I have spent a lot of time reading, researching, praying since I became aware of the events in Harney County, Oregon. Wondering where my responsibility was in this event. Or, even if I had any responsibility at all. To some, the fact that I live nowhere near Harney County would obviously mean, that of course it could have nothing to do with me. But, the more I researched it, the more I thought about it, the more I learned about it, the more I felt I did have a responsibility in it.
Here is why. As a writer and researcher, I stumble onto “stories” that tend to sit with me. They wont leave, even though I cannot really decide why. Case in point. Months before the Bundy Brothers and their friends occupied Federal ground in Harney, I visited the BLM station in Harney County for a Kiger Mustang sale. During that visit, I overheard the tale of the Hammond’s. I recall thinking that there was no way their experience seemed fair based on the story I was told. But, who was I. As a reporter, I have learned that there are always two sides. When I got home, their story stayed with me and so I began to investigate. And, the more I investigated the more it seemed unreal to me. What was I missing? I kept asking myself. Before that question could be answered within myself, the march for the Hammond’s began and the Bundy’s entered the scene.
From that time, I have been all over the map with this. Mad at the Bundy’s for , in my assessments, “Taking the Hammond’s hostage,” Sad for the Hammond’s, yet “proud” that they seemed to be going through the legal processes, legally. Confused that the government was making the choices they were making, pissed at “we the people,” for not ……. well, I don’t know what. In the very least, not knowing our rights and allowing them to erode away.
I grew up believing that “we the people,” were the “bosses” over government, now shocked and stunned by naivety.
Tonight I sit shattered as we learn the government swept down and left one man dead and another one injured and more arrested. No matter where one lands on this issue… I cannot image anything that has happened to date being worth anyone losing their life. I think of all the Occupy this and Occupy that’s that just dwindle away… without blood shed. Saddened that our government… representing “we the people” didn’t just wait this out.
As I sit here, crying for a man I never knew.. his children, his wife and family and friends…. I cannot wrap my head around it all. What comes to my mind is this…. I think of the amazing horse trainers that I have had the honor to learn from the last few years. Their words rushing back to me….. “A horse is the mirror to one’s soul.” and We can teach a horse through fear or through love….
In this case, I see the FEDS as those old school cowboys determined to “break a horse” come hell or high water, and with no other tools or skills in their saddle bag, they chose the route of fear and intimidation. While both methods can get the job done…. I have learned that getting a horse to “join” with you, become a partner in it’s own taming truly is the only way to get a lasting change.
The FEDS got their desired results, but only through fear tactics. How very very sad.
One of my favorite quotes comes from my favorite horse trainer. It simply reads….“The important thing is to make sure the last word you have with the horse is good for both of you.”
It seems the events of today, were good for neither.
11 thoughts on “Harney County”
Right there on my knees with you tonight, Rene. My heart hurts for the Finicum family. I have researched it all and have tried to keep people posted with “real” information on the subject. Did you realize they were on their way to a community meeting in John Day when the FBI pulled them over? The officials in Burns would not allow them to have a community meeting there. The corruption in Burns has been revealed. They want people to be afraid and go home. We are now at a crossroad. The scenario is bad, any way you look at it. Add to the scenario that Obama has been given unlimited war powers and does not need the consent of congress to go to war in Oregon. May God help us all. Standing in prayer with you.
I did know….. So, so sad.
Thank you for keeping us informed Rene. This just leaves a sick, sick feeling in my gut. We are no longer a free people, that fact has become all too real.
So sadly true. I cannot help but to think of the saying, “while we were sleeping.”
Until the rest of America wakes up this will only continue. I struggled to side with the Bundy group and at first I understood they were protesting the Hammond’s being sent back to prison. For the Hammonds to be called terrorist is beyond the pale. We let real terrorists go and trade them for a reported deserter. I signed the petition to have the case reviewed and we need thousands more to do so, yet most folks don’t care about the abuses and radical rules running this country. We are listed as 21st in the world when it comes to personal freedoms. So much for the “land of the free” Will the “home of the brave” every open their eyes?
