Bundy brothers standoff comes to an end in Oregon

February 17th, 2016



The Oregon standoff, which has dominated headlines since its inception on Saturday, Jan. 2, has officially come to an end with the last occupier, David Fry, surrendering to authorities, according to The New York Times. Fry, an Ohio native, like many of his fellow protesters traveled from across the country to participate in what many believe to be the conservative counterpart to the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement.


The standoff was spearheaded by two brothers, Ammon and Ryan Bundy. The same family was involved in the 2014 Nevada standoff that revolved around Cliven Bundy’s, the father of the brothers, cattle illegally grazing on federal property. Like the Nevada standoff, the Oregon one was centered on the same grievance, government owning property in the west.

Cliven Bundy

The clash was conceived when the Bundy brothers, with the force of a militia behind them, demanded the release of two extremists who set fire to government land in the early 2000s, according to BBC News. The situation escalated when the group occupied a federally controlled wildlife reserve.


The focal argument of Bundy and company is that what they are doing is completely justified by the letter of the law. However, many critics of the movement believe the group to be domestic terrorists who misconstrue the meaning behind the constitution.


Experts of law and politics, such as David Hayes, who worked under the Clinton and Obama administration elaborated on common discrepancies held by the anti-Bundy demographic according to The New York Times said, “The claim is that the land belongs to private parties, and that public ownership is a foreign concept in our constitution…it finds no credible support in the U.S. Constitution.”


Others who are familiar with the nuances of the law expound on the fact that the government is very fair with doling out federal land at bargain price to ranchers for their cattle to graze. Even though some conservative leaders, like Utah Governor Gary Herbert, agree with the sentiment, they denounce the tactics, according to The Associated Press.


Near the end of January, the movement lost momentum as many supporters, including the ringleader himself, Ammon Bundy, were taken into custody. Ever since then, the number of supporters has significantly dwindled. According to The New York Times, Ammon Bundy called for the rest of his followers to stand down and move on to the next warzone, which will be in the courtroom. Bundy explains that he will use his trial as a political platform and calls for his supporters to do the same.


With the striking amount of local and state authorities needed to suppress the armed standoff, the cost of defense could creep into the millions. The New York Times reported that the use of law enforcement in the local county, Harney County, alone could cost around $500,000. Although the cost is not finalized, local judge Steven E. Grasty finds that the taxpayers making up for the cost is precarious and is pushing for the occupiers themselves to foot at least some of the bill as punishment.


Editor’s Note: Information from The Associated Press, The New York Times and BBC News was used in this report.