Perspectives: That, boys and girls, is why we go to the source

A member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stands guard at the refuge, Sunday, in Burns, Oregon. A small, armed group has been occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon since a week earlier to protest federal land use policies. Burns, Oregon, Jan. 10, 2016 | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

OPINION – It’s a modern-day version of Aesop’s, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

What was hysterically reported as an “armed terrorist takeover” of a “federal building” in Oregon by “anti-government militants” looks quite different when one bothers to go directly to the source.

Of course, that requires a desire to know the truth that trumps our lust to destroy those with whom we disagree.

Having spoken with those who were actually there, it turns out that the so-called takeover consisted of the group of ranchers traveling to the unoccupied refuge facilities located miles from anywhere.

The sign that greeted them said “Welcome to Your National Wildlife Refuge.”

The buildings there were largely unlocked and those that weren’t had key boxes readily available. Nothing was broken. Nothing was stolen. Nothing was damaged.

Yes, some individuals were armed for their own protection, as is their right guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

Classical liberal theorist Frédéric Bastiat long ago spelled it out: “Each of us has a natural right, from God, to defend his person, his liberty and his property.” That some people find this icky is irrelevant.

The bottom line is that no one was threatened. No one was injured. Anyone could come or go as they pleased.

The action of occupying the refuge may be annoying or unwanted by some but in no way constitutes a violent crime.

According to locals, the junior high school many miles away was closed down but only so armed federal agents could occupy it as an impromptu command center.

Tell me again, why was this being falsely reported as a “standoff” or “armed confrontation” with militia? There was no confrontation. No “terrorist” event was taking place.

With the exception of NPR, most media outlets chose to perpetuate a false narrative by repeating emotionally-laden buzzwords rather than being objective.

Should we feel contempt or pity for the journalists and pundits who became so entangled with their ideology that they openly lusted for the deaths of fellow citizens?

How about instead, we learn from their malfeasance and become people of character who genuinely seek out truth instead of just passively repeating thrilling lies?

Consider John Pratt who traveled more than 10 hours from Central, Utah, to see for himself what was happening after hearing the sensational reports.

He wanted to go to the source and not simply accept the narrative he and others were being fed by members of the media.

After going to the source, he had a timely and direct message for the reporters present — especially for those who had been trying to bait some of the occupiers into making controversial statements.

Pratt asked them:

What’s in your hearts? Why are you here? Do you care about your fellow men? Do you care about this country? What is your motive?

Putting his hand on the shoulder of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum, Pratt reminded them:

This is a good man with a good family and he wants peace. He wants liberty. What more is there to say?

That’s a message that individuals outside of the media ought to consider as well.

During Friday’s press conference, Ammon Bundy explained that their presence at the wildlife refuge was based upon a desire to stand up for others who had suffered under federal agencies. He expressed empathy for the Harney County sheriff who faced great pressure from the federal government as well as a divided community.

Bundy stated that he would gladly take up the sheriff’s offer of safe passage out of Harney County and out of the state of Oregon when the time was right.

But first, there is the matter of getting members of the community to come together and choose to break the chains that federal land managers have been placing on them over a period of decades.

This is where the protesters have had surprising success.

Naturally, it’s not being reported with the same intensity as the “militants with a death wish” narrative has been.

The local community has come together and the ranchers, farmers and land users have come to a consensus that they have been abused by federal policy makers. This is based upon how they’ve been treated by the Burea of Land Management and how the Malheur Wildlife Refuge has been expanded at the expense of local land users.

When the protesters first arrived, some local residents had been so afraid of official reprisals by federal authorities that they would only speak to them in hushed tones out of fear that the wrong person would hear.

That timidity has dissipated as awareness of the injustice suffered by the Hammond family has spread.

The safety committee meeting Friday evening was packed with scores of local participants who were discussing how to step up and organize themselves to assume stewardship of their lands.

Attorney Todd McFarlane, who acted as a mediator between the protestors and the safety committee, called the meeting one of the “highlights” of his life.

Looking beyond the feverish and false narrative we find that the Bundys never were the real issue here. It has always been about the harm done by a federal bureaucracy that abuses entire communities under color of law.

Thankfully, that message is finally getting some needed traction.

Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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36 Comments

    • KarenS January 12, 2016 at 7:56 am

      For Mr. Hyde and others who have defended the Bundy group with claims such as “The bottom line is that no one was threatened. No one was injured. Anyone could come or go as they pleased,” you might want to “go to the source” and read the tweets reported by their local media about how the people who actually live there feel about the Bundy presence. There was a townhall meeting in Burns on Monday. Here is one comment made by a high school student. “And I just want them [Bundy and the militants] to go home so I can feel safe and I can feel like it is home again. With tears in her eyes, Presley said, “I shouldn’t have to be scared in my own hometown.” The people at the townhall gave her a standing ovation. Here’s another. “I don’t think we need people like the Bundys to come in and open our eyes” And another. “We are a nation of laws, we are a county of laws, and by God, we’d better follow them.” Bottom line: There is no defense for the armed occupation of a public building. The Bundy crowd needs to go home, then face the multiple felony counts which will await them.

