Monday, January 4, 2016

Breaking Down the Oregon Standoff by Charles Vandever

If any of you are wondering what, exactly, is taking place in Oregon, here is the abridged version. Many years ago, the BLM claimed the land they have as BLM land. Any grazing on it would require a permit, as well as a water permit, should they need the water. The Hammonds, later on, bought their ranch, adjacent to the "BLM property" and obtained a permit for grazing and one for water. They had to drive through part of the BLM land on a road, just to access their property. 

Now fast forward. The BLM decides, many years later, to revoke the water permit for the Hammonds, hindering the ability to water their stock. The BLM then decided to revoke the grazing permit for the Hammonds, hindering their ability to feed their stock. They then told the Hammonds that they could no longer use the road that went through BLM property, in order to get to their land. The Hammonds challenged this, in court, claiming the road was a county road. They won, in court, as the judge agreed with them.

Fast forward again. The Hammonds contact the BLM to get permission to do a controlled burn of their own land, as is required. They receive the permission and the controlled burn burns a small portion of the BLM land, as it got out of control. The BLM later admits that this improved the quality and condition of their land. Later on, a lightning fire starts a wildfire and the Hammonds start a backburn, to save their home. A backburn, for those that do not know, is a fire that is intentionally started, heading it toward the existing fire, as to run it out of fuel to continue past the backburn. This worked and saved the Hammonds ranch. The BLM claimed that the fire that burned their land, from the lightning fire, was the fire the Hammonds lit, but there was no way to prove whether it came from the wildfire or the backburn.

So, the BLM charges the Hammond father and son with arson on federal property. After the OKC bombing, legislation was passed that any arson on federal land is terrorism, so they charged the Hammonds with arson terrorism. The judge, at that time, reviewed the case, and though the minimum penalty for that is 5 years, the judge didn't feel this was terrorism and ordered the father to serve 3 months and the son to serve 1 year. The Hammonds served their time and were released. 4 years after their release, BLM receives new management and they decide that the Hammonds should have served the full 5 years, so they took them back to court!

Whether you agree or disagree with what the militia, in Oregon is doing, the actions against the Hammonds, by the BLM, should be considered criminal, in my opinion.

1 comment:

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