The Straight Line From Malheur to the U.S. Capitol
Five years ago a group of armed, far-right extremists led by rancher Ammon Bundy seized the headquarters building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and occupied it for 41 days. With no swift response from law enforcement, the militants broke into safes, stole money and equipment, dug a road and trenches, damaged tribal artifacts, and destroyed other federal, public property. They came and went freely — going into town, harassing local residents, and crashing community meetings armed.
Finally Bundy was arrested on allegations of conspiracy and impeding federal employees through intimidation, threat or force. But he was acquitted of all charges.
As the Center's Taylor McKinnon predicted five years ago — after he and other Center staff counter-protested the militants at Malheur — those acquittals set a dangerous precedent, serving as "a stepping stone to fascism."
We can draw a straight line from Malheur to the storming of the Capitol last week. And until violent, right-wing, racist insurrection is met with an adequate federal response, we can expect more violence.