Saturday, May 14, 2016

More Shootings For Trivial Reasons

Every day in America there are numerous examples of people shooting at others for trivial reasons.  These aren't robbers, rapists, gang members, or druggies.  These are people who aren't felons.  These are people whom the NRA dubs "law abiding gun owners" worthy of owning guns with little or no regulation whatsoever.

I've blogged on other examples in the past.  Things haven't changed.  Here are just a few examples I've collected in just the last couple weeks:


  • Taking too long to go to the bathroom in Connecticut:  Shawn Cummins, 22, was hanging out in a neighbor's apartment and had been drinking.  Someone else was in the bathroom when he needed to use it. Impatient, Cummins pulled out a concealed handgun, which he had a permit for, and fired it through the door of the bathroom, narrowly missing the occupant.  Cummins then left the apartment and fired another round into the side of the building.
  • Dispute over feeding squirrels in Colorado:  Jon Marc Barbour, 59, of the Colorado town of Gunbarrel (no irony there, I'm sure), liked to feed neighborhood squirrels with lots and lots of peanuts, despite protests from neighbors.  When another neighbor argued with him about it, then got into a fight, Barbour pulled out his gun and shot the neighbor in the buttocks.
  • Throwing eggs in Oregon:  68-year old William Dean Thomas' house had just been "egged."  He was outside his house, cleaning it up, when the egg throwers showed up again, throwing eggs at him from their car.  Angry, Thomas pulled out his handgun and opened fire on them. Luckily he missed.
  • Reserved seating in a church in Pennsylvania:  Robert Braxton III, 27, was in Sunday church services and sat down in a pew spot that had been reserved for someone else. When he was told the seat was reserved, he became angry, but was cooling off after talking to an usher. That's when conceal carry permit holder Mark Storms, 46, approached Braxton and told him to leave, warning him that he had a gun. An argument ensued, and Braxton took a swing at Storms.  Storms responded by pulling out his gun and shooting Braxton twice, killing him.
  • Argument over a cheeseburger in Florida:  25-year-old Benjamin Middendorf got angry with his 28-year old brother over whether or not he wanted a cheeseburger.  Benjamin then pulled out his gun and shot his brother in the chest, killing him.
  • Argument over a parking spot at a school in Ohio:  Two men wanted to park in the same parking spot, in the parking lot of Medina High School, with their kids in the car with them.  That's when one of the dads pulled out a gun and threatened the other father with it.
  • Daughters wouldn't leave their home in Oregon:  54-year-old Lynn Hakala decided that her two 18-year old daughters should leave the home where she lived with them. When they refused, she pulled out a gun and fired it.  Luckily, they weren't hit.
  • Decided to play "hero" and shoot at unarmed shoplifter in Arizona:  25-year old John Haag witnessed a man running from a Walgreens store and realized he was a shoplifter. He then pulled out a concealed handgun, for which he had a permit, and a car chase ensued, during which Haag shot at the unarmed shoplifter, then bragged about it on Facebook.
  • Pulling a gun on fighting teen on school campus in Mississippi:  38-year old Shawana Smith was at her son's high school when her son and another boy started fist-fighting. Even though guns weren't allowed on school campuses there, she pulled out her gun and threatened the other boy with it.  Luckily the act was caught on video and she was arrested.
  • Road rage between truckers in Florida:  Truck driver George Guerrero had pulled out of a construction zone and changed lanes, apparently infuriating another trucker, who then tailgated Guerrero and then bumped Guerrero's truck, causing him to veer off the road.  The angry driver then shot at Guerrero, killing him.  The suspect has not been found.

These incidents are the result of allowing anyone to purchase and own a gun with no training whatsoever, including training on the appropriateness of a situation or the heavy responsibilities of gun ownership, and no regard whatsoever for the temperament of the buyer.  As a result, simple disputes over trivial reasons turn deadly.

Update (5/15/16):  A late addition from today's news:  

--> Cutting in line for the taco truck in Texas:  39-year-old Rigoberto Jose Castillo was standing in line at a taco truck at 2AM when a group of people cut in line.  A fist fight erupted.  That's when one of the group, went to his vehicle, retrieved a loaded handgun, and fired into the line, killing Castillo.  He then tried to shoot a witness, but the gun jammed.  Then he fled the scene.

