In Oregon, the armed, right-wing occupation of a federally owned wildlife outpost has entered its fourth day. An antigovernment militia calling itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. On Monday, the ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven, turned themselves in to federal authorities in California. The Hammonds have said the militants in Oregon do not speak for them. At a news conference on Monday, Ammon Bundy, the leader of the militants, spoke out in defense of the Hammonds.
Ammon Bundy: “Myself and many, many, many others, for weeks on end, put all the energy we possibly could to try to keep them from having to go into this prison, and we feel that we have exhausted all prudent measures and have been ignored. And it has been left to us to decide whether we allow these things to go on or whether we make a stand so they will not happen to other people across this country.”
Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refused to pay decades’ worth of cattle grazing fees, prompting a standoff with federal rangers last year in Nevada, during which an armed militia rallied to his support. We’ll have more on the occupation in Oregon after headlines.