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No, There Isn’t A Racial Double Standard At Work In Oregon

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No, There Isn’t A Racial Double Standard At Work In Oregon


Out here on the edge of the National Forest, in the cattle-ranching, timber-cutting, deer-hunting county where I live, this Ammon Bundy guy looks like the Al Sharpton of cows. His publicity seeking has created a media pseudo-event of a particularly modern kind.

Can anybody doubt that the feds could more efficiently resolve standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by confiscating TV cameras rather than guns?

Actually there’s no real “standoff,” since law enforcement is nowhere in sight. Blocking the roads, cutting the power, and waiting them out looks like the wisest policy, although there appear to be almost as many tribal ideologues on the left hankering for a shootout as anti-government militia types.

Washington Monthly’s normally sensible David Atkins is breathing smoke and fire: “I feel that if Bundy’s little crew wants to occupy a federal building and assert that they’ll use deadly violence against any police who try to extract them,” he wrote “then they should get what they’re asking for just as surely Islamist terrorists would if they did likewise…”

“What’s good for one type of terrorist must also be good for another,” Atkins continued.

Sounds downright Trump-like to me. Elsewhere, racialized insults and cries for vengeance have become common. “Y’all-qaeda,” “yee-hawdists,” “yokel haram,” tweeted New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz. Less witty ridicule is everywhere.

At Salon, Bundy’s cowboy patriots are denounced as a “strident example of unapologetic white privilege in action.”

Salon thinks that “They’d be killed if they were black: The racial double standard at the heart of the new Bundy family standoff.”

“Armed white men seize a federal building. The government stands down carefully. But a 12-year-old with a toy gun?” reads the sub-hed.

Even Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson couldn’t resist making the tempting, but specious comparison between Bundy and Tamir Rice, the Cleveland child killed by cops in a city park. Think harder. Everybody acknowledges the boy’s death was a pointless tragedy. Nobody wanted him to die.

It’s also clearly false that armed white crackpots are always given a pass. Heard of Ruby Ridge? Waco? But hold that thought.

Robinson does acknowledge the single most salient fact: that Bundy’s posse is holed-up deep in the Oregon wilderness, thirty miles from a town of 2800, a threat to nobody but each other. The last thing the US government needs to do is give them the martyrdom a few of the crazier ones crave.

Then too, as a political matter, Bundy appears to have made an almost comical miscalculation. Hardly anybody in remote Harney County appears to support his cause. Even the father-son team of ranchers who reported on schedule to begin serving five year prison terms Bundy’s group is allegedly protesting have renounced his support.

Dwight and Steve Hammond did plead guilty to arson, you know.

In a press conference, county Sheriff David Ward addressed the anti-government vigilantes directly: “To the people at the wildlife refuge: You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County. That help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed occupation. The Hammonds have turned themselves in. It’s time for you to leave our community, go home to your families and end this peacefully.”

Which is not to say those sentences are either just or equitable. Even among their neighbors, opinions differ. Five years seems like an awfully long time for torching 139 acres of sagebrush and juniper—particularly given Dwight Hammond’s age, 73.

The sentencing judge thought so too, refusing to enforce the mandatory minimum as unconstitutionally severe. After prosecutors objected, the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco imposed the statutory penalty. Indeed, the Hammonds’ legal appeals are not complete, making the timing of Bundy’s insurrection inconvenient at best.

Detailed accounts in local media make the entire affair sound like a high desert version of Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey’s manic epic about a western Oregon logging clan. Some stress the Hammond family’s business success and generous support of local charities.

Trial records, however, also make it appear that as wealthy ranchers are prone to do, the Hammonds had taken to acting dictatorially. No doubt Bureau of Land Management bureaucracy can be maddening, but renting grazing rights on government land doesn’t convey the freedom of action a rancher has on his own property.

For the past 20 years, the Hammonds have taken to confronting hunters killing “their” deer on federal land, and threatening U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents over water and fencing disputes. According to a 2010 grand jury indictment, “Hammond family members have been responsible for multiple fires” for more than 20 years. The indictment also alleged that one fire was set to destroy evidence of deer poaching — animals killed not for meat but because they competed with cattle for forage.

If true, the wonder is that they got away with it so long.

Photo: Ammon Bundy departs after addressing the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Gene Lyons

Gene Lyons is a political columnist and author. Lyons writes a column for the Arkansas Times that is nationally syndicated by United Media. He was previously a general editor at Newsweek as wells an associate editor at Texas Monthly where he won a National Magazine Award in 1980. He contributes to Salon.com and has written for such magazines as Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Esquire, and Slate. A graduate of Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, Lyons taught at the Universities of Massachusetts, Arkansas and Texas before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. A native of New Jersey, Lyons has lived in Arkansas with his wife Diane since 1972. The Lyons live on a cattle farm near Houston, Ark., with a half-dozen dogs, several cats, three horses, and a growing herd of Fleckvieh Simmental cows. Lyons has written several books including The Higher Illiteracy (University of Arkansas, 1988), Widow's Web (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Fools for Scandal (Franklin Square, 1996) as well as The Hunting Of The President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, which he co-authored with National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason.

