Sunday, October 30, 2016

Malheur Occupiers Appear to have been in the Right

  I once felt the protesters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were wrong. Now, in light of the court's decision to acquit them, I tend to believe I am the one who was wrong.
   The protesters were charged with obstructing officials from the performance of their duties, or some such similarly worded offense. I had supposed the occupiers, indeed, had prevented the refuge employees from doing their work. Although the news story I read doesn't say the jury found differently, that is implied by the acquittal. If the protesters were not preventing the refuge from being open, nor operating in its normal fashion, they were nothing more than peaceful protesters, albeit protesters who carried weapons, a touch that does not go unnoticed. If the employees truly felt threatened by working in an environment where those who opposed them were carrying guns, perhaps we need a new law that makes such intimidation a crime.
   Or, would that be an affront to the Second Amendment? I suggest it might. If you pull the gun out in a threatening manner, that is one thing. But, if you leave it in the holster, make no move for it, and give no verbal indication you might use it, then it would seem you are just keeping and bearing arms, as is your right under the Second Amendment.
  Since the news story doesn't definitively say otherwise, I suppose it is possible the protesters did prevent the refuge from being open and operating in its normal fashion, but the jury sided with their right to do so on grounds they, as citizens, owned the land. I'm guessing, though, that wasn't the case. If, by chance, that is what happened, then I still think the protesters were in the wrong.
(Blog edited 10/31/16, notably correcting that it was not the judge who rendered a decision, but a jury.)


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