The farce continues. I hope someone is working on a musical comedy about all of this….
Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent, Oregon, was arrested Friday shortly after noon at the Safeway in Burns for “unauthorized use of a motor vehicle” reported by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stolen from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
photos: Thomas Boyd | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Medenbach had been released from custody in Medford on condition that he would not “occupy” any federal property. He’d been convicted of illegally camping on federal property, where he’d attempted to protect the site with trip-wires and explosives. State police were taking him to Bend to be booked into the Deschutes County jail on a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Bail was to be set at $10,000.
There has been no explanation for why the driver of a FWS van recovered from the Safeway lot has not been detained.
Medenbach at another USFWS pickup whose agency logo had been obliterated.
The pickup from which Medenback was aprehended had been “rebranded” with new stickers that read “Harney County Resource Center” covering the U.S. Fish and Wildlife logos.
According to the Oregonian’s Les Zaitz, who has been covering the Malheur militia shenanigans,
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was aptly named; since the mid-19th century, the area has been the scene of tragedy, adversity and misfortune—meanings of malheur, the name some trappers applied after disappearance of their cache. I don’t know for sure about the several thousands of years when native Americans roamed, hunted, fished and farmed the area—before they were rounded up and moved away—but I’d bet they had their share of bad times here long before Europeans arrived.
The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is part of a complicated history of land in the western U.S. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CC BY-SA)
John Freemuth is a professor of public policy and senior fellow at the Cecil Andrus Center for Public Policy, Boise State University.
For the past week or so, I’ve been commenting and posting information on my Facebook page about the ongoing occupation of the national bird sanctuary near Burns, Oregon, a couple hundred miles from my Boise, Idaho, home.
I thought it might be useful, or at least entertaining, to collect those posts here, along with the many links to other information and background about the militia takeover and some of those involved. I have long been interested in the power of agreement, a phrase I picked up from Paul Crockett, the desert sage who rescued several people from the Manson “family” in the late 1960s.
I am fascinated by the ways some among us are able, occasionally, to awaken from what Gurdjieff likened to the early stages of hypnosis, in which he found the vast majority of humans almost all of the time. We are terribly vulnerable and quite susceptible to having others shape what we consider to be the “real” world.
So, here goes the collection of my thoughts, and others’, about the events unfolding not far from here, in reverse chronological order—moving from recent to earlier events and postings.
Wednesday, Jan. 13
Mix Heather, Sage, and Boyle—what a brew:
Reps. Boyle, Dixon and Scott, speak out about their visit to Burns protest
Tuesday, Jan. 12
A picture worth a thousand words:
A man dressed as continental army officer walks through the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Sunday, near Burns, Ore. A small, armed group has been occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest federal land use policies. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
More details of the conspiracy leading up to the armed occupation of the Malheur NWR, followed by many eye-opening comments of both supporters & detractors:
Monday, Jan. 11
More backstory on the Hammonds’ and others’ law-breaking and intimidation of federal employees and their families in Harney County, Oregon. While there are a few minor inaccuracies in this story, it paints a pretty clear picture of a problem that has been festering there for decades. The Bundys are not the first troublemakers to target the area. Most of the article was published in the “Village Voice” in the mid-1990s:
According to the Oregonian, Idaho state legislators Judy Boyle, Heather Scott and Sage Dixon were among a half-dozen out-of-state lawmakers who met with the Bundy gang on a “fact-finding mission” Saturday.
Beware the righteous man doing the bidding of his God.
Ammon Bundy tells how the Lord directed him: “I did exactly what he Lord asked me to do….I was to call all these people together….to participate in this wonderful thing that the Lord is about to accomplish.”
…and, oh, so, so sincere….
Ammon Bundy: Dear Friends, If we do not stand we will have nothing to pass on.
Sunday, Jan. 10
Bundys’ anti-federal Mormonism has deep roots—Ammon, Capt. Moroni & modern-day, self-styled “Nephites”:
Capt. Moroni: https://youtu.be/1KHuOpE578M
To folks who might think these kinds of beliefs are harmless, I strongly recommend Jon Krakauer’s “Under the Banner of Heaven.”
Jeffrey Lundgren & the Kirtland Temple: Another modern example of Mormon scriptural belief gone awry:
Jeffrey Lundgren – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Friday, Jan. 8
The book of ‘Alma,’ chapters 17 ff, in the ‘Book of Mormon’ may offer clues to Ammon Bundy’s behavior.
Is he living out a convoluted interpretation of the life of his namesake? In Joseph Smith’s story, Ammon goes to the land of Ishmael, where he sees his chance to use the Lord’s power to win the hearts of the Lamanites. Then they would listen to his teachings:
In addition to the church of “latter-day saints” based at Salt Lake City, there are 70-some other Mormon sects. At least one fundamentalist group is based on the Arizona border, at Cedar City, Utah, where Ryan Bundy runs his construction company.
The Bundys’ seditious actions have been decried by the SLC church. To which Mormon Lord is Ammon Bundy listening?
Jon Krakauer, author of “Under the Banner of Heaven,” chimes in on the Bundys:
Thursday, Jan. 7
Laughter is the best medicine for the humorless jailbirds-to-be holed up at an Oregon bird sanctuary.
I like Robert Ehlert’s concluding comment of his editorial in today’s Idaho Statesman:
“The occupiers should take a clue from the tundra swans who visit in late fall and early winter at the refuge. They gather in the various ponds and their voices carry long distances. Though some stay, others know when it is time to move on.”
Wednesday, Jan. 6
Bill Kittredge, who grew up and ranched in southeastern Oregon’s Warner Valley, offers some deep insight into the myth of the West that is fueling much of the anti-government furor we’re seeing:
“…that old attitude from my childhood, the notion that my people live in a separate kingdom where they own it all, secure from the world, is still powerful and troublesome.”
Here is a link to an extended quotation from Bill Kittredge’s “Owning It All,” which captures the essence of the confusion about property that propels so much of the current anti-government, take-“back”-the-land nonsense:
The Ranch Dividians and their Republican supporters/apologists appear to be reading a constitution and listening to a god that don’t exist, except in a closed-off corner of their narrow minds:
Ammon Bundy arrives to address the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., on Jan. 4, 2016. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)
Washington Post Opinion writer
Norman Sparks & arrowheads he collected
The Indians that made this stuff didn’t think it was anything special. They used it and tossed it aside. It was just used junk to them.
Here’s another story of a man whose family roots in a place predate today’s rules and who scoffs at “outsiders” who come to enforce the new rules:
Mr. Sparks reminds me of a lot of men I knew in the Owens Valley and Death Valley areas. When I moved to Tecopa in 1974, I wrote about the impact a then proposed Wilderness designation would have on the mining tradition that, in part, led to designation of Death Valley as a National Monument:
“Death Valley Prospect: No Miners Allowed,” Coast, Aug. 1974.
I don’t think it’s just my Libra nature that sees these as more complex issues than they first appear. I’d be interested in your thoughts.
Another instance of a similar phenomenon occurred when thousands of Mormon pioneers persecuted in the East headed for what was Mexico when they left and became part of the US frontier shortly after the first of them arrived. They set down deep roots in Deseret and built a virtual empire around a religious principle, only to have new rules enforced upon them by a larger, outside power.