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Tuesday, April 23
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion oped editorial

EDITORIAL: Bundy and his band of domestic terrorists

Militias. Protestors. Anti-government activists. These are just some of the words used in connection with Ammon Bundy and his followers in the days since the forced occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon.

It’s the view of the Editorial Board that Bundy and the other men who have taken over federal building should be appropriately labelled as domestic terrorists.

The takeover checks off one important mark on the FBI’s list for what constitutes domestic terrorism, according to former attorney and political columnist Dean Obeidallah.

Specifically, activities that are designed “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion” are terrorist activities, as is stated in the FBI Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code.

The major policy that the men in Burns are angry about is the federal control of lands and resources in the the west.

More specifically, they are upset about the jailing of two ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, who set fires to fight off invasive species on their property.

The fires then spread to federal land and the two were charged with arson. The Hammond’s lawyer has said that the occupation do not speak for the family.

Bundy and his fellow terrorists, who are armed, will not leave the wildlife refuge unless the ranchers are released from prison. This egregious attempt to influence government policy, by arming and occupying a federal building, is nothing short of terrorism.

These men are not militiamen: they are not self-styled patriots fighting against tyranny and oppression, as colonial troops did against the British during the Revolutionary War. They are not peaceful protesters, who use methods of civil disobedience to achieve their goals. They are armed terrorists who are using their guns to threaten the United States.

It’s tough to believe that, if Bundy and the other men weren’t white, they wouldn’t already be labelled terrorists by media, law enforcement and other sources.

Former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem wrote in an op-ed that the men are terrorists for many reasons besides the color of their skin.

“They are dangerous, they are unforgiving, they are flouting federal law, they have a political purpose and they clearly are willing to use violence to get their way,” Kayyem wrote. “Simply because they are not Muslim jihadists does not mean they are authorized to threaten or use violence to support their political cause.”

In determining a solution to the conflict, officials would be wise not to repeat the mistakes of other situations, such as the bombing of the mostly black MOVE compound in Philadelphia in 1985.

The bombing killed five children, six adults and destroyed most of a neighborhood on the west side of the city, according to CBS News. It is also the first time a bomb was used on U.S. citizens by the

This is clearly not the conflict resolution we should aim for.

However, it does beg the question as to why Bundy and his followers are being treated like disgruntled protesters that we have to coax into obedience.

They are armed terrorists who have taken federal property hostage, and who aim to affect policy through fear and force.

The U.S. government should treat them as such.

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