.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

More Accessories For The Gun Fetishist

I once posted on the many great accessories available to those who love their gunzzz so much that they must have accessories to go with them in their everyday activities.  But there's no shortage of others, and it is high time I posted some more....
Flower Shell

Let's say you've just returned from a long week occupying a federal refuge area and just need to take it slow.  What better way than gardening?  And the ONLY way any self-respecting gun guy should garden is by using guns, of course!  Just purchase some Flower Shells, shotgun shells loaded with flower seeds, and start blasting at the ground!  It's easy!  You could shoot at the ground to plant some poppies, or just aim out over the soil to scatter some wildflowers.  Boom!


Shower gun safe
After all that hard work in the garden, you'll need to take a shower.  Since you never know when a druggie/rapist/robber/terrorist will jump out at you from behind the shower curtain, be sure to put your handgun into the shower gun safe, right there next to your lavender conditioner.  Careful your soapy fingers don't slip on that trigger!


"open carry" tee shirt
As you get dressed, be sure to put on your gun-holster yoga pants and stick a second pink gun in your gun-holster bra (careful not to shoot yourself in the eye like this Michigan politician did).  And just to play it safe, in case you can't openly carry your piece in public, put this "open carry tee shirt" on.  Looks like the real thing!  But be sure to follow the advice of the maker and don't put your hand on the "gun" on the shirt, for fear police will think it's the real thing and shoot you!  You'll want to accessorize that outfit with an actual, working pistol ring on your finger and some bullet earrings.
iPhone case


Walk out the bathroom, pulling the gun door knob on the way, and then pull out your phone to call your liberty-lovin' militia pals to come over for some pistol-packin' fun.  Careful, though, don't let the police think that gun-shaped iPhone case is the real thing.  You might regret that it looks so realistic.


Assault rifle forks
After your pals and you shoot up some good, old-fashioned, women-shaped targets that bleed, you can sit down at the dining table and enjoy the fruits of your latest elk hunt on your favorite gun motto plate, eating your meat with assault rifle forks and musket-shaped cutlery. Don't forget to set plates for the kids, such as the one that says "G is for gun."


Playing "Ca$h 'n Guns"
After dinner, why not play a fun game of Ca$h 'n Guns, where you can have lots of laughs by pretending to shoot each other.  As one fan of the game put it, "Often personal vendettas have more to do with what happens than making the best move.  The game involves pointing a foam gun at people."  Fun!  Careful not to confuse the foam guns with the real ones on your hips.


Shotgun shell shot glasses

Be sure to pour you and your buddies some nice, stiff drinks from your pistol decanter into your shotgun shell shot glasses (complete with bandoleer), or maybe some gun drinking glasses with some bullet-shaped ice cubes, too.


Once your pals leave, and you stumble off to bed, fluff up your gun pillows, pull down your camo sheets, and put your gun into the bed holster.  No lock needed!



Bed holster
Oops, you drank too much, thought you heard a noise in the middle of the night, and unintentionally shot yourself to death?  Well, no worries.  Your love of guns can see you off to the afterlife, too.  Just have your pals pack your cremated remains into shotgun shells and shoot you to Heaven!  Nothing says "Freedom" more than going out in a puff of gunpowder!

There's simply no end to the ways you can feed your gun fetish, night and day!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

If Only They'd Had A Gun To Defend Themselves. Oh, Wait... (gun shop shootout)

The gun lobbies like to push the idea that if only you are armed, you'll be safe from the bad guys.  That they'll be dissuaded from attacking you simply because they know you have a gun, or that it isn't a "gun free zone."  But as I've shown again and again here at New Trajectory blog, the truth is just the opposite, and studies have show it, like THIS ONE which showed that carrying a gun makes you 4.5 times more likely to be shot.

But if the pro-gun mentality is correct, where else would be safer than a gun shop, surrounded by lethal weapons, and definitely not a "gun free zone?"

