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OPINION: Oregon Protest Reaction Shows War on Terror Is Tearing America Apart

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As around a dozen armed protesters gathered at the unoccupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon, angry over the federal government’s resentencing of local ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, in an arson case related to locally-controversial Bureau of Land Management regulations on land use, the mainstream media cast aside its journalistic responsibility and instead took on the more profitable role of a fight promoter.

The sum of the deceptive click-bait headlines swirling through the news cycle painted the event as that of a 150-man armed militia storming a “federal building” at gunpoint and seizing it, a choice of words that seemed to de-emphasize the fact that the protest was taking place at a small, unoccupied welcome center to a wildlife refuge with no one at the time under any imminent danger and instead called to mind an invasion of a federal building like the one targeted in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Consequently, the Twitter hashtag #YallQaeda emerged, oddly implying that this distinctly western dispute has something to do with the deep south where the word “y’all” is a part of the common vernacular, with some social media users rallying behind it and implying or directly stating that the protesters are domestic terrorists.

To be fair, some of the commentators were equipped with good points: it is undeniably true that people of color face disproportionately higher rates of police abuse. It is undeniably the case that police reforms need to take place across the country to ensure that African Americans, for example, are not assumed to be a threat to law enforcement just on the basis of race.

It is also certainly the case that the War on Terror has driven America to a hysterical level of suspicion toward Muslims, and this has created a civil rights crisis. In setting aside the classification “terrorist” as distinct from all other alleged crimes in how the federal government’s due process rights apply, Muslims have been executed without a trial (in the case of then 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki), denied the right to fly without due process, and detained indefinitely without charges.

The dream of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement was to extend American freedom and opportunity to everyone, not to expand race-based crackdowns to all Americans.

However, these are good arguments for ending mandatory minimums in the case of the disproportionate numbers of people of color being incarcerated under the War on Drugs, not an argument for applying mandatory minimums to the Hammond family in the interest of fairness. These are also good arguments for repealing the War on Drugs and the War on Terror and their assaults against the human rights traditions of American jurisprudence, not arguments for strengthening and extending these abuses to additional demographic categories to even the score.

The dream of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement was to extend American freedom and opportunity to everyone, not to expand race-based crackdowns to all Americans.

Conservatives should learn a lesson from what is happening in Oregon. Pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem about the rise of Naziism in Germany specifically — and the erosion of civil liberties more generally — warned, “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew… Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

For every meme a conservative shares on social media characterizing Black Lives Matter protesters as thugs or local Muslims attempting to break ground on a new mosque as terrorists, it must be assumed that there will be an equal and opposite number of people subsequently calling for open carry protesters or pro-lifers to be shot on sight or incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.

The government could very well referee this conflict by some day giving both sides what they want.

On the other hand, in supporting the application of mandatory minimums to the Hammond family against a judge’s objections and characterizing protesters gathering on federal property and refusing to leave as an insurrection, many left-leaning commentators are by precedent calling for an undoing of the hard work that has been done so far to affect criminal justice reform in this country and are putting future Black Lives Matter protesters who might want to make their point by gathering on federal property and refusing to leave at risk of being victimized by state violence.

Instead of looking for more reasons to define more people as terrorists, all Americans should be working together to restore due process rights. This division among the American people might have been exactly what bin Laden wanted in attacking the U.S. in the first place.

Editor’s note: This editorial, written by Barry Donegan, originally published on Truth in Media on January 4, 2016, and may have been modified slightly for publication on IVN.

Photo Source: AP

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333 comments
Dianne123
Dianne123

if people are armed then they're not protesters, they're criminals threatening to harm federal officers and police.. anyone who advocates the violent overthrow of the govt is a traitor

sporkov
sporkov

This was well thought out and is something we should all think seriously about.

Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson

Well we have comments complaining about BLM , which isn't an issue here...racists justifying ? We have anti government yahoos, justifying guns and anti American tactics. Meanwhile men and women are dying for you overseas and their memory is being tarnished by both groups. Yes BLM demonstrations are wasteful and they should be taking care of their neighborhoods, educating, stopping inner city violence against themselves. Yes gun toting yahoos solve nothing..and guns kill 90 people per day and injure another 200 plus ( well published stats ).. These people should not go around intimidating people, pretending to be saviors, and stop their kind from all the killing. And then there is the groups that are anti American government no matter what, and use guns to threaten and spew their nonsense. Then there is the uneducated all races, but extremes in whites. Witness who does mass shootings and terrorizes the public. Finally we have politicians that are clueless, biased, and really anti American. If this country is going to survive, these groups need to fade into the background where they cannot disrupt . Awww ...a lost utopia

ronster23117
ronster23117

"These people should not go around intimidating people, pretending to be saviors, and stop their kind from all the killing." The people who are doing "all the killing" are not these "people"; The people who are doing "all the killing" are concentrated in liberal-controlled cities and bastions (i.e. "gun-free and areas with strict gun laws and regulations) across our nation. DOJ and National Crime and Statistics pointedly addresses this...Our Federal, State and local governments are abject and abysmal failures when addressing criminal activity at its core location (i'e. Liberal-controlled cities and bastions..."gun-free" and areas with strict gun laws and regulations across our nation") Then...and only then will the vast, majority if "gun-related" criminal activity be addressed. The reality of this occurring? Slim to none. Why? Because drugs and criminal activity equals big money; Wherever there is big money you will ALWAYS find politicians and government officials entrenched with their hands wherever big money can be found!!! As a former P.I. we always had a saying..."Follow the $$$$"!!! 

Dave Yeager
Dave Yeager

It was great and was built by slaves, and at one time we were ALL refugees...

Ricky R Jamison
Ricky R Jamison

If it's fair to critique President Obama's Birth Credentials, school records, religious affiliation & entire life in general, shouldn't EVERY SINGLE ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL, pass the same SCRUTINY⁉️ EVERY SINGLE ONE❗️

Rusty Hale
Rusty Hale

NO OBAMA IS THE ONLY REASON THAT AMERICA IS BEING TORN APART, HES A RACE BAITER, HES RACIST HIMSELF, AND EVERYTIME OBAMA OPENS HIS MOUTH HES LYING. AND OBAMA HAS AN ADJENDA AGAINST WHITE MALES IN THIS COUNTRY

Jen Mackay
Jen Mackay

The governor of Oregon is a woman who is in after the male governor resigned due to a scandal, so she has no balls. :)

Jose L. Acosta
Jose L. Acosta

This is spot on. Our civil liberties are being dissected in the name of national security.

John Hancock
John Hancock

media hates this they want liberals complaining about nonsense

Hardy Campbell
Hardy Campbell

Cicil war is just around the corner, folks. Get ready.

Stacey Holtorf Krish
Stacey Holtorf Krish

Yeah, Rhonda, a Bundy supporter posted an article about the Kochs backing the Bundys. The government should be protecting us from the rich and powerful taking advantage of us, which is probably why the big business/Republican Party pushes mistrust of the government so hard.

Rick Christensen
Rick Christensen

Nevertheless, the law must be sustained. If it is not just, change it. Grabbing guns and taking over buildings is completely wrong except in the gravest extreme, which, no matter how difficult some may see things to be, is not what we have now.

Daniel Lunsford
Daniel Lunsford

I can't say that I support these militia goons, but I sure don't support things that circumvent due process, such as civil forfeiture

Doc Johnson
Doc Johnson

Weather he's right or not, this is what Mr Obama wants.

Bill Barnett
Bill Barnett

Don't tell it to us ; tell it to Bin Laden's assistant in the white house!

James Lakey
James Lakey

That's funny the signs said Black lives matter.

James Lakey
James Lakey

A law does not necessarily translate to justice.

Harold Salisbury
Harold Salisbury

Our government taking bribes from special interest groups is tearing america apart. Racism has never been this bad in last 60 since Obama took office as well

Arika Grace-Kelly
Arika Grace-Kelly

Since 9/11 was an inside job, I don't think Osama wanted anything.

Rhonda Eldridge
Rhonda Eldridge

Stacey Holtorf Krish --I don't think that people are getting your point or they might just not care. It's not just that specific property but that also of Indian reservations and their natural resources that the Koch brothers and other big corporations would love to confiscate for their own profit. If they had their way, no land would be safe and private ownership of land would be taken from the people without any pretense of respecting the Constitution or even reimbursing people (which would mean nothing if Americans cannot invest money into land for their own wealth). But yeah, let's blame the black guy and scream in the name of serfdom tyranny.

