September 18, 2021

The Biggest Question We’re Still Asking About the Oregon ‘Occupation’: What’s Happening to Our Country

The Biggest Question We’re Still Asking About the Oregon ‘Occupation’: What’s Happening to Our CountryYou may not recognize the name but you’ve no doubt heard about the “armed activists” who “occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge” in Oregon last month.

The occupation ended when Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asked for President Barack Obama’s assistance for a “swift resolution.” Five days later, LaVoy Finnicum was dead.

Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. (ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)

From the day Ammon Bundy and a group of ranchers walked into the refuge, they were labeled by the media and government officials as “radicals,” “militants,” and “armed occupiers.” But to many around the country they are simply fathers, brothers, mothers and patriots. It is natural for us to want to believe LaVoy Finnicum was a militant leader because it makes his death easier to swallow. However, after watching videos of LaVoy with his family and reading the stories of the women who were in the refuge, it’s a lot harder to “write-off” the whole thing. The eye witness accounts of Shawna Cox and Victoria Sharp make it harder still.

Regardless of whether you believe the occupiers were there legally or not, whether you think they are “militants” or “patriots” or whether you believe LaVoy Finnicum was “murdered in an ambush” or a “killed in a shoot-out at a traffic stop” there is one thing we can all agree on—our country is in trouble.

Many of us are feeling it but we just don’t know what to do about it. To a lot of us it’s very personal. It is hard to explain or articulate our frustrations and those who try often get labeled as “anti-government” or “radicals.”

I find it interesting that the occupiers of the refuge were labeled as militants while the occupiers of Wall Street were simply “protestors.” Why is it that the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson were reported as “unrest” and condoned by the government when the peaceful protests of those in Oregon were reported as if it was an act of terrorism? You can’t it both ways. We have got to stop allowing the government to use us as pawns in their political game.

You may be asking what any of this has to do with you. Let me explain.

For years these ranchers and their families have been harassed, intimidated, and bullied by government agencies with a continuous barrage of new rules and regulations, making it extremely difficult to hold onto their homes and provide for their families. As one Oregon rancher said, “Utilizing federal land requires ranchers to follow an unfair, complicated and constantly evolving set of rules.”

But it isn’t just America’s ranchers who have been affected by increasing governmental overreach in the last decade.

Family-owned businesses face a litany of government regulations. Churches are told what they can say; teachers are told what to teach and mandated how to teach it. Parents are being systematically replaced by a multitude of government agencies that are sure the system can raise your children better than you.

All of this government overreach is leading to a frustrated America. That’s what Oregon was about.

The media called the “occupiers” militants; all I see is American families. These are people who love their country, are devoted to their families, cherish freedom and the Constitution of the United States. I can feel their passion and understand their anguish. We are seeing our country literally slipping away from us.

It’s only a matter of time before government agents are at our doors charging us because our children aren’t in their schools, we spoke out against a government policy, or our dog disturbed the endangered earthworm habitat in our backyard.

This sounds crazy but it is already happening. American ranchers are dealing with this every day but they aren’t the only ones. There are numerous examples of real events just as seemingly outrageous: the Russian couple from California who had their baby taken from them by Child Protective Services for seeking a second opinion; or the father who was ripped from his home by a SWAT team for not paying a student loan.

Before we decide to attack these men and women, and dismiss them as militants, I think we should consider what lengths we would go to in order to protect our families.

As a mother I have become increasingly concerned with the militarization of a multitude of federal government agencies. I remember the chill that ran down my spine when Obama announced his “Civilian Security Force.” It was the same shudder I felt when George W. Bush announced the creation of Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.

And now, as articulated in an article on, that civilian task force is armed with an unfathomable weapons cache in every government agency from the Bureau of Land Management to the U.S Postal Service. As if that wasn’t enough, Obama is now in the process of nationalizing local police forces through his Nationalized Police Plan.

The media referred to LaVoy Finnicum and those with him as an “anti-government extremists” but it is the government that is behaving extremely. When I see LaVoy in his cowboy hat and holstered pistol next to the heavily armed FBI agent in full body armor, it isn’t LaVoy that causes me to fear for my family’s safety.

We all want the same thing–for our families to be safe, healthy and prosperous. There will come a time when each of us will need to decide what we are willing to work for, to fight for, to live for, to die for.

Whether you agree with the methods of the Oregon occupiers or not, it’s hard to argue with their motives.

As LaVoy said, this is not about cows. It’s not about grass. It’s about freedom.

Kimberly Fletcher is the author of WOMEN: America’s Last Best Hope and the president and founder of HomeMakers for America Inc. The views in this article are solely of the author and not representative of HomeMakers for America Inc. 

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