Such a scenario occurred yesterday in Mississippi. A man in his 50's and his 20-something son entered the McLemore Gun Shop on Highway 43 in Pearl River County to pick up a gun that they had had repaired there.  When the wife of the shop owner, who was at the counter, told them that there was a $25 fee, they got into an argument with pushing and shoving.  The wife called her 40-year old husband, the shop owner, who showed up with his 17-year old son.

It's unclear who shot first, but both sets of people were armed.  From an article:
An argument ensued, which turned physical, the station said, and gunfire followed. 
Chief Deputy Shane Tucker told the Sun Herald that ”one of the customers and one of the owners produced firearms. We don’t know who shot first.” 
The gun shop owner and his son were pronounced dead at the scene; the two customers were airlifted to hospitals with life-threatening injuries, Tucker told the paper. 
The wife of the gun shop owner was not wounded, WLOX reported.
This isn't the first time that a gun shop shootout has been featured here.  See HERE and HERE and HERE for examples.  In fact, it is disturbingly common, and many end up with the shop owner dead.  So much for the "gun free zone" mythology.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Growing Movement Of Gun Owners Against The NRA

The NRA was once a respectable organization.  Founded just after the Civil War, it existed to advocate for hunter training, marksmanship, conservation of nature, and gun safety.  It was a sportsman's organization which existed almost solely on membership dues and did not dip much into politics.  But all of that changed in 1977, when extremist members of the organization hijacked the sportsman's organization and converted it into a political lobby group intent on fighting any and all gun regulation.  As the Washington Post put it:
The Old Guard was caught by surprise. The NRA officers sat up front, on a dais, observing their demise. The organization, about a century old already, was thoroughly mainstream and bipartisan, focusing on hunting, conservation and marksmanship. It taught Boy Scouts how to shoot safely. But the world had changed, and everything was more political now. The rebels saw the NRA leaders as elites who lacked the heart and conviction to fight against gun-control legislation.
And because their focus shifted away from the needs of their members, and more toward ideological and legislative goals, the NRA leadership has forgotten their own followers.  Oh, they still talk the good talk of safety and hunting, but the truth is far from it.  Their only concern is money.  As I blogged before, follow the money!  And they've created a "circus of fear" to raise the ideological paranoia of their membership.

Time and again in my work with the community, in forums and public events, I talk with gun owners, hunters, and veterans who disagree with the NRA's stances.  Even some NRA members have expressed to me that they simply disagree with the organization and are actually closer to me in their beliefs on gun regulation.  Sometimes all it takes to make this conversation work is to get around the NRA talking points and to ask them about specific regulations.

Background checks are a good example of this.  At every turn, the NRA has fought each and every attempt to create and then strengthen the background check system, pouring millions of dollars into the pockets of politicians to buy their votes.  And even though a background check takes on average less than five minutes, and there are far more licensed dealers to go to for the check than there are Starbucks stores (see an interactive map, HERE), they nonetheless argue that that minor inconvenience somehow infringes on the right to bear arms and is a prelude to an all-out total gun confiscation (expanding background checks, by the way, used to be something the NRA approved of, and now heavily oppose, just to illustrate how extreme they have become).  And yet, polls repeatedly show that around 72% of NRA members support universal background checks for all gun sales (or 85% of all gun owners).  So who does the NRA really represent?  Again, follow the money.  They represent the arms dealers who line the pockets of the NRA leadership.  The same split goes for many other proposed regulation.  Despite the NRA line against such changes, the majority of gun owners also support a ban on semi-auto assault rifles and high-capacity ammo magazines, support child access protection laws, mandatory training for gun owners, prohibitions for gun ownership by domestic violence offenders, and many other laws.

With this in mind, it is little wonder that more and more gun owners are renouncing the NRA.

An early and well-publicized example of this was the senior George Bush, a lifelong gun owner and hunter.  In 1995, he sent in a "letter of resignation" from his lifetime NRA membership after the NRA's Wayne LaPierre called the government "jackbooted thugs" shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing.

And remember, back in 2013, when longtime Guns & Ammo writer and TV host Dick Metcalf dared to write that regulation should be considered and that it didn't infringe on the Second Amendment?  He was immediately fired, but not because gun owners disagreed with him.

In recent years, particularly after the Sandy Hook shooting and the NRA's extremist solution to arm all schools, gun owners have woken up to the fact that this isn't their father's NRA anymore.  