If you have never heard of the Bonus Army it is just another story of how the government operates. In short 3 veterans and one baby were killed when the government decided to dislodge the protesters. All the veterans wanted was their promised bonus for serving in WWI.
“My heart is a stone; there is no soft spot in it. I have taken the white man by the hand, thinking him to be a friend; but he is not a friend;government has deceived us; Washington is rotten.-Kicking Bird as quoted in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
More abuse noted in my book Radical Rules- Union Down-One Veteran’s Commentary On The State of The Union.
What happens today or tomorrow should be guided by the consent of the governed. Sadly the governed are distracted. Just what our rotten Washington thrives on.
Sadly, we as people seem to be interested in these issues until they affect us directly. We need to discipline ourselves to see the bigger picture… Thank you for the history lessons. I greatly appreciate them.
A good read, but missing a couple of points. Bundy’s came into an area uninvited. With them they brought threats, unrest, and unreasonable demands. They also said on numerous occasions (these have been in the news) that if the community wanted them to leave they would. Well, they lied and stayed. I am sad at the loss of life, but he too made decisions. I am angry at what has happened in a place I love very much. As a retired federal employee, I am angry at the crap I have seen and heard about federal employees. I was married to a rancher and worked for the feds as many in the area do. Good hardworking people have been impacted by this crap. There are problems, there is no doubt about that, but there is always another way to work on those issues. Sorry, I just had to voice my opinion. I won’t use the words I would like to to describe what I have watched and what I feel.
A good read, but missing a couple of points. Bundy and crew came into an area uninvited. With them they brought threats, unrest, and unreasonable demands. They also said on numerous occasions (these have been in the news) that if the community wanted them to leave they would. Well, they lied and stayed. I am sad at the loss of life, but he too made decisions. I am angry at what has happened in a place I love very much. As a retired federal employee, I am angry at the crap I have seen and heard about federal employees. I was married to a rancher and worked for the feds as many in the area do. Good hardworking people have been impacted by this crap. There are problems, there is no doubt about that, but there is always another way to work on those issues. Sorry, I just had to voice my opinion. I won’t use the words I would like to to describe what I have watched and what I feel.
I agree with you. I dont support the measures that Bundy and his group took. And in my thinking there is a huge difference between those hard working individuals that work for the government and government policies. I know this has to be changed from the top. I too have children who work in law enforcement.. I get it. Truly this isnt about those on the ground as much as it is of policy and what is and isnt working. Please dont ever feel the need to apologize for your thoughts and feelings when writing to me… I desire to see both sides. Thank you for taking the time to share them with me.
Renegroom, I think exactly as you that it’s a policy blunder or an air of arrogance that has gotten this so far out of hand, BLeMs are only doing what they’re told when they go out and torch a desert in an attempt to slow some noxious weed or when they trespass(stop) cattle travelling though a sensitive area.Theres always room for kindness and when its absent theres that creep that jumps in to blow the situation out of control. As a Christian ,you know what good vs evil is . But to take this illegal and cruel imprisonment mistake and expand it to demands of privatizing OUR land went “Beyond the Pale’ if I can use your phrase. They went too far and LaVoy came here with a bitterness to support his fellow Mormons and was definitely murdered for it. Tom Mcall would have put it this way, We’re glad you got tovisit Oregon ,now go home.
You are right, not everyone was there for pure reasons…. everything about this situation is wrong in my view. It makes me sad that ANY citizen would have to go to the extremes that we have seen here, to be heard… to get our elected officials listening. To shine a spotlight on all that is broken. But, I also think that it is going to take more kindness on both sides to actually come to some sort of agreement. Thanks Steve… I appreciate your thoughts and….. it is the OUR lands that makes this, in my view, an issue we should all be concerned with. Why does the government want it so bad? those questions of course have been answered…. it isn’t about grazing rights. It goes deeper and more sinister. Which is why we have the Constitution and why we the people should be demanding that we all live by it. My belief is ( and trust me it isnt popular by many) that public lands should be just that.. PUBLIC and their uses equally used by ALL interested parties be it ranchers, recreation, wild horses, etc. all managed by the State.