January 12, 2016 Posted by Daryl Johnson in Opinion

UNITED STATES, [US]--The current standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon is the latest manifestation of the right-wing extremist threat that has engulfed America since 2008. Historically, spikes in right-wing extremist violence have followed high-profile confrontations involving the federal government and extremists, such as the deadly standoffs at Ruby Ridge (1992), Idaho, and Waco, Texas (1993). In April 2014, we witnessed such an event between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and an anti-government extremist rancher named Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, Nevada.  Culminating a decades’ long legal battle, a federal judge issued a court order for the BLM to seize Bundy’s cattle which had been illegally grazing on federal land. Now, in Oregon, Cliven Bundy’s sons, Ryan and Ammon, are stoking the fires of anti-government hatred as they call for their fellow extremists to mobilize and defend what they perceive as big government’s encroachment on the Constitutional rights of land owners. During 2015, we saw similar extremist calls to mobilize in order to protest the relocation of illegal immigrants from Texas to California, protect the surface rights of mine owners in Montana and Oregon, provide security at so-called “Muslim-Free Zones” in Oklahoma and Florida, and defend a rancher in New Mexico who owes back taxes. But the story, in a very real sense, only begins here. As with Waco and Ruby Ridge, the Bundy standoff, and now the take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, both serve not only as a way to recruit more people into right-wing extremist causes, but also a radicalization facilitator.  Why?  Because extremists have been allowed to take up arms against the federal government, take over a federal facility and threaten law enforcement officers without suffering any legal consequences.  Such events, in turn, embolden extremists to take further drastic actions with additional frequency. View More>>

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