  • Accountable January 11, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Bryan, thank you for continuing your attempts to enlighten the masses.

    The arrival of the Bundys is the only reason the plight of the Hammonds finally received widespread attention. So, all in all, no matter what people’s personal feelings of the Bundys are, their actions achieved a desired result.

    As expected, the liberal media (working as an arm of the government) used the Bundys to take the focus off the Hammonds’ ordeal. The uninformed, low intelligence lazy public has been easily led — told what to think. If the Hammonds were members of the LGBT or black communities, the media’s perspective would have been drastically different — the liberal media would have demanded justice for the Hammonds and encouraged protests and Obama would have cried over the injustice and racism perpetrated against the Hammonds.

    Liberal media bias continues to lead the sheep.

    • Rainbow Dash January 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      “The uninformed, low intelligence lazy public has been easily led — told what to think”. Pretty gutsy thing to say, Accountable, Especially given the fact that you are a proud member of a CULT that does just that every Sunday.

      • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 11, 2016 at 9:41 pm

        LOOOOL, can’t argue w that

    • Rainbow Dash January 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      An I think you nad I boith know that if the Bundys had been Muslims or Blacks or Mexicans or Gays or Women or any other group that doesn’t fit into the “straight old white male” category conservative “Christians” like yourself would be singing a different tune. Kind of like you did during the “Black Lives Matter” debacle. If you don’t believe me, get on Youtube and watch any Republican Presidential debate held so far this year. Oh and just so you know, I’m a “Liberal” and I stood in support of the officer in Ferguson, I support anyone who enters this country legally regardless of where they came from and I support the Bundy’s right to protest whatever they like. That said I drew the line when they armed themselves, made a bunch of threats and broke into a public building.

      • Layne January 12, 2016 at 12:11 am

        Broke in to an unlocked, unoccupied building? That’s some powerful good kook-aid you’re drinking

    • .... January 11, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Hey NonAccountable are you and your cult buddy’s . the Bundys ! still temple worthy ?

  • NotSoFast January 11, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I second Jeff’s comment.

    • .... January 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Well good for you NotSoSmart

  • Chas January 11, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I live here.. Even those sympathetic to their cause want these guys gone. This occupation will end up costing us millions by the time it is done, and guess who is going to have to pay for it..

    They are outsiders, they have zero claim to this area. They say they are militia, but they are not representing us the locals at this juncture in any way, shape or form.

    They said they would leave when we asked.. We asked.. They said ‘ok, but only after you are on-board’.. What a farce.

    If not for us leaving the power and heat on for them, they would be in dire straits.. It was 8 degrees last night.

    • CDub January 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, Chas, for some balance to the ‘story’.

    • anybody home January 12, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Chas, I’m an Oregonian too…This over-the-hill gang of lawbreakers deserves no quarter at all. It’s one thing for the Bundys to stand in defiance on their own land (also wrong) but quite another to invade another sovereign state and trample the grounds of a wildlife sanctuary. The really criminal aspect is that the ranchers themselves up there know and acknowledge the work that’s been done to make the area good for all parties. The Bundys have simply incited them to question this good work. Meanwhile the tough guy, high-moraled Bundys (sarcasm) had mama put out a message requesting all kinds of items for them. It’s become a joke when militia occupiers ask for double bed sheets and French vanilla coffee creamer and underwear. I thought Mormons always carried enough underwear.

      Bryan, you have no idea what’s really going on up there. Yesterday they admitted to breaking into the government computers to get information including names and addresses of local employees. They are harassing the citizens of Burns and threatening to use guns if anybody tries to interfere with them. How you can defend these criminals is beyond me. Oh wait. You’re a Mormon.

      Get the Bundys out of Oregon. And Chas, you are so right. It’s going to cost a lot of money. The Bundys will be fine, but we all know how they feel about paying fines and taxes. They put the Mafia to shame.

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 11, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    So they want our public lands to take from us and slather a bunch of “no trespassin” signs all over and then do wtf they please. i think not. and what better use than a bird refuge for lands we all own as a nation. u suck Bryan. pull ur head out ur butt. and last i checked arson was a crime and these idiots gonna do the jail time for it, and hopefully the clown circus up there gonna go away for at least trespass and breaking and entering

  • redrock4 January 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Bryan has essentially given us a textbook example of the confirmation bias in journalism. Just a sad, weird, conservative slant on a current event. Hey Bryan, how do you respond to the comment above from someone who actually lives there? Can you find a way to address that and also denigrate the Federal Government?