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  1. lilyhammer January 6, 2016

    I’m no fire-breathing liberal, but I take exception to the tone here.

    1) People on the left can be irritating and imprecise but I think what we’re trying to say here is that black people beaten while protesting police brutality are much less likely to become martyrs than white people “protesting” the right of the federal government to put reasonable limits on their “freedom.”
    I don’t want anyone to die needlessly even if they’re behaving foolishly. But black people holing up with guns anywhere are in lots more danger of being shot by the authorities than then these dangerous white people.

    2) A five year sentence for such a pattern of misbehavior — especially in light of a dangerous militia anti-federal movement seems eminently just.

    1. Gene Lyons January 6, 2016

      As I understand it, the Hammonds, father and son, had nothing to do with Bundy’s movement or his actions. They’ve been engaged in a 20 year running dispute with the BLM, entitled jerks, not seditionists. They actually pleaded guilty during their trial. I don’t think making it a racial issue clarifies anything.

      1. lilyhammer January 6, 2016

        The federal government is tiptoeing around on eggshells because they’re afraid of turning today’s (white) “entitled jerks” into tomorrow’s armed “seditionists.” The authorities very often walk with a firmer step around people protesting real injustices that disproportionately affect people of color. For example, I think that Ferguson is similar to this situation in important respects. However, peaceful protesters and troublemakers alike in Ferguson were treated very differently than in Oregon and it’s legitimate to talk about why .

        Now, I’m perfectly willing to believe that folks at Salon would write a lot of irritating nonsense missing all important points with perfect accuracy, but there’s no need to fall over in the other direction.

    2. pmbalele January 10, 2016

      These so called White Militia are actually ISIS of Oregon. They think they have a right occupying the federal building for a week to impress virgins. Why are FBI and local police and sheriff not bringing the military gear used in Ferguson against Blacks? These militia people came with guns and explosives. Some of these are daring the government provoke them. They are ready to die for no reason other than obey the government orders. These are ISIS members. Surprising, the local police and sheriff are quiet. Now we know for sure Whites are cuddled. If these people were Blacks they would have been bombed out. Thank God we Blacks are peaceful people. We can stand a lot of abuses.

  2. Theodora30 January 6, 2016

    I think the outrage on the left is also because Cliven Bundy got away with threatening federal officials with guns and still has not paid the $1million he owes the rest of us in grazing fees. They have repeatedly and blatantly broken the law with impunity – with support from powerful, “law and order” whiners on the right.

    1. Theodora30 January 6, 2016
  3. Knowles2 January 6, 2016

    What we were suppose to yallqueda seriously when they didn’t even pack enough for their years long (there words not mine) stand off.

  4. Daniel Jones January 6, 2016

    It’s not a racial double standard. It’s Rich Assholes Getting Away With Everything.

    1. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

      Well, that’s actually a fairly good characterization, but I still think there’s a good bit of racial content here. When law enforcement kills brown people – armed or not – most whites ignore it, and many strongly support it. As we know from recent experience, those who kill armed white protesters reap a storm of trouble.

  5. charleo1 January 6, 2016

    The deference given to the white ranchers in Oregon comes not so much from the inequity of force used by police between Whites, and Blacks in this Country, although the disparity is undeniable. The situations are as different as apples, and oranges. Whereas the tactics used by local Police in inner city Black, and Brown neighborhoods, are driven by gangs, gang violence, the proliferation of hand guns, and easy availability of powerful weapons, and to some extent race. The tactics used by the Federal authorities here, as the author mentions, are driven by some very hard lessons in the past.

    1. mike January 6, 2016

      Still got your head where the sun doesn’t shine.

      1. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

        You’re right. The cases aren’t apples and oranges: black people doing such a thing would likely be slaughtered, as would Native Americans.

        1. mike January 6, 2016

          First, Happy New Year.
          Second, what a silly comment, not worth a response, but glad to hear from you.

          1. Sand_Cat January 7, 2016

            Happy New Year to you. Haven’t seen you in these parts for awhile. My situation’s better than when we last conversed; hope yours is the same or better.

