There are a lot of issues getting me steamed these days but the vibe has been so good around here that I haven't wanted to kill the buzz and get pissy. I think the Bundy clans' seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is something worth writing about.
If you have been hiding under a rock somewhere, lounging around in deep space or are just getting out of rehab, let me do a little reboot for you: If my math is correct we are now in day 14 of a standoff where armed militants have taken over a National Wildlife Refuge, ostensibly protesting excessive federal land
ownership and regulation.
They have managed to piss off the local townspeople, the neighborhood ranchers, the sheriff, birders, the Paiute Indians, archaeologists, the feds, undoubtably some bureaucrats and many more of the rest of us.
This article today put me over the edge.
Thousands of archaeological artifacts — and maps detailing where more can be found — are kept inside the national wildlife refuge buildings currently being held by an armed group of protestors angry over federal land policy.
Ryan Bundy, one of the leaders of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, says they have no real interest in the antiquities. Still, their access to the artifacts and maps has some worried that looters could take advantage of the situation. Bundy said people interested in archeology are welcome to explore the refuge, but that cattle ranchers and loggers should have priority when it comes to land use."Before white man came, so to speak, there was nothing to keep cattle from tromping on those things," Bundy said. Though some countries had domesticated cattle 10,000 years ago, the animals came to the United States with European settlers.
"We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim," Bundy said. "There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important."Let me say this. You have no respect for anybody and are an embarrassment to our country. Your inflated sense of entitlement is curious and sorely misplaced. It is federal land especially to protect it from, you people, the locals that think that they have some special divine right to use and exploit it. Too many rural communities view the federal land of the United States as their own personal piggy bank. It belongs to all of us.
I saw what happened in Utah when Clinton gave protected status to the Paria Escalante. The locals had a shit fit. Thank god he did what he did, or it would be a big coal mine right now, despoiling and creating a filthy, outdated, unnecessary product under the guise of bringing jobs to the locals.
I am tired of rural folk getting sweetheart deals to graze on land that belongs to us all, mining companies that pay next to no royalties to extract coal and fossil fuels. The Hammonds, the principal protagonists in the early part of this drama, purportedly set fire to 127 acres of federal land to cover up for a deer poaching operation. They got a sweetheart deal and then a judge upped the ante and all hell broke loose.
I think that this type of vigilante operation can only hurt any legitimate gripe people might have over federal overreaching. I have seen what happens when the locals are running the asylum, witness the worst sections of Wyoming and West Texas, the parts that have become stinky cesspools and superfund sites. When it is a choice between protecting the environment and putting money in Bubba's pocket, money wins every time.
The reason it is federal land is to protect it from you people. Get it? You don't own it, we all do.