That was the event which turned one gun owner's opinion around.  She's a hunter and grew up in a gun family.
Ultimately, the people that are advocating for looser gun laws or less restriction end up making responsible owners look like idiots. Personally, I don't want to be associated with them, and I don't want to be lumped together. Some of us understand that keeping our children safe is the priority. We have too much gun violence in this country to ignore it anymore.
She was so fed up with the NRA and the pro-gun activist movement that she left the NRA and even joined Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence in America.

One avid hunter recently turned his back on the NRA, tired of their ceaseless fearmongering:
The biggest problem in this entire issue is the NRA. People who buy guns and are interested in hunting or target shooting are not the problem. The problem is an organization that convinces them to join based on fears of the government, fears of other races, fears of invasion, fears of the police; FEARS. That’s their agenda. 
Once you’ve paid your dues to join this despicable organization, they are free to use that money however they see fit. And overwhelmingly the way that they see fit to spend it is through propaganda, advertising, and lobbying.
Another hunter, from Oregon, explained why the NRA doesn't talk for him:
I don’t belong to the NRA. The kind of hunting that I do faces its greatest threats from habitat loss, not gun control. During an election, I’m more likely to consult the League of Conservation Voters’ candidate ratings than the NRA’s. .... 
None of these restrictions prevent me or other hunters from enjoying the tradition. On the contrary, the rules keep us safe and protect the wildlife populations that must thrive if we are to continue to responsibly cull them.

After the Charleston massacre, another gun owner and hunter came out against the NRA after hearing a robo-call insinuating that President Obama was plotting to turn over the USA to the United Nations:
[The NRA] has successfully positioned itself as the singular representation of gun owners. For decades they’ve worked to defend and expand access to firearms in spite of polls showing that most Americans, including gun owners, favor laws that would limit access in various reasonable ways (even three-quarters of NRA households favor background checks prior to private gun sales). But when a U.S. congresswoman was shot in the face, the NRA made certain that no law was passed that would have made her safer. There’s no doubt that the NRA does have some grass-roots support, but it’s smaller than we think. The NRA does not represent all gun owners, and it certainly doesn’t represent me.

One Nevada legislator and lifelong hunter has turned his back on the NRA, as well, fed up with their inflexibility and tired of seeing so many people killed by gunfire in his years as an emergency responder, along with his own personal family history of gun suicide and domestic violence:  
“That, coupled with seeing Congress’ inaction [on gun control] made me say, ‘I can’t do this anymore,'” Oceguera told ThinkProgress. “I still own guns for self-protection in my home, and I’m going to teach my kids gun safety and have already started doing that. But I now think there are some people — who are criminals, who have mental illness, who are on the watch list — who shouldn’t have guns. It’s as simple as that. And I think that if law-abiding NRA members and gun owners like myself don’t stand up and say, ‘Geez, enough is enough. Let’s do something,’ then nothing is going to happen.”
A large group of gun owners recently took a trip to Washington to convince legislators to finally take action to enact universal background checks.

There's even a lifelong gun owner, trainer, and gun store owner who has turned his back to the NRA and the pro-gun extremists out there.  Michael Weisser, or "Mike the Gun Guy," has written books on the subject, and regularly writes on his blog site.

And gun owners have even joined together to form organizations to represent their interest in both gun ownership and reasonable gun regulation.

For instance, here in Oregon, some of the gun owning families who lost loved ones at the Clackamas Town Center shooting formed the organization Gun Owners For Responsible Ownership.  That organization then joined the Oregon Alliance For Gun Safety and helped to pass Senate Bill 941 for universal background checks in Oregon.   GOFRO's mission statement:  
We envision an America where all are safe from gun violence, and where responsible gun owners take the lead to promote safe gun ownership and sensible laws and regulations.
And they aren't alone.  Here are some other like-minded organizations and Facebook groups of gun owners:

American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership
Citizens for Smart Gun Ownership
Gun Owners Against The NRA
Gun Owners For Commonsense Laws
Gun Owners For Reform
Veterans for Responsible Gun Ownership

It is moderate gun owners who will make the biggest difference.  Don't let the NRA and other extremist pro-gun organizations speak for you!  Call them out for their extremism, and renounce your membership.  Help enact the sensible gun regulations that you support, and let's make a new trajectory for our communities away from gun violence.

