The Oregon militia standoff took some solid steps toward ending once and for all on Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of leader Ammon Bundy and seven other members, but it’s not finished yet. Here’s what to expect in the coming days and months.
A Last Standoff with the Feds
Ignoring successful standoffs in history, Bundy and four other militants decided they could leave the compound they’ve been occupying to attend an anti-government rally in John Day, Oregon, some 70 miles north of the small town Burns where they had been camped.
Authorities intercepted them, shots were fired, and Bundy’s group was arrested while “Tarp Man” LaVoy Finicum was killed. Then three others were taken into custody back at Burns.
Here’s a full list of who was apprehended and where:
- Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40 (traffic stop)
- Ryan C. Bundy, age 43 (traffic stop)
- Shawna Cox, age 59 (traffic stop)
- Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32 (traffic stop)
- Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, age 45 (arrested outside Burns)
- Peter Santilli, age 50 (arrested outside Burns)
- Jon Eric Ritzheimer, age 32 (surrendered)
That still leaves an uncertain number of members of Bundy’s Citizens for Constitutional Freedom still occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Occupier Jason Patrick told The New York Times that those remaining on the federal property were “prepared but calm” but would not confirm how long they planned to keep up the standoff.
“They said ‘peaceful resolution,’ but now there is a dead cowboy,” Patrick told the Times, and that the F.B.I. was “hellbent on war.”
Meanwhile, roadblocks have been set up around the refuge to limit access, and reporters say federal convoys are rolling in.
A Lot of Court Time
The militia members already in custody will see their day in court for the roughly three weeks they spent armed, occupying a federal building. All of the defendants face felony charges of “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties.” Given the lengths they’ll go to deny federal authority, you can imagine how well each one will take to being under the eye of a judge.
Law enforcement will have its own internal review of the incident leading to the arrest, as the Oregon State Police say there will be an investigation into the officer-involved shooting assisted by the Deschutes County Major Incident Team.
A Martyrdom Campaign
Ammon Bundy was almost a full-fledged folk hero to the anti-government movement, after rallying behind father Cliven Bundy in a 2014 dispute over cattle grazing that led to an armed confrontation with feds in Nevada. After his arrest he’ll carry even more weight among those who see nothing wrong with an armed occupation that asks people to send them snacks.
Instead it’s the late LaVoy Finicum who stands to become a sainted meme for the cause, and who’s already inspiring tributes on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page.