At a cost of $500,000 to taxpayers in the state of Oregon (Federal costs not calculated), the 25 day occupation turned standoff has yet to come to come to a close in Oregon. Last night, federal and local law enforcement (LE) officials hoped to bring an end to situation by cutting the head off the snake. Yet, as classic insurgency doctrine continues to prove fallible – the removal of the leadership has [again], done little to actually stop any organization of armed and motivated individuals.
In a joint coordinated effort, Federal and local LE successfully executed a transit cordon and detain on U.S. 395, as the group was traveling in a two-vehicle convoy to a town hall meeting in John Day, Oregon. The operation led to the inevitable flashpoint between armed and opposing sides, and resulted in a short-lived exchange of violence. When the shots and shouts subsided, the spokesman for the Militia – The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom – Robert “LaVoy” Finicum , 56 of Arizona was dead. Ryan Bundy 43, of Nevada and lieutenant to the militia leader, Ammon Bundy, 40 of Idaho – was wounded in the exchange. He was released shortly after by a local hospital to Federal custody, where he joined seven others.
Earlier this month in an exclusive interview with SOFREP, a militia insider from the facility told SOFREP, when asked if they were prepared to kill law enforcement officials. “I believe some of the more extremist supporters might be, should it come down to that. I would say there were only five or six extreme guys there who were armed and had that outlook. How many of those would’ve actually killed? I can’t say. I doubt they would, but you never know”.
Albeit, due to Federal dexterity, a multisite maneuver was executed with limited engagement, and netted militiamen at three locations – with U.S. 395 being the only site to incur violence. On 395, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, 44, of Oregon, Shawna Cox, 59, of Utah, and Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Montana were detained and Robert Finicum was killed. In Burns Oregon, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Arizona and Peter Santilli, 50, of Ohio were arrested in Burns. Two states over in Arizona, Jon Ritzheimer, 32, was detained after a short standoff – where he surrendered officials.
Those detained will face Federal felony counts of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372. Similar charges await those who remain in the facility that belongs to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, located near Burns, Oregon or those who have yet to be detained.
The resulting situation in Oregon has now transformed into a full-fledged “dry tinder awaiting a match” standoff.
Federal and local officials have established containment checkpoints – blocking all avenues of approach to and from the refuge on Wednesday. The obstacle belt is set to deny additional aggressive actions from those inside or outside the facility, and to ensure the safety of the local population and law enforcement. Special clearance has been allotted to local ranchers who own property on the refuge, and they will be allowed passage through the checkpoints – although anyone travelling through them will be subject to identity verification and a search of their vehicle.
Inside the compound, a new leader has emerged, Jason Patrick, of Georgia and is reorganizing his remaining forces – for a long stay. This morning, he told Oregon Public Broadcasting: “They will not leave”. He continued “we’re not cowards like the rest”. He ended his stamen to OPB saying, that “They’re prepared to die”.
Law enforcement officials have dug in and are continuing their wait for an appropriate and cautious time to strike. A strategy which has thus far worked to their advantage, and has avoided another Waco fiasco. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, Oregon, who has been praised as understanding the situation, sent a message to the remaining occupiers in the facility. He has asked them to “go home before anyone else gets hurt”. A message we can all hope is received before this situation escalates for the worse.