ADDENDUM (1/19/16):  The recent executive actions by President Obama to strengthen the background check system are also very popular with gun owners, at 63% approval, despite the NRA opposition to them.  From the article:


Also, though it is from 2012, here is a very good opinion piece written by an NRA member who was outraged by the NRA stance after Sandy Hook and demanded to immediately cancel his membership.
.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

No One Wants The Militia In Eastern Oregon, Including Everyone They Pretend To Represent

[UPDATE -- See note at bottom]

Why is the militia terrorizing Oregon?  Is it to defend the Hammond family?  Ranchers?  Indians?  The community?  The law?  Their God?  Or is it just a self-serving demonstration to push their own agenda on us?

When the armed Bundy Militia broke into and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, their justification for doing so was in order to defend the Hammonds from serving additional time in prison for poaching and arson on federal lands and trying to force their abused young relative to hide it.  Ammond Bundy, leader of the invasion, wrote back on December 26th:

An unbelievable amount of effort has been exhausted in prudent methods to correct the wrong that have come upon the Hammonds. When will it be enough? Should we go on forever because we are afraid to do what is our right to do? What will happen to the Constitution and individual rights if we allow these violations to go on without challenge?
One week later, he and his domestic terrorist buddies committed breaking-and-entering and became the latest case in an ever-increasing list of crimes and plots by militia groups.  But even before Bundy carried out the plan, when the militia had come to the area in a charade of being there for a peaceful protest, the Hammonds distanced themselves from the extremists.  In fact, the Hammonds had long since, on December 11, put out a statement through their lawyer clearly stating that they wanted nothing to do with the militia.  From the statement:

[N]either Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family, Dwight Hammond, or Steven Hammond.  I wish to report to you that, as recently ordered by the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammond intend to voluntarily report to the designated federal facility on January 4, 2016, as required.

But why let that stop a terrorist act?  So the Bundy militants decided to change their story.  The next claimed that they were there for all those poor ranchers, the "original occupants" as Bundy put it, who were displaced by the formation of Malheur a century ago by Teddy Roosevelt.  Well, it turns out that the majority of ranchers don't want them there either.  The Oregon Cattleman's Association opposes the occupation and rightly calls it an illegal activity:

The Oregon Cattleman's Association, however, in no way supports or endorses illegal activity against the government. We do support the Hammonds and we are doing so through legal avenues that are in accordance with the law. 
We have no association with the organizations that are participating in the illegal activity against the government. This would include the militia takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge.
Although, when Bundy said "original occupants," he wasn't talking about the native Americans, was he?  Nonetheless, the Paiute tribe, who occupied the land before it was taken from them, put out a very clear statement opposing the militia occupation, calling them a "group of clowns" and "petty criminals."

Okay, so if they aren't representing the Hammonds or the "original occupants," then, um, they are representing the citizens around there.  Yeah, that's it....  According to the Bundys, they are there to help the community recognize its "rights," to "stand on its own," and to educate residents "so they will come to our side."  But even before the occupation, when the militia was still pretending to be there for a peaceful protest, local people were putting up signs telling them to leave.  Later, after the occupation began and there was increased outcry, Bundy stated
One of many signs against the militia put up
by local residents (source)

“This is their county – we can’t be here and force this on them,” Bundy told OPB Monday. “If they don’t want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we’ll leave.”

So a meeting was held, in which over 500 townspeople showed up and gave a very clear message that the militia was not welcomed and had to leave.  But when the sheriff personally delivered this message to the extremists, as he has done so on at least two occasions so far, telling them in the nicest of terms that they needed to respect the wishes of the community and leave, Bundy told him he wasn't going anywhere.  

Instead, Bundy formed his own committee of local community leaders, which he dubbed the Harney County Committee of Safety, to examine the issue.  So what did these hand-picked, presumably sympathetic locals tell Bundy?  They told him he had to go!  From an article:

“We feel that any good which may come out of this event has reached its full potential,” Molt said. “We ask that you organize your people, explain that your point has been made and leave in a peaceful, honorable fashion.” 
And yet, the militia still ignored them.

