Over the weekend, a group of armed militants took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Southern Oregon, a facility owned by the United States federal government, with no plans to leave.
One of the main reasons for their taking over the facility is in protest of the mandatory minimum sentencing of father and son ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were sent to prison for committing arson to cover up illegal poaching the pair had done on federally owned land.
The group is headed by brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy. Though they didn't have a personal connection to the Hammonds, their family has a history of tension with the government over the use of federal land.
In 2014, their father, Cliven Bundy, got busted for allowing his cattle to roam on the government's land, racking up more than $1 million in still-unpaid fines. After the government came and seized the cattle due to the nonpayment, Bundy ended up in an armed standoff. Essentially, they're upset that the federal government owns land that comes with stipulations of how the public can use it.
As time goes on, the situation in Oregon, and how the government will respond, is bringing up discussions of the standoffs between the feds and private citizens in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and Waco, Texas, in 1993.
The ironic part is that even though the group calls themselves Citizens For Constitutional Freedom, the Constitution clearly allows the federal government to do everything the group is upset about. Rather than standing up for actual indiscretions by the government, overtaking federal property has made them a terrorist organization.
In his most recent Vlogbrothers video, John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns, explains the group's flawed logic. Even if Bundy's group was right and the United States government wasn't allowed to own that land and set up the rules of its use, that doesn't mean it would belong to citizens of Oregon like the Hammonds to poach and burn as they please.
Listen to Green's full explanation of who owns Oregon here:
What do you think of this group out in Oregon? Let us know in the comments!
Cover image via Vlogbrothers