            Guess we’ll never agree on these things, but if you’re concerned about those sucking at the government breast, these pathetic ingrates are an excellent example. The Federal government exterminated the people who lived on the land so they could ranch on it, and has never stopped: they get subsidized grazing on Federal land, predator (and incidental animal) extermination, and other benefits worth plenty, but all they can do is talk about “tyranny” because they can’t blast the land clear of every living thing if it tickles their fancy. Giving control of these lands to them would likely turn them into a desert: they already abuse the land they lease from the government terribly. And Mr. Bundy (Senior) has not only gotten a million dollars’ worth (probably triple that, which is what he’d pay for grazing cattle on private land) of free grazing so far, but a loan of half a million which he is unlikely to pay back.

          2. mike January 7, 2016

            Glad things are going well for you!!! I wish you continued happiness and success.
            The fight with the Bundy’s was over a tortoise, right?? Worried about the cows stepping on them.
            As to the govt. loan you are assuming he won’t pay. We will wait and see.
            Yes I have been away, got tired of being villified(even though I was closer to the truth) by so many from NM. I will probably walk away again soon. I have to much traveling, reading and preparation to do before moving closer to kids than waste my time on this site.

          3. Sand_Cat January 9, 2016

            The case with the Bundys was over unpaid grazing fees of a million or so, and threatening to shoot Federal Agents trying to drive their cattle off the land they wouldn’t pay for. In other , words, they’re armed and threatening freeloaders and deadbeats, but – in my opinion, anyway – their skin color and politics are right, so they don’t face the kind of slaughter I’d expect if black people did something similar (if a kid with a toy gun gets shot – and he isn’t the first, and some have had things that were more obviously toys; what happens to those with guns threatening to shoot?). As I said, we’ll likely never agree. But hope the move, etc., go well.

          4. mike January 10, 2016

            Again I won’t dignify such baloney on race.
            As toTamir, the 5’7″ boy, that was a tragedy, which by the way, wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t removed the orange safety piece from the end of the barrel. A decision that cost him his life and destroyed the life of the police officer. Why a trainee with a trainor could have done that is beyond me. He followed none of the police prodical. He will pay for his callous action the rest of his life.
            Look forward to our next disagreement.

          5. Sand_Cat January 10, 2016

            As I said; it disturbs me a great deal that – no matter what the facts – even a person who seems reasonable and genuinely acting in good faith has a justification in every single case that justifies the shooting, or at least claims it’s the victim’s fault. I don’t recall the details, but Tamir may not have removed the muzzle; it was someone else’s toy. Even if he did, the cops had multiple options besides pulling up to point blank range and shooting him without even giving him a chance to surrender or drop the weapon; he wasshot AS the officer was saying “drop it.” The case in Baltimore caught on video shows that – contrary to police claims (not just the officer who shot him 16 times) which claimed he “lunged” – he was at least 20 feet from the officer and walking away.
            The armed stalker Zimmerman, who disobeyed police instructions to let them handle it, shot and killed the unarmed Trayvon Martin. What happened to Martin’s right to “stand his ground” when he was where he had a right to be doing what he had a right to do: buying a soda and candy while black? Or the guy who ran because his license was suspended and was shot multiple times in the back, after which the cop can be seen planting a weapon? How many cases does it take to convince you that there is not only still a racism problem in America – NOT an anti-white one – as well as a HUGE police problem in America?

          6. mike January 10, 2016

            Read this as to Tamir.

            As I said previously the police shooter didn’t follow police procedures and that
            makes him subject to a trial of his peers.
            I think you meant Chicago not Baltimore on 16 shots. If so shooter deserves the full extent of the law.
            Zimmerman was tried and found not guilty, plus he was bi-racial not white per se.
            I never said that racism doesn’t exist, by the way on both sides.
            It does and has gotten worse under Obama lastest polls show.
            Huge police problem is totally ridiculous and untrue, bad people in PD’s, yes!!! Huge absolutely not! You believing shows just how far apart we are. For the record, how many blacks killed by police vs how many whites killed by police? Then do black on black killings.
            With the movements against all police since Ferguson and the lie “hands up”, police feel they now have targets on their backs and in many cases fear for their lives as never before.
            We have problems but nothing will change until cooler heads prevail.

          7. Sand_Cat January 11, 2016

            My understanding is that Congress has inhibited gathering of statistics, and those that exist are questionable, because they rely on which department chooses to answer, and whether they tell the truth.
            As for racism getting worse under Obama, surely you understand why that is so? He is clearly guilty of being president while black in a country where a number of people said they “weren’t ready” for a black president, plus the number who probably didn’t answer honestly because they did not want to appear racist.
            I believe the Grand Jury declined to file charges against the officer who shot Tamir Rice. The article pretty much confirms what I said about Rice; in addition, I wouldn’t take the claim that he “reached for the gun” very seriously; it’s the standard police cover story.
            The point about Zimmerman is not that he was white, but that the victim was black. I believe there was also evidence of racial bias during jury selection, which the judge let slide.
            Cooler heads will never prevail so long as police are permitted to get away with shooting unarmed black “suspects” and are able to count on fellow officers to cover for them.

