a government problem. More specifically, we have a government that responds to cultural godlessness and societal evil by trying to enact silly laws and idiotic legislation, as if this will solve anything. Instead of blaming every situation involving guns on the gun itself, why not start by addressing the spiritual sickness and moral depravity running rampant in our nation? Why not encourage fathers to stick around and raise their children to adhere to values and ethics so that they won’t grow up to become lawless thugs and criminals? Why not encourage folks to wait for the judicial process to play out before torching cop cars and looting gas stations? This all seems like common sense to me, but what do I know?
Maybe if our nation — including our government — would finally humble itself before Almighty God and ask for His forgiveness, mercy, help and guidance, things would start to turn around. I’m not sure what the next step would be, but I think this would be a good place to start. After all, a nation that embraces evil and promotes corruption is a nation that is doomed to destroy itself in the end. And if you ask me, it's already started.
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