  • voice of reason January 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    So because the building were largely unlocked, they are o.k. to trespass? I think we ought to have a sit in a Hyde residence this week and see how far his logic extends.

    • Accountable January 11, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      You are seriously deranged to compare citizen protests on PUBLIC lands and buildings with criminal trespass into a PRIVATE home. You are actually insane to encourage people to do so.

      If you, or anyone, were to illegally trespass on Bryan Hyde’s PRIVATE residence and threaten his family, I would expect you to be properly ventilated.

      • voice of reason January 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm

        Who said anything about threatening his family? I merely made the same argument he did. Calm down there little buddy.

      • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 11, 2016 at 6:27 pm

        you’re a kook and an idiot. i think “Accountable” might be hyde’s alias

      • .... January 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm

        NonAccountable. the only deranged thing is you and your cult buddy’s. the Bundys

  • Laura January 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Because they are speaking in terms of federally administered lands and ownership of federal lands and overreach and abuse of the land administrators, they do speak for me, I live in New Mexico, most of our federal lands managers are dang fine people, but the few that are not have wrecked havoc on our ranching industry. I am not sure how being a local allows one to be miffed at this action more than a non local but in this case, I say thank God someone is bringing this abuse to light in the main stream media. Thank God as well that this article is actual investigative journalism, I haven’t seen that in years. Great job.

  • .... January 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Let’s get them all ! Come on Feds. lock all them A Holes up

    they’re all nothing but a bunch gun toting law breaking. arson supporting law breakers.

    The locals don’t want them scumbags up there. !

  • Clifford January 11, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Amazing, apologetics, since buildings were un locked it was alright to go live there for to weeks and walk around with guns, admittedly saying “I’ll die for my cause”,…. and I’m from some where else but I’m so aligned with breaking law and order, but hey, we could have shot up this place and any law official that disagreed with us, so…. aren’t we benevolent. No your just religious extremist ready to kill for your cause. Now who in the news, over seas, does that sound like?

  • Mitch January 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Bryan, I have followed you for years. Normally I find you and your comments and editorials very objective. However on this one I think you miss the mark. This is by far a more complex case than what the media is reporting. Bundy and his militia run to the aid of the Hammonds who did not request their help nor to they want their help. The Hammonds were convicted of arson on public lands which carry a mandatory minimum penalty. That’s why they are back in jail. The judge who commuted their sentence did not have the authority to do so. The same mandatory minimums we have for convicted drug dealers. Not saying the Hammonds are remotely in the social circle of drug dealers. But the arson was used to cover up poaching and not “evasive weeds” threatening their private land. They new they did wrong and turned themselves in to complete their sentence. It could of been much worse if their arson got someone injured, killed or even caused more damage and cost to their neighbors lands.
    Bundy and his militia are looking for the notoriety of doing battle with the bad federal government. Mostly they hate the BLM for it’s overreaching authority of public lands that local ranchers count on for their livelihood. Cliven Bundy owes the feds over a million in back grazing fees. No different than a tax payer owing a million dollars in unpaid taxes. Aamon Bundy picks and chooses federal agencies he has issue with. He applied and was granted an SBA loan for over $500,000 for his truck repair business in Arizona.
    The conflict in Oregon should be between the BLM and the locals. No different than the US sending troops to the middle east and trying to bring democracy to the region at the point of a gun.

    • voice of reason January 11, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      well stated. Hypocrisy just oozes out of the Bundy clan.

  • KarenS January 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Mr. Hyde admonishes everyone to “go to the source” and yet his source, whatever it was, is full of factual errors. The schools in the county were closed for the entire week. Many local news sources reported that fact and interviewed parents who were upset at the militia group for causing the problem. The buildings were unoccupied at the time but there are 16 employees who work there. They are obviously unable to work since they cannot work with an armed group present. Nothing was damaged? The television cameras followed Mr. Finicum (alias tarpman) as he led them into a secure area where employee private information was “scattered around”. Only after the militia leaves will we know what was damaged or broken.

    Bottom line – the Hammonds don’t want the Bundy group there, the town does not want the Bundy group there (there are signs around the town to that effect), even the Safety Committee doesn’t want the Bundy group there. Time for them to go home and be arrested for criminal trespass and a host of other crimes. Then they can have their day in court. We are still a nation of laws.

