Saturday, January 16, 2016

Enough Is Enough

Can someone please explain why the feds have held off on taking any action at all against the (as Jim Wright poetically puts it) "bums with guns" at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Two weeks into this and they've got people coming and going as they please, bringing and sending supplies, tearing down fences. And now you have environmental activists stepping up to confront these thieving peckerwoods, because their federal government doesn't have the fucking balls to do anything about this. Are they waiting for someone to get hurt or killed?

Playtime is over. We're two weeks into this now, and they're just digging in, like the parasites they are. No one wants a Waco, but this can easily be resolved without violence. But these assholes need to be taught that the law applies to them as well; whether they leave the refuge alive or dead is up to them, but they are not going straight back home either way. They are no longer free men. They are going to be taking an involuntary vacation in Club Fed for a while.

After the last couple years of urban rioting, some distinctions should be clear. Since rioters are typically armed only with things they can throw, riots get contained pretty quickly, and their participants are dispersed, truncheoned, and/or arrested within hours. Rioters that have guns typically get shot pretty quickly. Compare and contrast with the seizure of a federal building by a band of heavily armed lunatics with a bizarre political agenda -- something that, if it occurred in another country, would correctly be portrayed as extremism or terrorism.

In the meantime, here's a list of things that the government should be doing, right now, to get this resolved:
  • Cut electrical power. No more heat, no more cooking, no more Twitter manifestos. This should have been done after the first twenty-four hours.
  • Cordon off the access roads. No more care packages. Go shoot a fucking squirrel and cook up some stew by rubbing some twigs together. That's what a real patriot would do.
  • Stage an area a couple hundred yards out front with a couple of lightly armored fed vehicles, the kind they use to blast loud music at people they want to drive out of their hole. Don't even bother with the music -- just blast a pre-recorded loop informing them over and over again that they aren't going home, that laws will be enforced.
  • Send the IRS up the asses of all the ringleaders, especially the Bundy family. These guys don't believe that the federal government has the right to administer public lands. It's not unreasonable to speculate that they also don't believe in paying taxes.
  • Send Child Protective Services to investigate the homes of each and every person known to be occupying the refuge. These are crazy people. You can never be too sure.
  • Rescind any grazing permits, or any other federal applications involving use of public lands or resources. They like the free market so much, maybe it's time they tried it out.
  • Assuming that at least some of these bozos have jobs, and are not merely "self-employed" types, it might do to check out the places of business where they work.
  • Place a federal tax lien on Cliven Bundy's ranch. This should have been done years ago. The BLM never needed to confront these yahoos in the first place. Just send them notice that when their doddering, senile patriarch finally takes his well-deserved dirt nap, the ranch he worked his life to build is going to belong to Uncle Sugar. And I hope they raze it to the ground and build an AIDS hospice or a commune on it.

Each of those things, and certainly all of them collectively, constitute some level of government harassment. But the provocation is clear, deliberate, and repeated, and things cannot go on like this. No nation can permit a situation where one group of people decide which laws they're going to obey, because they have guns and a peculiar interpretation of a specific clause of the US Constitution. If these slap-dick militia wannabes are allowed to get away with this, it just emboldens the next group, and the next.

I mean, fuck it, I don't get any perceivable value from paying my taxes, on any level. I receive no federal benefits, aside from the privilege of borrowing money I can never repay, for a useless degree. I get no value from the state and local taxes I pay -- the roads here are barely drivable, the schools try but are packed with too many kids with indifferent morons for parents to be effective, and the county won't even clear vegetation-choked creeks that are flood hazards in the winter and fire hazards in the summer. I got a $300 seat belt ticket driving 20 mph on an empty surface road, getting my Sunday paper, because this state is zealous in its pursuit of easy revenue enhancement.

So maybe I should decide I don't feel like playing along with any of that any more, right? What happens if you don't pay your taxes? You get fined; you get your wages garnished. What if you don't pay your traffic tickets? Your fine gets hiked, and eventually your license to drive gets suspended. You get the idea. We can all find a legitimate grievance with the overweening state.

But the difference between grown-ups and children is that grown-ups understand a very important principle:  the commitment we share to abide by laws, even laws we don't like or disagree with, this commitment is not to the state, but to each other. It's the understanding that if I decide I'm above this law, then what's to stop you from deciding you're above that law?

Of course, that's if you take the Bundys at their word that this is about the mandatory minimum sentences enforced on Dwight and Steven Hammond. There is a legitimate argument to be made about the unfairness -- indeed, the unconstitutionality -- of mandatory minimum sentences. But you'll have to forgive me if I remain skeptical of the noble intentions proffered here. They never gave a shit about the countless mandatory minimum sentences used to put low-level drug dealers behind bars for life. How much you wanna bet these exact same folks have voted for "tough on crime" pols who championed mandatory minimums? Well, this is what you wanted, this is what you got.

This is just a good old-fashioned land grab, perpetrated by criminals who just can't get over the idea of the federal gubmint administering lands that their great-grandfathers stole fair and square from the injuns. They're not just thieves, they're liars. They want that land for themselves and their friends.

So while we can all understand the reluctance of the federales to "provoke" these whackjobs, someone has to be the adult and step in and say that time is up. There's a strange dynamic among this crowd when you read and hear their nonsense. One element of it is, of course, the premise that they're living under the evil, jackbooted tyranny of Preznit Dolomite. Another element, somewhat dissonant to the first one, is a peculiar admiration for "strong men" types. They like Trump because they feel that he's strong, says what he means, walks the talk, takes action. Many of them even like Vladimir Putin, again because there is a guy that does not fuck around.

What they need to be made to understand is that in a real tyranny, they'd already be dead or in prison, and a real, third-world prison at that. Putin would have sent a tank to the front gate the first day, given them a "surrender or die" ultimatum, and maybe as many as twelve hours to consider their options. Then it would be Spetsnaz time. And those that didn't die would be the new zeki and suki in some freezing Siberian gulag. That's the first thing a real strongman does -- he eliminates anyone who even thinks they might become competition. I mean, that's really the point of being a strongman, when you think about it. Logic, as we've seen over and over again, is not an acquaintance of these fools.

Again, I don't think anyone -- at least anyone outside the refuge -- wants it to get to that point. I do think some of the occupants, the bums with guns, want what they think will be their martyrdom. We don't want to give that to them, even if this is a culture that will forget about them regardless, is probably already starting to forget about them. But you also can't maintain the appearance of competent governance if a couple dozen dipshits can seize a federal building, destroy federal property, tell the government to go fuck themselves, and get away with it.

Because if they can do it, then maybe the rest of us should follow suit.

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