On Saturday, a group of armed militia members broke into Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge, ostensibly to protest the upcoming prison sentences of two ranchers. They plan to stay there for “years,” according to spokesperson Ammon Bundy, and they’re willing to fight to the death. And, oh yes: The wife of one of the convicted ranchers has no idea what they’re doing out there.
The convicted men are Dwight and Steven Hammond, a father and son convicted of arson in October for setting fire to land owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Hammonds said the fire was a controlled burn to fight an invasive species, while the BLM contended that it was meant to cover up an illegal hunt and killing of federally-owned deer. The two were convicted first in 2012, had their sentences vacated, and were re-sentenced this fall. They are due to report to prison Monday morning.
In an interview with Dwight’s wife Susan, Oregon Public Radio found that she’s a little mystified by the protest supposedly in her family’s name.
From the OPR story, which we saw via Talking Points Memo:
When asked about the refuge occupation, Susan Hammond gave a dry laugh and said she was very surprised by it.
“I don’t even know what ‘occupying the refuge’ means. I can’t judge what’s going on out there because I don’t know what it is,” she said. “I hope they’ve got some warm clothes.”
Temperatures have been frigid in this region of Oregon, with numbers dipping into single digits overnight.
“I don’t really know the purpose of the guys who are out there,” said Susan Hammond. “I kind of understand where they come from, as far as their priorities in life.”
We don’t know either, Susan.
Ammon Bundy said earlier today that the militia members have “no desire” to die, which is certainly reassuring.
Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge. Image via AP.