  • beacon January 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    So, Bundy is willing to leave (with body guards!)…”But first, there is the matter of getting members of the community to come together and choose to break the chains that federal land managers have been placing on them over a period of decades.” Bundy and others were not asked to come and help these folks. If I were the people in the area, I would be telling Bundy, “Goodbye and don’t let the door hit you in the butt when you leave.” Where do he and his cadre get off thinking they are the answers to these folks prayers when they don’t even know what their prayers are. The Hammonds are willing to do what is needed, but Bundy and his ilk have been so fired up by Ken Ivory, Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and others who have these cowboys doing their dirty work for them that following the Hammonds’ lead and getting out is not for them. Sorry lot!

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 11, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    my comments all gettin censored willy nilly

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic January 17, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Well, IC – this one from you makes me chuckle a bit. Perhaps you’re making my moderators work too hard. They and our reading community can only take so much nonsense, you know. We urge decent and productive discussion comments – you can offer those! 🙂
      I’ll take a look at your willy-nilly censored comments.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • voice of reason January 12, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Once again, Bryan shows his true colors and lies out of both ends. These criminals are destroying Federal property. http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/01/oregon_standoff_bundy_militant.html

  • CHJ January 12, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I appreciate KarenS and Mitch’s comments. Much more accurate and balanced report of facts than this article. In addition to items mentioned – this group has been using federal vehicles, computers and Internet access while occupying this facility. Going to the source is a nice claim but how about listening to multiple sources besides the law enforcement. The locals do not want them there, the folks who work at the site do not want them there, the birders who visit the site have lost opportunities to use the area. These armed folks are illegally occupying public land that has been set aside for public use. The Hammonds have willingly turned themselves in to serve the mandatory sentence (one established by Congress, not FBI or some unidentifiable bureaucrat). If truly interested in justice against unreasonable sentences, these armed folks should learn who created pushed for this mandatory sentence and seek to change the law. Instead, like others who do not like the system, they resort to armed occupation with threats of violence. For folks who claim they believe in the Constitution, their approach is not the system the Constitution established. They have made no effort to use the processes of law; instead have gone directly to the illegal approach.

  • Roy J January 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I don’t think Bastiat meant that it was acceptable to deliberately put one’s person in harms way, for the sake of exercising its defense.

  • Rene January 14, 2016 at 8:59 am

    this story is about perspective and truth and what is interesting are the comments spewing the continued lies. For the one saying they did not use the law and system etc. Seriously, you have NOT read the history of this case, the system is why we are watching this unfold. This story came out before it was KNOWN that the FBI was running around town pretending to be militia and creating the problems in order to make it LOOK like the Protestors were. America is taking back our country! Here is another story, one of MANY more, that tells the truth of what is going on. Research shows the underlying evil being shut down in this town and all towns in America are seeing that they too are ready to kick out the Poop Heads stealing our lands/homes/lives.
    Anti Government? NO!!! “Pro Transparency and Anti Corporate control for Profit. ENOUGH!
    (for you paid trolls and blind followers = Poop Heads!)
    READ: https://www.facebook.com/notes/rene-powers/a-ranchers-daughter-takes-note-of-ammon-bundys-words/467565723444246

    READ:https://www.facebook.com/notes/rene-powers/grievances-are-being-given-but-who-is-listening-take-the-stand-for-liberty-it-is/465266137007538

  • Rene January 14, 2016 at 9:09 am

    To all MSM who lie in order to get a paycheck you are all going to figure out that working for an employer who is lying, cheating, stealing and supporting communism is an employer that must be shut down in America…Any tyranny against the people will no longer be tolerated and for those employees, you too will be personally taken to task for any and all assistance/participation in the crimes against Humanity. We are Americans, first and foremost..no racial divides, no color coding, no more psyops accepted. This story is the very reason we cannot listen to the MSM as it is owned by the very entities attempting to steal our lands and lives and all of America. Are you going to participate because it means a paycheck?
    The foreclosure world is entangled in ALL of this, the theft of homes. The FDCPA has been clear that Debt Collectors cannot foreclose, yet millions of homes have been stolen. The agencies parading as government are just glorified Debt Collectors, it is all commerce and YOU are the conduit under which millions are laundered. STOP! Quit working for the lying Poop Heads! Take back America and jobs will be plentiful, we will see less hatred and more help as we stand together and realize it has all been a charade created by the Poop Heads to control you. Get out of their world and back into the real world, shut down the matrix of actors, bad state and federal actors. Just say No to contracting with these businesses! It is time to send the Agencies/Bureaus and this Corporation calling itself our government back to their 10 square miles or all will be on 3 squares a day sitting in a place no one wants to be…remember the concentration camps? Well, read this:
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/rene-powers/us-inc-associates-go-back-to-the-10-square-miles-you-belong-in-you-overstayed-yo/466840586850093
    What is the government? it is We the People…Pro Transparency, Anti Corporate Control….

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