Okay, so if the community doesn't want them either, maybe they can justify their action based on the law?  At one point, one of the militia claimed he would stay "until the Constitution is upheld."  Well, he's free to take it up with the courts.  Last I checked, none of the terrorists are judges or lawyers, so any idea about what is Constitutional is surely poorly debated with these jokers.

(source for comic)
Or perhaps they feel God is the one to decide when they should leave?  After all, they have stated many times that they have taken up this terrorist act because God told them to do so, either by directly "telling" them to do it, or through omens like a flock of geese flying overhead.  Well, it turns out that's not much of a justification, either.  You see, the Bundys are devout Mormons, albeit a very extremist version of the religion.  Unfortunately for them, the Mormon leadership has also put out a statement against the militia's illegal actions:

While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles. This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis. We are privileged to live in a nation where conflicts with government or private groups can — and should — be settled using peaceful means, according to the laws of the land.

Hmm....  Well, if all of those justifications aren't valid, what's left?

The truth.  These domestic terrorists, and the other militia group that has now joined them and surrounded the county courthouse, have only one real motive:  terrorize the locals and the nation in order to push their own extreme agenda.

It's time to treat these terrorists they only way they should be treated:  Stop placating them.  Stop giving them a podium.  Blockade them in the compound and prevent more from entering or exiting unrestrained.  Cut off their electricity, water, and phones.  Demand that they surrender peaceably.  Then arrest them and charge them for their crimes.  We as a nation should not give in to terrorism of any sort, foreign or domestic.

UPDATE (1/10/16):  Bundy has changed his story again.  Now he says he and his terrorist buddies did the invasion to disrupt the Malheur employees and to retaliate against the government for jailing the Hammonds.  He doesn't care that he is labeled as a terrorist, because he fantasizes...

“By the same definition that you are using to label us,” Bundy said, “George Washington was a terrorist.”
Nope, Bundy, you're no General Washington.  Not even close.

UPDATE (1/11/16):  HERE you can find an video and listing of the names of each of these terrorists.

The militia now says they are never leaving unless the government completely shuts down the entire refuge and somehow turns it all over to the unnamed ranchers.  From an article:

"Now, remember, we're not walking away from here to have the federal government to come back in here. Absolutely not. That will not happen," Arizona rancher and Bundy camp spokesperson, LaVoy Finicum told KATU News.
And, to underscore that "goal," they have now decided to rummage through all the personal employee belongings and government files in a prelude to removing them from the headquarters, and have, in an act of vandalism, tampered with government videos and files to look for "evidence" of government wrongdoing to ranchers, as well as started removing the fencing on the property, which is needed to stop cattle from wandering into ecologically sensitive areas or from trespassing on areas where they are not allowed to graze.

.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Lighter Side Of The #YallQaeda Terrorists

[UPDATED -- See at bottom]

Though the Bundy militia has shocked the world with their terrorist act, their threats of armed violence, and a stated willingness to kill or be killed, you have to admit there is an absolute ridiculousness to their ill-conceived and redneck attempt to get attention.  It's a bit of misfortune for them, really.  (Come to think of it, malheur translates to "misfortune" in French...)

If you stand back a bit from all the horror (the guns, the death threats and stalking of the sheriff, the religious zealotry, the way they are using children as human shields), it's actually sorta funny.

I mean, after all, you've got a bunch of bubbas in cowboy hats coming in from other states, invading a deserted building in the middle of a snowy, wind-swept nowhere, speaking for locals (who don't want them there), proclaiming themselves defenders of arsonist/poacher/child-abusers (who don't want them there), and demanding that the government suddenly dismantles the entire refuge and give it back to the original owners (by that they mean ranchers, who don't want them there, and not the Paiute Tribe, who don't want them there either), with no clear goals or really any clue as to a plan.  And then they urgently want us to send snacks!

Naturally, the internet came alive with snarky reactions.  First came the political cartoons, often poking fun at the fact that they chose a bird sanctuary as their target....


And then Twitter lit up with satirical hashtags, such as #YallQaeda, #VanillaISIS, #YeeHawdist, and others...





as well as being lampooned on the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert.

