The shocking contrast between law enforcement behavior toward Ammon Bundy, the militant Oregon outlaw, and many of the young black men slain by police recently could not be more blatantly evident.
On this 30th anniversary of the federal holiday honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., the continuing racial disparity in our criminal justice system seems to be taking America backward.
For nearly three weeks, since January 2, Bundy and his fellow armed terrorists have occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon. They are protesting the jailing of two local ranchers on arson charges. In a planned takeover, this so-called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom group has settled into a government complex. They reportedly have removed security cameras and continue to cost local governments large sums for policing, utilities, etc.
The Oregon stand-off has gone on for far too long. I have led protests, always unarmed, at federal offices around the country. Trust me, I believe in the right to protest. If I didn't have the necessary permits to protest I was asked to leave or jailed and charged with trespassing.
Three weeks! Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Bettie Jones, Quintonio LeGrier and many of the other 100 African Americans dead at police hands last year had less than three minutes of tolerance. Even considering just the deadly responses that are caught on film, it is clear that a "Shoot first and make excuses later" attitude is the order of the day, unless you're white.
And yet, this bizarre movement supposedly seeking federal release of Western lands to private ranchers, miners, loggers, etc. is allowed to take up arms against the United States government, so far without consequences.
Having led many sit-ins, I always tried to raise the issues of righteousness through peaceful non-violent protest. The movement we celebrate this day, January 18, and the man who is its best symbol, demonstrates that peaceful protest is not only the American way but it is the way to win change.
That Ammon Bundy's terrorist group is allowed to take over federal property for a questionable cause with loaded guns is flat wrong. Would a group of black farmers be allowed to take over federal property with loaded guns? The answer requires only two letters of the alphabet, "N-O."
Yes, I am stating race is the deciding element again! Young black men .And women are being shot all over America, many unarmed! Here it is Bundy good old [white] American is allowed to remain in place with live ammo! Media reports cite at least half a dozen rifles visible.
To the local sheriff's offer to escort them off federal property, Bundy and his crew says no deal. How many black people were offered the same deal by law enforcement officials?
Guns, legally owned and responsibly managed are an accepted way of life in our free nation. But we are all at risk when those two requirements are not met. And when laws are not equally enforced. I support President Obama's position on enforcing background checks; it is a reality that many persons have no business with guns. I have written about the issue before. See here.
I am calling for action against Bundy and his group of thugs. It's time for 24-hour news outlets to start asking the hard question: Why is Bundy allowed to break the law while black Americans are gunned down in the streets for the whole world to see.
It is time for the Justice Department to take action against Bundy's band of outlaws. I challenge others to take a stand on this issue. I was reminded while leading marches and protests for farmers year after year that America is a land of laws. It is time for those who believe in the betterment of America, to take a stand and speak out against this divided justice.