American principles under attack: What the standoff in Oregon reveals

Lady Justice, Frankfurt Germany

Lady Justice, Frankfurt, Germany

It is not surprising that members of the Bundy family and gun-toting militia have shown up in Oregon, what is surprising is that the Federal Government wasn’t anticipating their arrival. It is astounding to the intelligent mind that these mobs have been able to get this far without repercussion. But what it reveals is that there is a protected class in America.

This is a story not just of race but of privilege because it reveals gross inequality under the law. When a 12 year old black kid with a toy gun can get shot within seconds of police arrival and the officer who shot him gets exonerated, when black citizens are shot everyday across this country for lesser crimes than what these ranchers/militias are committing, and when all other groups and classes face the letter of the law while white ranchers and militia members who break the law get away with their lawless antics, there is no reason to have any faith in our legal or justice systems.

What we are witnessing is an aggressive and prolonged attack by a strain of ranchers who are not used to being treated like every other citizen in this country. Their actions and the lack of legal consequences show that ranchers like the Bundys have been and still are a rather protected and privileged class.

The reality is that land management agencies are no longer in the pockets of ranchers, they are no longer “federal” in name only, and they are finally able to enforce the laws they were mandated to enforce decades ago because ranchers are no longer the only users of the land and no longer have an overwhelming amount of representation in Congress and ranchers like the Bundys don’t like it.

Let me be clear, ranchers are not being picked on; they are just finally being treated like everyone else. No man or woman is free from the requirements or limits of the law. It is time for them to be treated the way everyone else who breaks the law is: by facing the consequences.

In this country we operate from the premise of fairness, that all are bound by the laws of the land and that there are no special exceptions. The Bundys have certainly been a special exception. If the federal government does not cut off the head of this snake, the very principles upon which this country is founded will take another hit.

Furthermore, if the citizens of this country don’t start seeing justice and equality under the law, they will have no reason to believe that either exists except on paper, and any faith in our government to enforce its laws justly and fairly will be gone.

Rousseau believed that humanity only experienced true independence, equality, and freedom in nature, i.e., when people had to fend for themselves for food, shelter, and safety. He believed this because nature was the same to everyone: the sun shines on all, the rain falls on all. Nature, in other words, is impartial. But since we cannot go back to the natural state he believed the only remedy was the impersonal authority of the law. The only hope for equality, freedom, and independence in other words, resides in the impartial application of the law.

But when the law is not applied impartially what do we have? Unlike nature, we are witnessing the law coming down unequally. What we see in this case is accommodation by law enforcement and the government when contending with ranchers and militias and that the law seemingly has little if any authority. Our government walks on eggshells when it comes to these classes of people, yet seems to act almost on impulse and with impunity when it comes to exacting justice on other classes or races of people. It is so obvious that it’s not even shocking, it’s sickening.

The Bundys and their entourage of militia are simply thugs and should be treated as such. Allowing such blatant aberration of the law to continue is an insult to conscience and should have the citizens of this country outraged. The fact that any Bundys were able to show up in Oregon and perpetrate another standoff is most definitely a travesty of justice and makes a mockery of our government and our laws.

Armed militia members take over federal building

Oregon ranchers occupy national wildlife reserve

Cliven Bundy militants occupy wildlife refuge headquarters

 

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Posted on January 3, 2016, in Nature and the Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “there is no reason to have any faith in our legal or justice systems.” Your quote. Nothing new. I have felt this way since Viet Nam days. Welcome. Glad you’re here.

    • Thanks for the warm welcome. I suppose that with age and experience comes cynicism, but hopefully not apathy or defeat.

  2. Reblogged this on Thots and Shots and commented:
    I am a fan of Greta’s pen. “The only hope for equality, freedom, and independence in other words, resides in the impartial application of the law.”

  3. It’s a sad day in America, and want us all do anything we can to help the Hammond family members, they can’t stop us from doing that.

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