And Twitter came alive with other spoof images...



But, perhaps best of all, Twitter users came up with homoerotic fan fiction to mock them, using #bundyeroticfanfic, starting with the singer for the Decemberists, Colin Meloy ....




Heck, I even added my own...



Hopefully this whole situation will end peaceably and we can keep laughing at these extremist morons.  One thing's for certain: however this ends, these thugs are a laughing stock.


UPDATE (1/8/16): Oh man.  Just to make the sordid situation any more laughable, one of the militiamen, Brian "Booda" Cavalier, abandoned the occupation when exposed as a fake for claiming he was an ex-marine, and another militiaman, Joe Oshaugnessy, absconded with donated money and drank it away at a local hotel.  Also, some of these "occupiers" have actually been staying at a local motel and eating at area restaurants, since the government has allowed them to come and go at will.  

And, just to add a little more chaos, members of another extremist militia, Veterans on Patrol, got into a brawl with the Bundy Militia guys after showing up to urge them to release the children from the compound, leading to minor injuries.  See images, at right, from their Facebook page:

The rest of the world is both horrified and entertained by the militia invasion.  HERE is a video made by some Japanese, mocking them.
.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Malheur "Occupiers" Meet The Definition of Domestic Terrorists, Seditionists, and Religious Militants, So Why Are They Being Tolerated?

Three days ago, armed men broke into and took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, but so far our government hasn't done a single thing about it.  I believe that part of the problem is the way these people are being referred to.

Writer Christian Drake said it best in the title of his Jan 3 article:  "Why the Hell Are Our News Media Whitewashing Domestic Terrorism in Oregon?"  Over and over I am seeing these militants referred to as "occupiers," "protesters," or "ranchers."  Some articles have called them "militia," at least, which is closer to the heart of the matter.
"We're not terrorists; we just want what any true
patriot wants: to take down the United States of America."

(from the New Yorker)

While it's true that they are occupying the buildings there, and some may be ranchers, make no mistake about it:  this is not just some sit-in protest, like the Occupy Movement, with citizens peacefully sitting or standing, unarmed, and waving signs.  If that were the case, I imagine this would be a whole different scene that garnered some public sympathy.  No, this is something much more ominous.  You don't show up with guns and promise violence if removed, and then claim you are just peaceful protesters who "are not looking to hurt anyone."  

These militia men easily fit the definition of terrorists in the U.S. Code:


"Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:
  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term "federal crime of terrorism" as an offense that:
  • Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
  • Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.).
These Bundy militia men arrived, armed, with the stated intention of killing or being killed and to have a violent conflict if law enforcement tried to remove them.  Just today, they tweeted "We have remained peaceful. If the authorities raid us unnecessarily we can't guarantee that continues. We are prepared to defend ourselves." (and then he had the gall to compare himself to Rosa Parks!).

They violated federal law by breaking in and occupying.  They have taken up armed strategic positions, including in a watch tower.  And their stated intention is to coerce the government into changing its policies and dissolving the entire wildlife refuge.  With all that in mind, they meet the criteria of "domestic terrorists."  If they fire a single shot, the self-defined "patriots" will also be committing a "federal crime of terrorism" and an act of insurrection.

The acts of these militia men also fit the definition of sedition, according to U.S. Code (highlighting added):

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both". 
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.) 
I would hardly call a seditious act representative of "patriots," would you?

Finally, the title of "militants" certainly applies, as well.  The term "militant" is defined as follows:
mil·i·tant ˈmilətənt/• adj. combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods: an uprising by militant Islamic fundamentalists.• n. a person who is active in this way.
Given that they have shown up armed and willing to die and engage in violence if confronted, for their political cause, and are certainly confrontational, I'd say they fit this definition precisely.

Finally, they are religious extremists.  A number of these militants have stated that they have undertaken this occupation for religious reasons.  