          8. mike January 11, 2016

            “Congress has inhibited of gathering statistics”, what a load of crap!! Produce those allegations! What I will say is that the gathering of info by FBI is not perfect, it is all we have, even if you tripled(1200+)it, it doesn’t come close to proving a huge problem.
            One more time, why I and many other Americans are against Obama is NOT RACE but his policies to change US into European type of leftist country economy.
            So prosecutors all over the US make sure these grand juries are stacked, that’s delusional. 53.3% of Cleveland is black, 33% white. I would say you are insulting quite a number of hard working and honorable people.
            As to a “huge problem with police” facts don’t show that.
            Google: washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-police-shootings-2015
            Interesting numbers! I am on phone and not if I can copy site without losing post.

          9. Sand_Cat January 11, 2016

            Once again, you bring up the completely irrelevant “black on black killings.” This isn’t about white-on-black killings – although those staistics clearly show a white man, or pretty much anyone else, killing a black man faces a shorter sentence than if he killed a white person – but POLICE – i.e., those sworn to uphold the law, who are tasked with preserving the peace and law – on black killings.
            As for how many whites police kill, there are a lot more whites around, not to mention that statistics how that blacks are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be convicted on the same evidence, more likely to get longer sentences for the same crimes, and on and on.
            As for racism on “both sides,” it shouldn’t be hard to figure out why black people really aren’t fond of the people who enslaved them – many of whom are unrepentant – abused and murdered thousands of them after they were “freed,” resisted every single attempt to give them justice (and for the most part, continue to do so in the name of “states’ rights” and conservatism), support and justify EVERY police killing of a black man, regardless of facts, sit for the most part in their privileged status and offer black people indifference at best, promote and repeat every slander said against them, etc. Of course, AL:L white people don’t do these things, just way more than enough to assure things don’t get better for them.
            And after all that is said, yes, I suspect a pretty fair number of poor whites receive treatment pretty similar to that given blacks. We DO have a policing problem, whether it is acknowledged or not. Yes there are plenty of “good” cops; unfortunately, many of them appear to cover for the bad ones, even if they disapprove and don’t do those things themselves.
            Again, I really don’t want to be uncivil to you, but I believe the evidence shows overwhelmingly that those are the facts, or close enough that it doesn’t much matter.

          10. mike January 11, 2016

            Black on Black crime is relevant. When police see the high rate of crime by blacks their first thought is going to be about their own safety when confronting blacks. Will the person have a gun? Now we have a sizeable part of the black community publically voicing they want to kill policemen using lies that were not true. It is bad enough they make very little but to be subject to such despicable actions makes me wonder why they are doing it at all. Lets be really ridiculous and put only black officers in the large black communites and see if things get better and blacks feel safer.

            Slavery has been over for over a hundred years. So stop that crap. Neither todays youth or there parents experienced slavery.


            I have to disagree with your last paragraph. Just being civil and respectful.

          11. Sand_Cat January 12, 2016

            Black on black crime is irrelevant. We’re never going to agree.
            Black officers tend to reflect the societies prejudices, if for no other reason than peer pressure, according to what I read.
            Slavery has NOT been over for a hundred years. Black people have been slaves and subhumans under Jim Crow and in many cases – particularly among the poor – they are still treated as such. The racist attitudes remain, despite conservative denials.
            And you can be “civil” until doomsday, but so long as anyone can kill a black man and expect a lighter sentence or less vigorous prosecution than for a white, so long as white “scholars” write books saying the South was right, so long as there exists denial of the centrality of slavery to the Civil War, so long as those who opposed all laws forbidding racial discrimination try to pretend those laws they hated and in many cases still hate magically ended white racism, so long as the claim is made that the only racism is anti-white racism, so long as people justify every shooting of a black man – however civilly or respectfully – so long as people minimize the crimes and danger of violent white insurrectionists but inflate black hostility to those who mistreat them, there will be no peace.
            And it doesn’t matter in the least whether you are civil and show respect; the police and other law enforcement won’t until they’re forced to, and I can guarantee you from personal experience that isn’t happening at any appreciable rate. Problems must be acknowledged to be solved, and this nation has plenty of unacknowledged injustices, not just racism and police misconduct.

