Warriors Against Tyranny … or Not

__ranchersI’ve thought many times that there should be a Handbook of Sudden Fame and Riches, a little something that would provide needed guidance to child actors, lottery winners and overnight-sensation rock stars. The basic idea of the thing would be “Yeah, this is all great and stuff, but how do you handle it all so as to survive and be sane and successful LATER?”

For child actors, one of the lessons would be “This isn’t forever. Eventually you’ll be less cute, less appealing to that fickle audience, and they’ll stop paying to see you. The number of child actors who transition to successful adult acting careers is vanishingly small, and there’s a good chance you won’t be one of them. Invest the money rather than spend it. Also, get an education. And maybe take some real acting lessons.”

For lottery winners, the lesson might be “Your life is undergoing as drastic a change as if someone you love had died. It looks like a positive change to you, but you’ll later find it’s not all positive. The foundation of your earlier life — your values, your real friends and family, your home and neighborhood — is gone, and you’re going to have to find a way to live with the situation until you build a new one. There are people out there who can spend a million dollars in a month. If you become one of them, the money won’t last. And then you’ll be without your old home and friends and neighbors AND without the money. Feel your way into this gradually; don’t make any drastic changes in the way you spend, the way you treat people, etc.”

For rebels like Ryan and Ammon Bundy, I think the lesson might be “Don’t believe your own press.”

Here’s the latest on the “militia” members captured in Oregon:

Oregon Militants Denied Bail As Prosecutors Use Their Own Words Against Them

During the occupation, the militants frequently used social media to threaten and intimidate. They warned they would stay for years if necessary, and would use their guns if law enforcement tried to arrest them. They said they were willing to fight to the death.

__mugsBut … they didn’t, did they? Only Lavoy Finicum stuck to his guns, dying in the snow next to a remote road. The rest surrendered to law enforcement.

After reviewing the lengthy list of the occupiers’ boasts and threats, Judge Beckerman denied all the men bail, saying they pose a danger to the community, and that she is concerned they would not obey the court’s order to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.

Ironic. Denied bail because the judge is concerned they won’t obey the court order to return to Oregon for trial. In the act of rebelling against government itself, they’ve convinced a government official they can’t be trusted to cooperate.

When I picture them going back home and forting up again, in a place where they can draw supporters for ANOTHER armed standoff, I have to agree.

As to the remaining four occupiers of the federal wildlife refuge, it’s hard to tell if they’re still believing their press or if they’re hoping for some fairy-godmother-like event that will set them free.

Four remaining occupiers of wildlife refuge remain watchful

We’re not dead yet,” he said, repeating a theme that he and others have expressed through the weeks of the occupation. They’ve said they will only leave if given immunity from prosecution and are ready to die defending their position.

Oh yeah, they’ll TOTALLY get immunity. Probably get a ride home in a chauffeured limo too, with champagne and snacks.

It will be interesting to see what sort of arguments they all make in their defense. I don’t guess an impassioned faux-patriotic stand will play well with the court.

Interesting too to think that this ultimately SILLY sideshow has lost their father Cliven Bundy a handful of pawns and two of his knights, making him freshly vulnerable. You can bet nobody has forgotten him and his grazing fees, or the fact that his defenders were aiming rifles at law enforcement officers not long back.

Now for some long and, for these guys at least, dreary trials. I imagine them seeing themselves all this time in a heroic fantasy as valiant defenders of The Constitution, and now facing the dull, real-world fact that they will never sleep in their own beds again, never again wear their own clothes, never again eat home-cooked food. The drab machinery of government has swallowed them, and they will never come out of it.

They probably swore to each other, over and over in recent weeks, that they were willing to give their lives for their cause. The thing is, as they’re realizing now, they HAVE given their lives for it.

I’ll bet it will come to them many times over the decades ahead, sitting lonely and forgotten in federal prisons while the world outside moves on, that Finicum got off easy.


I’ll tell you something. There’s a part of me that sees this as part of a larger whole, in which great numbers of people are being lied to and frightened and incited daily — rather than, say, INFORMED — by the likes of Fox News and the Limbaughs and Becks of the world. In that view, these “militants” are children who have believed the fairy tales, but then taken up adult weapons and stood out in Grownup Land brandishing them.

They will now receive grownup punishments, and there can be no doubt that they should. But really, some large part of the responsibility for what they’ve done lies elsewhere.

I only wish there was some legal mechanism for punishing those others.