It turns out that the Bundy family and many of their militia at the Malheur headquarters are adherents to a particularly extremist form of Mormonism.  One referred to himself as "Captain Moroni," a reference to a Mormon figure who specialized in weapons and battle strategy and who wanted to overthrow his government in the name of freedom.  From the article:





The man identifying as Captain Moroni said he was inspired by the call, and that the inspiration was validated by God in the form of a flock of geese he saw flying. 
I just knew it was the right thing [to come to Oregon]," Captain Moroni said. "I'm willing to die here."
The Bundy's had previously couched their prior standoff with the government in religious terms, and have continued to do so with this standoff.  Ryan Bundy has stated about his role in the Malheur takeover, "My Mormonism plays a large part in what I do … the biggest part.”  His brother, Ammon Bundy, has stated:
“I got this urge that I needed write something,” Bundy said. “I asked the good Lord…I need some help. And he gave me that help. The Lord is not pleased what has happened with the Hammonds.”
Ammon also stated in a YouTube call to arms, "I did exactly what the Lord asked me to do."  And further said in that video:
"I began to understand how the Lord felt about the Hammonds," Bundy says in the video. "I began to understand how the Lord felt about Harney County and about this country. And I clearly understood that the Lord was not pleased with what was happening to the Hammonds…. If we allowed the Hammonds to continue to be punished, there would be accountability."
I would like to ask him how, exactly, the Lord told him this.  Did he call him up on the phone?  A booming voice in his head?  A dream?  Or did he, like "Captain Moroni," read omens in the actions of geese?  It says a lot about Bundy's beliefs that he thinks God approves of arming yourself and preparing to kill police as part of a militant takeover of federal buildings.

The Mormon Church, by the way, has issued a statement condemning these extremists, stating:

While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles. This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis. We are privileged to live in a nation where conflicts with government or private groups can — and should — be settled using peaceful means, according to the laws of the land.
But apparently these "devout Mormons" prefer to ignore the statements of their own church leaders.  Thus they are extremists even by the definition of their own religious leaders.  A prominent Mormon writer and theologian agrees with those church leaders.

My understanding is that the United States Government does not negotiate or tolerate terrorists, domestic or foreign.  So why haven't they yet taken any action against these extremists??  People are still coming and going without being blocked, supplying these militants with food and supplies.  The militia is still in full contact with the press and the public and the internet.  And they still have electricity, water, and phones (though that may change soon).  As far as I can tell, the most the Government has done is "monitor" the situation and issue a statement by the District Attorney, as well as some statements against them by lawmakers.  At least the county sheriff has issued a statement urging the militia, in the nicest of terms, to please leave.  A call that has been roundly ignored.


These men said they were there for the Hammonds, until the Hammonds told them they weren't wanted.  Then the militia changed their story and said they would leave if the community wanted them to.  But they have ignored the very apparent calls from the community to leave.  Nearly a dozen schools in the area are closed for the entire week out of fear of these extremists.  You'd think that might be an obvious signal to them, certainly more obvious than reading the intentions of the Lord through flying geese.  So now they have changed their story again, saying that “The purpose of this whole thing is getting people excited. And (the people in Harney County) are excited that this is taking place" and to educate residents "so they'll come on to our side."  I don't think so.  It seems to me their only motive is to get attention in as dramatic style as possible, like some tantruming toddler, and to terrorize the nation.

The government's lack of action is only emboldening the militia at Malheur, as well as other militia groups, such as the one in Eugene that is distributing militant propaganda fliers.


And now these militia have brought children onto the compound!  Given that these militants have stated an intention to kill or be killed and to react violently if someone tries to remove them, I can only imagine that they are using these children as human shields.  Is this something our government should tolerate, as well??


So how do you label these people?  A poll by the Washington Post has 70% of responders labeling them as "terrorists" and "extremists."  So why don't our media and government?


The Bundy Militia has a long history of violence and intimidation.  It's long past time to stop tolerating these seditionists and criminals.  I urge our law enforcement to take immediate action.  Blockade the compound and stop anyone from going in to supply and enable these militants.  Cut off their electricity, water, and phone.  Stop giving them a podium to spew their extremist views.  And insist they give up peaceably and submit to arrest and trial.  These are domestic terrorists.  Treat them that way!




ADDENDUM:  A related article, by an international security analyst and military historian, Tom Mockaitis, disputing the term "militia" for these domestic terrorists.

Also, as demonstrated in an interview, Ammon Bundy doesn't even understand the definition of the word "terrorism" or how it applies to him and his actions.