For nearly one month, armed militants under the leadership of Ammon Bundy took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns, Ore.
Last evening, Bundy and seven others were arrested. LaVoy Finicum was killed in the shootout. Here’s why last night’s events, even with the death of Finicum, is a good thing.
1. It could have been so much worse
The last time a Democrat was President of the United States, armed militants fought federal agents and paid a heavy price. At Ruby Ridge, three people died. In Waco, 86 people died including, 21 children. No doubt, Finicum’s death is very regrettable, but it could have been much worse.
2. It’s a win for the West
Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees led to a standoff with the BLM that ended with the agency backing down and Bundy walking free. Bundy’s son Ammon thought he could ride the West with complete impunity. Fortunately those illusions have been dampened, which is good. The West doesn’t need to become a depot for every crackpot with a gun and delusions of government tyranny.
3. It’s a win for this country
The disparity between the authorities’ reaction to a group of armed white criminals and armed non-white criminals can’t be overstated. Every time Bundy was allowed to sashay up to the microphone or travel into Burns, it reinforced a sad narrative about the United States: justice is not equal.
4. It was time
Certainly the right wing in this country will try to make a martyr out of Finicum. They were going to make a martyr out of somebody anyway. It’s part of their MO. But Finicum had plenty of opportunities to NOT be in a shootout with authorities. In fact, he traveled to Utah without incident in early January.
In this country we have a penchant for personal responsibility. When a person violates the law, provokes law enforcement officials and packs heat, bad things are going to happen.
Everybody knows this. Now the remaining criminals at Malheur and everybody else with fantasies of an armed revolution do too.