It seems that many voices within the federal government are quite concerned about the growing patriot movement throughout the country, and especially in rural strongholds where land and liberty go hand and hand.
More events like the Bundy Ranch standoff seem likely to occur, as the BLM and other agencies show no sign of changing policies, and more and more individuals are waking up to the abuses and tyrannies taking place.
It is isn’t just hypothetical – environmental regulations and bureaucratic land management continues to undermine ranchers and farmers who are, in many cases, forced out of business or taxed & penalized to death.
Many are refusing to take it lying down, and groups across the country are training and preparing in case of the worst – a standoff with the feds over land and their very way of life.
According to the Washington Post:
Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training.
“The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,” said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities.
Those in the movement call themselves patriots, demanding that the federal government adhere to the Constitution and stop what they see as systematic abuse of land rights, gun rights, freedom of speech and other liberties.
Law enforcement officials call them dangerous, delusional and sometimes violent, and say that their numbers are growing amid a wave of anger at the government that has been gaining strength since 2008, a surge that coincided with the election of the first black U.S. president and a crippling economic recession.
“It doesn’t say in our Constitution that you can’t stand up and defend yourself,” Soper said. “We’ve let the government step over the line and rule us, and that was never the intent of this country.”
That virulent strain of resistance, despite being the very stuff the country was founded upon and which much of its character is made up of, has the government and its supporting voices quite worried.
The powers-that-be are downright freaked out that so many individuals are willing to put their life on the line for principled reasons… and recognize the historical dilemma between quelling a rebellion and creating martyrs that can, in turn, inspire more to stand up.
The Washington Post spent thousands of words on the growing conflict, which organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League see as a “second wave” of the violent militia movement they say characterized the atmosphere surrounding Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City Bombing:
The movement received a huge boost from the 2014 standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada […] Bundy’s supporters claimed victory and were emboldened to stage similar armed face-offs last year at gold mines in Oregon and Montana.
In January, dozens of armed occupiers, led by Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan, took over the headquarters buildings of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge…
Shortly after the Bundy ranch confrontation, two of Bundy’s supporters who had been at the ranch, Jerad and Amanda Miller, killed two police officers and a civilian and also died in a Las Vegas shooting rampage. Police said the couple left a note on the body of one the officers they had shot point-blank.
It said: “This is the beginning of the revolution.”
Of course, it is important to note that the SPLC and groups like it love to conflate together radical individuals like the Millers – who were suspect to the Bundy Ranch crowd and asked to disassociate and leave the site long before they ever carried out their Bonnie and Clyde-like massacre.
Most people lumped into this category are nothing like Jerad and Amanda Miller, who sought conflict.
But one thing that is common to nearly everyone is a sense of being fed up. People recognize that there is a problem, that tyranny is taking place, and are on watch for potential abuses from the government.
Whatever happens next, these constitutionally-minded patriots are prepared. They are training with guns, survival skills, communications and working out scenarios.
Everyone in the group keeps 30 days’ worth of food and emergency supplies on hand. Group members learn gardening and raising livestock. They go camping and learn survival tactics, including how to fashion a shelter, find food and water, and make a fire.
McNeely and Lisa Soper are taking an emergency medical technician class to learn to treat wounds, including combat trauma. They all are working on getting ham-radio licenses to communicate in the event that the cellphone network fails.
But a bedrock of their mission is to be an armed and trained paramilitary force. Soper said group members train on “basic infantry” skills: “working a patrol, patrolling with a vehicle, arriving at ‘contact’ and how to protect yourself and escape from that.”
“We are not soldiers,” Soper said. “But we know the basics.”
B.J. Soper, who was heavily profiled in the Washington Post story, typifies the sense of disillusionment with how far the federal government has gone, and how important the role of complacency among the populace has been – until now:
“I was very disappointed with myself,” he said. “I realized that we’re here in the predicament that we’re in as a country because my generation, and my parents’ generation, have done nothing. We let this happen. We got used to our cushy lives where everything’s easy. We have forgotten what’s really important. We’ve forgotten what liberty and freedom really mean.”
It was like being shaken out of a lifetime of slumber, he said: “Before 2014, I was blind. I wasn’t awake. I wasn’t paying attention. But Bundy Ranch woke me up.”
Suddenly, his weekends watching the San Francisco 49ers or the Portland Trail Blazers seemed like anesthesia numbing him against real life.
Soper, who carries a pocket Constitution with him everywhere, said he thinks the Constitution does not give the federal government the right to own land, and that the government’s increasing emphasis on environmental regulations is putting ranchers, miners, loggers and others out of work and devastating local economies.
“We need to be able to raise and grow food,” Soper said. “Wealth comes from the land. I want to take into consideration endangered frogs. But at the same time, that frog can’t be more important than the survival of the human race.”
In past years, these media outlets and so-called “watchdogs” have relied heavily on trying to make those in the patriot movement appear “crazy” and “deranged”… but that really won’t work anymore. Ordinary people everywhere can see what is going on through streaming video and information on the Internet.
Not everyone is perfect, but there is a real honest backbone of genuine concern about the direction things have taken in this country.
The federal government has amassed incredible centralized power, and there is an attempt to undermine liberty.
There are many who are getting prepared and staying vigilant, for whatever may come.