          12. mike January 12, 2016

            I have not walked in your shoes so I can’t appreciate the hatred you have toward whites and white policemen. For you to say the 12,000 police departments and 600,000 police of which 25% are black are basically Huge racists is pure baloney. The numbers aren’t there. By your remarks I too am a racist. I don’t feel I come close to suppressing any minority but in you eye I fit the mold. Sad that you so much hatred for whites and especially white conservatives.When you use words like “white insurrectionists” and to say we “minimize” crimes against blacks I feel is not only not true but derogatory of any dialogue. Take care but I think we are so far apart on this subject that any further dialogue would be meaningless.

          13. Sand_Cat January 13, 2016

            I do not hate whites. The phrase was purely ironic.

          14. mike January 13, 2016

            Your remarks say otherwise. “Black people have been slaves and subhumans under Jim Crow and in many cases – particularly among the poor – they are still treated as such. ”
            Go read your post again. If you don’t hate me then admit you not like me and what you think I stand for.
            The vitriol you continue to spew against whites is not only sad but not of the real world. Is it perfect?? No!!! But it is not even close to what you are believing.

          15. Sand_Cat January 12, 2016

            The article you cited confirms most of what I’ve said about the police and about the preponderance of blacks among those shot. Being “civil” isn’t going to solve that. When police are forced to enforce the law rather than their anger, frustration, politics, or paranoia, and when they pay a serious price for doing the latter, the problem will diminish.
            Of course, that won’t solve the problem of violent white political extremists so long as their actions are minimized or rationalized and even supported by ordinary people, and law enforcement is afraid (with good reason) to enforce the law against them. So far as I know, it’s been quite a long while since Cliven Bundy threatened Federal officers with death and refused to pay the million or so he owes in grazing fees, but I would be unsurprised to find his cattle still graze on Federal land. Just picture a black man who refused to make his $300 mortgage payment and assembled an armed group of friends – many from out-of-state – threatening to kill those attempting to collect the debt or foreclose on his property. I guess you can picture that going on for months and some of his friends going to support other black deadbeats and not being obstructed in any way, ending in a peaceful settlement, but I guess I’m just a mean old anti-white racist that thinks he’d probably get about 24 hours (or however long it took the police to prepare) before he and all his friends were slaughtered, any of them who survived long enough to surrender being beaten and tortured near to death if not killed outright, and at most a couple of scapegoats among the cops being disciplined, or maybe – if the judge/prosecutor/grand jury happened to be an “anti-white liberal racist” – even pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter for an exceptionally harsh 18-month term in a “prison” most poor blacks – and whites – would probably pay to live in if offered the opportunity.
            You seem like a nice (and principled) guy, and I think we’d probably get along well if we avoided politics (I’m also not too fond of being attacked because I don’t follow the tenets of some one’s religion, which is why “David” is generally treated to my most uncivil side), but we’re never going to agree on this.

          16. mike January 12, 2016

            I won’t even dignify this diatribe of garbage. Your hatred is breathtaking.
            In fact your hatred, like Michelle, of America is so disconcerting and sad.

            Just stating this old goats feelings.

          17. Sand_Cat January 13, 2016

            Since it wasn’t directed at you, no need for you to respond. The truth doesn’t need “dignifying,” least of all by the likes of you.
            Now, haven’t we both shown enough of our bad sides for one article?

          18. mike January 13, 2016

            Your perception of the truth just doesn’t hold water, that’s what I am saying. You believe every white person wants to suppress every blacks or minorities and that is bull roar and the talking points of the haters on the left.
            No conservatives are holding back blacks/minorities, we actuallty want all to succeed in life. It would be folly to believe otherwise in this day and age. Name one leading conservative that wants to deny blacks/minorities their freedom and liberties.
            I wouldn’t dignify the crap that you think is true and that was the gist of your post.

    2. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

      Can’t agree. Imagine an armed group of blacks occupying a Federal building and threatening to kill any who interfere. Do you really think they wouldn’t be dead in a matter of hours?
      Native Americans have also reaped abuse for any attempts to stand up for their rights with arms.

      1. David January 6, 2016

        What about Waco and Ruby Ridge?

        1. browninghipower January 7, 2016

          Okay…because of those two events, the FedGuv is now very reluctant to engage White Militias. After Philadelphia, 1985 and Watts, LA 1994 They’re geared up to crush and shoot. That answer your question?

        2. Sand_Cat January 7, 2016

          browninghipower has it right.
          Somehow, the right has tried to make some kind of “hero” of the scumbag Randy Weaver because an overeager Fed shot his wife. From what I remember reading, she was far worse than he: an unfortunate situation, but a pretty insignificant “tragedy” in those and these times.
          Then there was David Koresh, stockpiling military weapons for Jesus; well, his version of Jesus, who seems to me to have a lot more than you should be comfortable with in common with yours.
          Of course, it was Janet Reno’s fault exclusively, even though the Bush Senior administration initiated BOTH of those events (and carried out Ruby Ridge before Clinton even took office), and Reno reportedly only ordered the attack because a Bush-appointed FBI guy told her [falsely] they had evidence Koresh was abusing the children, which was known to be a hot-button issue for her.
          These guys don’t appear to be in the same league as Weaver and Koresh, but they’re ingrates sucking the government tit while complaining about “tyranny” nevertheless.

