I have abridged the following. (r.a. note)
RAW STORY BY Wajahat Ali, The Guardian Mon., Jan.04,2016
If, in a vacuum, I told you that a bearded man with his head covered had posted a video on social media calling on his followers to leave their homes with weapons, migrate to a new area, take over government property “as long as necessary” and use violence if confronted by law enforcement, you’d probably assume that I was talking about the latest propaganda video released by Isis, filmed in Iraq or Syria and intended to recruit violent Muslim extremists.
But that exact call was recently issued on Facebook by white rancher Ammon Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy who also engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement in 2014 and who currently owes the government more than $1m in fees.
The younger Bundy’s goal this time was to encourage his fellow American “patriots” to take up arms against the US government in protest of the arson convictions of ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr and his son, Steven.
Militia leaders claim approximately 150 followers accepted Ammon Bundy’s call, although reporters on the ground are saying it’s far fewer. The armed men are currently occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon to, in their words, “assist in helping the people of Harney County claim back their lands and resources” . Ammon Bundy has said that his people won’t “rule out violence” if law enforcement “tries to remove them”.
But, don’t worry America: he promised everyone that “we are not terrorists”. What a relief.
Of course they’re not “terrorists”: Bundy and his followers are just your average angry white “freedom fighters”, who use weapons and ammunition to protect the US constitution and American values from the government and other Americans who want them to abide by federal laws like everyone else.
But if Bundy and his followers were like the 38% of Americans who aren’t white , people across America wouldn’t be watching this surreal, dangerous episode unfold and wondering what they could do to be labeled a “militia” when occupying a federal area with guns instead of “terrorists”, “thugs”, “extremists” or “gangs”.
If one black man holding a plastic toy gun even walked in the direction of a federal building, let alone with 150 other black men all holding loaded rifles, he’d be shot dead by law enforcement, no questions asked.
If 15 Muslims occupied a 7-Eleven with BB guns and masala Slurpees, federal law enforcement would probably roll up with 6 MRAPs and immediately take everyone out Waco-style (but without a Congressional investigation ).
We don’t need to racially profile individuals who look like these armed militiamen (white men with bushy beards and beer bellies), but it’s time for mainstream politicians to at least acknowledge and confront this dangerous threat within our borders.