Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ammon Bundy and his merry men vs. the Sheriff of Malheur (Part 2) Why don't officials oust Oregon occupiers?

There was a good article by Maxine Berstein, in the Wednesday edition of The Oregonian – titled ‘Why don’t officials try to oust Oregon occupiers?’  An interesting and relevant question to ask.  Furthermore, it appears that many residents in and around Burns, Oregon, and those in close proximity to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, are wondering the same thing.  I, too, wonder.

I’ve been to the Refuge area – just last summer in fact – spent about four days over there.  It was beautiful, prairie-like and remote – great place for bird watching and catching a glimpse of wild mustangs.  Oh, and one other thing, the best hamburger I can recall having was served to me at the Diamond Hotel, located in the very small town of Diamond.

Environmental conditions at the Wildlife Refuge can be bitterly cold this time of year – life threatening if one is exposed to the elements.  Currently, roadblocks could be tough duty for the law enforcement personnel assigned, but possible.  Controlling access from all directions into the Refuge, including overland access, nearly impossible.  That said, the current weather is a contributing factor in controlling most access to the Refuge buildings.  That will last until the cold temperatures ease-off in late February or March.  However, when spring arrives – if nothing is done by law enforcement – the current take-over of the Refuge could become a regular three-ring circus, with people arriving from all over the country to join the festivities.

So what could /should be done?  Law enforcement has to gradually take control.  Accordingly, local access has to be restricted.  How?  I would suggest that access to the Refuge by reporters or some others would require a permit from law enforcement.  The area around the Refuge, say approximately one square mile should be designated ‘No Trespassing,’ and that authorized access would only be granted with a permit.  This would put the authorities back in some semblance of control.  Now, it seems to appear that law enforcement is uncertain, indecisive and helpless – that Ammon Bundy is in the driver’s seat.

What if someone enters without a permit?  Well, this is not a perfect system; but some efforts need to be made to identify trespassers.  This might require a continuing law enforcement presence in the area to monitor roads.  Have the National Guard set up some temporary facilities so that law enforcement personnel, monitoring the roads, can have some comforts and protection from the elements on a 24 hour basis.

Overflights with cameras might be another option.  What about satellite monitoring?  If, nonetheless, some individuals insist upon entering, even when advised not to, or actually sneak in, those individuals would be subsequently cited for trespass and face arrest upon leaving the occupied Refuge area.

I would suggest that some reporters be given a permit and allowed to enter the Refuge and talk to Bundy and his associates – allow Bundy a voice – as well as to monitor conditions inside.  I would suggest that basic comfort supplies be allowed to enter the Refuge with a permit – food, clothing, etc.  I would suggest that no guns or ammunition or liquor be allowed to pass the checkpoint.

Of course, the other option is sitting back and hoping Ammon Bundy and his associates get tired and go home – before hundreds of people converge on the area in the spring – to include Bundy supporters, various militia members and survialists, tourists, mental cases, you name it.

In the meantime, without some action on the part of law enforcement (other than talk) there is a high probability that other facilities will be taken over.  Come spring, the real fun could begin.

True Nelson
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