          1. David January 8, 2016

            The implication that you made was that white people would be treated gentler than people of color. Pointed out that’s not necessarily so.

          2. Sand_Cat January 10, 2016

            Not necessarily; just 95% of the time. Tamir Rice never even got a chance to say or do anything; Weaver and Koresh had loads of time. Tamir Rice was a kid playing; Weaver was a felon and someone threatening to kill Federal agents; the Koresh thing might have gone better had the ATF sent in the local sheriff to talk before the whole thing started, but by the time the attack occurred, he and his followers had killed Federal agents (at least one, and maybe two) and wounded others, though seems to me Koresh was a terrorist incident waiting to happen. Neither case was remotely comparable to many of those in which African Americans have been shot down, probably most. Many of the others were self-defense, according to the police, but I think the last couple caught on video show how reliable that is: one was at least 20 feet from the cop who shot him 16 times, and was walking away at the time; the other cops present initially claimed he “lunged” at the officer.
            I might also add that one can identify the articles about the deaths of unarmed blacks by the number of comments: go through Yahoo, see 100 here, 300 there, but when you come to one with 2-3000, you know it’s about an unarmed black being killed, and in ALL of those cases I’ve looked at at least 80% of the comments are people saying he deserved it, or brought it on himself, or make no pretense of being fair: they’re just glad there’s one fewer African American.
            You guys are kidding yourselves BIG TIME.

          3. David January 10, 2016

            They didn’t kill Randy Weaver — they killed his wife. She was holding a door open for Randy, holding their baby, when sniper Lon Horiuchi shot her — at about 65 yds!

          4. Sand_Cat January 11, 2016

            That is what I said; don’t know why you’re latching onto this.
            I don’t recall the details, but I believe Weaver had already fired on and possibly wounded ATF agents.
            My first comment also said browninghipower was correct, which I guess you prefer to ignore.

          5. David January 11, 2016

            Did not. Killed his wife because she was with him. If more “people of color” are involved in incidents with police, it’s because they are committing a disproportionate share of the crime.

          6. Sand_Cat January 11, 2016

            Since we’re resorting to 3-year old arguing, did so.
            From my FIRST reply to your post: “Somehow, the right has tried to make some kind of “hero” of the scumbag Randy Weaver because an overeager Fed shot his wife.”
            But just like everything else with you, no, I didn’t.
            Your claim about crime statistics is crap, too. We don’t know who commits more crimes: the evidence does show that non-whites are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced to a long stretch than whites on the same evidence and type of crime. They also show that killing a white virtually guarantees a longer sentence than killing a black person.
            So why don’t you take your own advice to, and wish for, me about dietary and lifespan prospects. While you’re at it, you can cram your holy hypocrisy, your monster god, and your super accomodationist “Jesus,” who forgives your not even trying to follow his teachings, but condemns those who violate rules from books you would NEVER consider using to guide your own actions. You are a sickening little hypocrite and liar.

          7. David January 11, 2016

            You said that you thought Weaver had already fired on and possibly wounded ATF Agents. I told you, “Did not.” You can follow written discourse can’t you? If you weren’t committing the crimes, you wouldn’t be getting arrested.
            It gladdens me that I make you feel nauseous. But, at 6’0″ 220 lbs, I am not little. I also am not a hypocrite nor a liar. But, you’re a serf!

          8. Sand_Cat January 12, 2016

            I was not referring to physical stature, little man afraid of widows and orphans.
            You call your lies “discourse”? Good-bye, little bigot.

          9. David January 12, 2016

            The “written discourse” was your own drivel. By the way, ‘afraid of widows and orphans’? You might want to check with you Federal Government on that. The TSA regularly feels up old women and toddlers in the name of “safety”. Speaking of that, maybe its time for you to scamper off to your safe place. Don’t want you getting too scared.

          10. Sand_Cat January 13, 2016

            You’re the idiot who didn’t read the post you answered. “Did not” appears to be in answer to my statement that I already said they killed Weaver’s wife, or that was the main point of my post. If you intended to answer the incidental statement, you should have said so, but then clarity of thought – except when it comes to hatred and judgment of others – isn’t your strong point.
            And there’s no use in pointing out that you’re the supporter of the party of fear and hate; your attempts to project your own weaknesses and insecurities on me are of no interest.
            But I’ve had all I care to take of your “comments,” little man afraid of widows and orphans despite his arsenal. Good bye.