Jane Glover
Jane Glover

Terrorists hope to subvert the American system of government. There are many Muslim business people, highly educated and working in this country. The extremists integrate in to our system and will eventually use it to their own benefit. Can't turn back the clock. Our society needs to work harder on educating and valuing our youth, insisting on respectful behavior and an attitude of gratitude. Nothing is free, including good values. Ever notice how many of medical residents are from other countries? Why are we not able to share the American dream with our own?

Mike Reely
Mike Reely

again that land and building belongs to we the American people okkk

Jeff Oelke
Jeff Oelke

They are Mormon extremists.....yes terrorists!

Jeff Oelke
Jeff Oelke

That's B.S,, the president was born in Honolulu. It might raise more money to say that he was born in Kenya, but it's wrong.

James Lakey
James Lakey

Whites built a pretty great country I don't see a whole lot of American refugees going anywhere of any color or ethnic background so cute the bulls hit we all know better

Homer Collins
Homer Collins

You beat me to it.... to add... if anything, the war on terror made many stronger.

Brian Boyle
Brian Boyle

The federal govt has no constitutional authority to dictate how states use their land. Except for ten square miles and ports of entry. End of story

Don Hall
Don Hall

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT WANT DIVISION ! DIVISION IS WHAT THE " JERK " OBAMA WANTS !

Jim Garman
Jim Garman

you are as looney as odumbest is, WAKE UP!!!

Jim Garman
Jim Garman

No; the war on terror is not. What is, is the total idiot who should have been evicted from the whitehouse in 2008 for treason and put on trial. With him there is NO WAR on terrorism,he thinks everything is workplace violence.

Daisy Thomas
Daisy Thomas

Javier Frausto He has and the Republicans still spread the lies about him. Look it up!

Bob Sheldon
Bob Sheldon

No. These war monger gun nuts have been around since the country began. They started the Civil War and haven't been satisfied since. The KKK just exaggerates it and the NRA supports it. Bin Laden just got us to mistrust all Arabs as terrorists. \U0001f60e

Ginny Riker
Ginny Riker

The division between those who have (and who use what they have to influence law and policies).. and those who don't have and therefore work for and support those who have.. is happening more apparently. It is coming to the light of our collective conscience. More is revealed every day. War on terror is not to blame for the awakening of America and the entire world. The evolution of human consciousness is upon us. It is very hard to keep secrets and have your propaganda be believed in a world that is so well connected. The internet is a tool for awakening and informing and connecting and organizing. When "we the people" connect and cooperate, things will change... as we are starting to see. Lies, and all that those lies uphold, will start to crumble. It's already happening! It will continue. There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. The valuing of human life above profit is the idea whose time has come.

Randy Brindle
Randy Brindle

I totaly disagree, it's the BLM movement that's tearing this country apart...wake up America...

Andrew Lopert
Andrew Lopert

First an isolated & unoccupied gift shop... then, the world! Oh the terror of it all!

Denise Staton
Denise Staton

Exactly...O's questionable credentials or lack thereof was brought to the attention by the then Democratic Chair that he was not legit or the docs legal...and no one cared.

Denise Staton
Denise Staton

Yes he is right, it is all by design, keep the masses fighting among themselves. There is more power when everyone joins together...that is what they are scared of.

Pasha Nixon
Pasha Nixon

The feds are wrong on mandatory minimums, but an armed rebellion is hardly the way to fight it.

Carl Paul
Carl Paul

These ppl just want our so called leaders to abide by the Constitution. Stop trying to skirt it at every turn.

RC Carranza
RC Carranza

Get rid of Obama and Democrats who back him.

Luana Bessey
Luana Bessey

These people are squatters. They are on My land this is public land. It was at one time Native American reservation land that white settlers took from them.

Adelbert Batica
Adelbert Batica

A country will divide and fall apart...as long as some of its citizens willingly choose to be stupid.

Kathy Anderson
Kathy Anderson

Nancy McCullers, you got it so right! And from the point of someone who agrees completely, I have such a hard time understanding why something so glaring to me seems obliterated to so many others!

Mark Turner
Mark Turner

you don't know what the hell you're talking about..In texas,an open carry state,there was a post on facebook,the day before yesterday of a guy with an M16 over his shoulder,in a mcdonalds,or some fast food joint...Research the subject matter before you start shooting off you uninformed big mouth..