I’ve Made a Huge Mistake…

If you’ve ever watched “Arrested Development,” you know the sense of dread a character gets when they say, “I’ve made a huge mistake.” If you’ve never watched “Arrested Development,” just pretend you’re one of the people currently occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and you might get the same idea. That’s because your leaders, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, have led you into quite the predicament. You were just minding your own business with like-minded militia members whose version of the American Dream is one in which “government” is spelled, “N-O-N-E,” and the next thing you know, you’re in the middle of Nowhere, Oregon, with nothing to eat but guns and bad arguments. How did it come to this?

After all, Cliven Bundy got away with feeding his cattle for free on federal land for 20 years, and when the feds came to take the cattle as payment, lots of militia people showed up and forced them to back down. If Cliven could pull something like that off, surely his sons could do the same, right? I mean, they share the same genes, so they must share the same outcomes, too. Besides, the argument in this case was way better than Cliven’s: Dwight and Steve Hammond got re-sentenced for committing arson on federal land, because the original judge refused to give them the mandatory minimum sentence. What are you supposed to do when something like that happens – NOT occupy federal land using people who hate the federal government, don’t live anywhere near the area, and lack support from the people who were put in jail in the first place? You even tried sweetening the pot by not only demanding the Hammonds’ release, but also that the land you’re occupying be divvied up among local ranchers. What more do they want?

And, yet, not only are the Hammonds themselves saying this was a bad idea, but some of the locals are even against you, wondering why you forced yourself into local matters when you aren’t even from the same state. It’s almost like they think taking over land and demanding it be given away isn’t the best way to approach concerns about what can and can’t be done on that land. Perhaps worst of all, some militia groups have even turned against you. And, when radical groups committed to overthrowing the government based on fictional versions of American history tell you something’s a bad idea, it really makes you stop and think. Perhaps for the first time in years…

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