          11. David January 13, 2016

            Lol…I keep telling you that I am not all that “little”! Where did you get your education? Common Core?
            Oh, don’t defecate your pants too much when our Muslime friends arrive. They won’t act like the refugees in Europe.

  6. jimmy midnight January 6, 2016

    Land management in the inter-mountain West has a long, thoughtless History. At a certain point, government picked the winners, ranch owners, and the losers, local graziers who were running their cattle an/or sheep on the vast open ranges. They became the ranchers’ hired hands.

    All open range grazing is an abomination, because it leads to desertification, whereas rotational grazing advances civilization. The Hammonds had a long record of over-reach in areas their grazing permits covered.

    But I’m also a civil libertarian, who detects the odor of double jeopardy here. I hope they’ll soon be re-sentenced to time served. For the Bundys, cut off the water and electricity, and ask them to leave in a few hours, during which they won’t be arrested.

    1. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

      Bundy senior owes the government over a million dollars in grazing fees that he has no intention of paying. Why should he be spared the consequences? Libertarianism sounds great in principle until one sees what most adherents mean by “private business.” I guess we see this differently, but I don’t know where the “double jeopardy” claim comes from. Given what you yourself said about the Hammonds, it seems what we have is a case of one-tenth jeopardy.

      1. David January 6, 2016

        Don’t forget that Bundy was disrupting the sale/lease of that land to the Chinese that his son’s law firm was involved in. Damn ranchers. Don’t they know a profit had to be made?

        1. Sand_Cat January 7, 2016

          Well, you support the right party for that kind of thinking.
          Happy to see we share some concerns, but my first statement stands.

  7. Corey Mondello January 6, 2016

    ANY minority pulling this same crap would of been attacked by drones by now, and FOX would call them names that they call all real freedom fighters!

  8. annienoel January 6, 2016

    The media needs to leave ASAP. If they have no audience they’d be gone.

  9. Otto Greif January 6, 2016

    I’m shocked, a sensible article from Gene Lyons.

  10. Otto Greif January 6, 2016

    What a disgusting, blood-thirsty little creep David Atkins is.

    1. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

      Wow, that seems like a far better description of you.

  11. Sand_Cat January 6, 2016

    Once again, the elder Hammond is not too old to do the crime, just too old to do the time. After saying how too-severe for the Constitution, the author goes on to point out multiple instances of threatening other people, destruction of Federal property, and a host of other crimes. Guess I’m one of those crazies, but five years sounds awfully short to me.

    He also doesn’t mention the fact that grazing fees on Federal land are way below market rates, that the Feds slaughter all kinds of animals to which the ranchers object, and a host of other subsidies these thieving ingrates receive from that tyrannical Federal government. Not to mention that they owe everything to that same Federal government that committed genocide against the legitimate owners and residents in order to allow ranching in the area at all.

    He’s certainly wise to counsel caution about meeting their apparent desire for martyrdom in a political year, but let’s make no mistake about what we’re dealing with here.

  12. Laura Ryan January 6, 2016

    so if you commit a crime in the forest and nobody sees it does it make a sound, you thought yourself out on this one. The thugs in the forest think their might makes right and they took something that wasn’t theirs. Hope they all do jail time and lose their privilege to own a gun.

  13. jimmy midnight January 7, 2016

    Re-sentencing has the same effect as re-trn ying on the same charge. We all agree there’s justice in the Hammonds’ return to prison. I’m working toward a mercy standard.

    That Cliven Bundy still hasn’t even paid grazing fees, much less a criminal fine or jail time, is galling. Watch him a little while, and authorities will get a chance to nab him when, for example, when he goes shopping or what not–as people realized in retrospect should have been done at Waco. Now the fanatical freak David Koresh has become a heroic martyr to some. Which is also pretty galling.

    1. stcroixcarp January 10, 2016

      I don’t understand the glorification David Koresch. He was the leader of a child abusing, mind controlling violent cult. He was as dangerous and evil as Jimmy Jones. It was pretty horrible to see his compound incinerated, but he a a dream of martyrdom.

  14. FireBaron January 7, 2016

    Let’s give a better analogy than Tamir Rice – MOVE, in 1985.

    1. ThisNameInUse January 9, 2016

      Great analogy. But the apologists for white privilege will have none of that. Right Mr. Lyons??

  15. browninghipower January 7, 2016

    I’m sorry Gene, but the fact that Cliven is still free and that no one from that Nevada outrage hasn’t been arrested enrages me.

    1. ThisNameInUse January 9, 2016

      The BLM rolling over for daddy Bundy is what CREATED this mess. Coddle children like this and you’ll get more of it.

