Why Don’t Feds Try to Oust Oregon Occupiers?
By Maxine Bernstein
January 12, 2016 at 1:05 PM, updated January 12, 2016 at 1:08 PM
Eleven days into an armed occupation of a federal bird sanctuary in eastern Oregon, the militants remain, gathering wood to keep warm as they continue to demand the government turn over public land in Harney County to local control.
They’ve rebuffed the sheriff’s offer to escort them home. They’ve covered up the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge signs with their own. And on Monday, they ripped out part of a fence on the refuge’s property that bordered a ranch where cattle graze.
As the days progress, questions from frustrated Harney County residents and other observers grow: Why doesn’t law enforcement take some action? Why not contain the occupiers? Why not block roads leading to and from the refuge? Why not shut down the power to the refuge or keep the media from giving them a national platform?
But former federal agents and other police tactical experts say the circumstances surrounding the refuge takeover haven’t really changed that much in the past week and a half: No violence has occurred. No immediate public safety threat exists. The refuge remains isolated.