Opinion

Bundy Acquitted for Occupation of Federal Land, Left Blames…Racism

   DailyWire.com

In the media’s mad rush to proclaim everything in America racist, they’ve decided racism is to blame for the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six other defendants for taking over an empty federal facility in the middle of the Oregon wilderness. Bundy and company took over the facility to protest the arrest and imprisonment of Steven and Dwight Hammond, two Oregon ranchers who were pushed off their land by the federal government.

The prosecutors said that Bundy and his group were responsible for an “invasion.” The jurors felt differently – they believed the defense line that Bundy was engaging in peaceful protest. Bundy himself gave 10 hours of testimony, including stating that “Everything comes from the Earth and if [the government] can get control of the resources, they can get control of the people.”

Here was The New York Times’ Paul Krugman in response to the verdict:

“I’m staggered that a bunch of armed men can take over federal property, maintain their siege – and then get off scott free. Does anybody think the outcome would be the same if armed Muslims, black men, or Native Americans tried this? And I fear it may encourage others to try similar stunts. Thoughts?”

Here’s the problem with that theory: Bundy and his compatriots were prosecuted. The jury nullified. That’s actually different than the situation for some black leftists who have taken over buildings peacefully while armed – they’re not even arrested. In 1969, members of the Afro-American Society (AAS) occupied Willard Straight Hall at Cornell, and brought guns with them. Here’s the Cornell Chronicle recapping:

On Sunday afternoon, following negotiations with Cornell officials, the AAS students emerged from the Straight carrying rifles and wearing bandoleers. Their image, captured by Associated Press photographer Steve Starr, in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, appeared in newspapers across the country and on the cover of Newsweek magazine under the headline, “Universities Under the Gun.”

During that era, similar student occupations were met with arrest but very few prosecutions. Not much has changed today. The left celebrates armed and dangerous riots in major cities around the country associated with the Black Lives Matter movement – how many people have been charged and convicted? How many leaders of BLM have been invited to the White House, by contrast?

The reality of protest in the United States is that Americans typically tolerate it, and refuse to convict. In 2011, leftist student protesters occupied Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall; those who were arrested were acquitted. Mass arrests aren’t uncommon, but mass convictions are. Krugman asks if protesters at the Dakota Pipeline would get off scot-free – and the answer is likely “yes,” or with a slap on the wrist at the very least. The media labels those who are blocking the Dakota Pipeline “activists,” even though at least one woman fired shots at the police – something the Bundy clan never did.

So no, this isn’t about racism – or if it is, there’s no evidence of it yet. It is about many Americans’ doubts about government overreach and high tolerance for civil disobedience.