      1. browninghipower January 9, 2016

        Agreed..and I usually side with Gene and enjoy his no bullshit approach to matters. No this time.

  16. ThisNameInUse January 9, 2016

    Good grief – is this piece from The Onion? So you should be allowed to take armed control of public property, waste thousands of dollars of taxpayer money as agents need to camp out for weeks and make sure you’re not starting a war, and there should be no penalty? Just “go home”?

    I wonder how much the Bundys paid for this poof piece.

    Lyons is right about one thing: the comparison to Tamir Rice was specious. Rice didn’t have a real gun. These guys do.

    Good lord, what tripe.

  17. Eleanore Whitaker January 10, 2016

    When men fall into an easy life routine, they generally have a lot of free time to act out. These men are your basic lackadaisical failures. They don’t want the rush, rush, watch the clock, hurry to work jobs. No. They want the federal government who hands farmers and ranchers, most of whom are part of the Agri-corporations conglomerate, to give them their 10 seconds of fame. That’s basically what all little boys want too.

    And just like little boys, they are belligerant, militant and make up their own rules for what they will and won’t do. Naturally, common sense prevails when you consider that these men are a tiny minority with zero implication for the masses. Grains of sand on the Sahara Desert. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    These men are also the ones who are the first to protest the poor, those on welfare and illegals. To them, the word “illegal” never applies to their actions. Actions, which they have zero intentions of taking any responsibility for.

    1. pmbalele January 10, 2016

      This reminds me about 2008 when Obama said he was running for USA top positions. People cried “He is not American-born-born in Kenya.” Where are Joe Arpaio, Allen Keyes, Herman Cain, Allen West and other not to question Cruz eligibility for the WH job? Remember the WH job is most important job in this Country. It sends people to wars to protect this Country. Some come back from wars wounded and some die there. And you Repubs and TPs want to nominate a foreigner as president? You must be mental case. Stay with Trump – at least I can stand him although he is different from normal thinking people.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 10, 2016

        The problem for Cruz is tha the publicly admitted he actually held Canadian Citizenship. I have a friend who lives in Calgary. His grandfather was born in West Virginia. He is a natural born Canadian citizen.

        Cruz won’t last until April 2016. His only claim to fame is his ties to Trans Canada Oil in Calgary where he was born and raised. It was only 4 years ago, he gave up his “Canadian Citizenship.”

        By some miracle of a novena to the Patron Saint of GOP liars, Cruz should be the final candidate, (which the GOP back knows he can’t ever be due to the dearth of proof he isn’t in Calgary Hospital.), he will be forced to out himself.

        But…the GOP back room knew this all along. Already mental cases like you are still at it trying to play birthers. I loathe Trump. I know what he did to my state (NJ). He dumped the cost of Taj Mahal on taxpayers with billions in tax subsidies we ended up paying for and then closed that casino and left thousands out of work.

        By the way, Trump is a pig..who has to have sex with the most glamorous foreign women. All of his wives thus far, except Marla have been born in foreign countries. And, I’m sure his current wife who was a Playboy Centerfold is just what you nut freaks want for a 1st lady. Trump will not make it past March of 2016. He knows his books are too dirty to lay bare and he has that huge US Treasury lawsuit against him for knowingly laundering money to terrorists through his NJ casino.

        1. pmbalele January 10, 2016

          What did you say – “It was only 4 years ago, he gave up his “Canadian Citizenship?” Are you also a mental case? Cruz nationalization papers are still at immigration office. He is not yet a naturalized US citizen. Cruz caused government close down. This gave ISIS and Jihads hint that US government was closed and therefore they could attack us. Do not vote for Cruz. He is Canadian-Cuban citizen.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker January 11, 2016

            I did forget that it takes 7 years before US Citizenship is granted by the INS. That means Texas is in a heap of trouble for allowing a non-citizen to run for the Senate. The US Constitution is quite clear that the President and Senators must all be natural born citizens.

          2. pmbalele January 11, 2016

            You made my day. Even John McCain and Trump doubt if Cruz should be in this country at all.

  18. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 10, 2016

    Gene writes in a manner that smacks of being on some conservative think-tank’s payroll.
    It’s specious even to hint that there is no double-standard at work when it comes to protesters of a pale hue, armed, and wasting tax money to keep these thugs in check.
    If this were a case of a group of black males acting in this manner, FOX, Gene Lyons and the like would be writhing with discomfiture at the very notion of “uppity Negroes” daring to protest.
    Gene presents the world once again that the tendency to put on a special pair of lenses of analysis depending on the outer integument of whomever is protesting.

    “The force of “White Privilege” is strong with Gene, Obiwan Kenobi; and there’s also the enervating and ever-present influence of “Denial” with Gene as well.


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