The Oregonian certainly seems to be ramping up the rhetoric against Bundy’s group....I've read that a half-dozen times and I still don't understand how the Oregonian story distorts what Ryan Payne said to the Missoula Independent during the Bundy Ranch standoff. But here, let Millard explain:Among those joining Bundy in the occupation are Ryan Payne, U.S. Army veteran, and Blaine Cooper. Payne has claimed to have helped organize militia snipers to target federal agents in a standoff last year in Nevada. He told one news organization the federal agents would have been killed had they made the wrong move....The problem is The Oregonian is overblowing what Payne actually told Missoula Independent about what the “militia snipers” were doing during the Bundy Ranch situation last year.
“We locked them down,” Payne says. “We had counter-sniper positions on their sniper positions. We had at least one guy -- sometimes two guys -- per BLM agent in there. So, it was a complete tactical superiority. ... If they made one wrong move, every single BLM agent in that camp would’ve died.”
That’s a lot different than the vague term “federal agents,” and suggests Payne was just making sure his men could beat the Bureau of Land Management if it came to that. It’s also possible Payne was just bragging to puff up his own self-image, as BLM denied using snipers. But it’s ridiculous for The Oregonian to not provide better context to Payne’s statements.So ... it's inflammatory to say that Payne was claiming his allies had targeted "federal agents" with deadly force, because the only people they'd targeted were agents of the Bureau of Land Management (a federal agency)? It's bad to target, say, FBI agents, but if the people you're threatening to kill are merely from the BLM, that's cool?
And yes, Payne's claim of "tactical superiority" may have been an empty boast, and there may not have been BLM snipers in any case -- but Payne was unambiguously claiming that "every single BLM agent in that camp would’ve died" if any agent "made one wrong move." To Millard, that's Payne "just making sure his men could beat the Bureau of Land Management if it came to that" -- which is very, very different from claiming that "the federal agents would have been killed had they made the wrong move" ... somehow. I'm not quite sure how.
Then again, Millard is such a careful word-parser that he takes issue with one of his own Hot Air colleagues, Jazz Shaw, because Shaw referred to the militia members as "armed troops." Writes Millard:
... I’m not sure the term “armed troops” is appropriate to describe Bundy’s group because that suggests they’re in tactical gear.The guns, I guess, are irrelevant.
Millard also takes issue with this passage from the Oregonian story he quotes:
He [Ryan Payne] has been a steady presence in Burns in recent weeks, questioning people who were critical of the militia’s presence. He typically had a holstered sidearm as he moved around the community.Writes Millard:
It’s ... foolish to emphasize the fact Payne was armed whenever he talked to people. This may be a bit of a shock to the Left, but Oregon is an open carry state so Payne can carry a handgun without a problem. It doesn’t appear he was walking up to people, showing the gun and yelling, “WHO DO YOU SUPPORT?” but just carrying the gun for protection. It probably seemed odd to some people, but to others in rural Oregon it may not have been an issue.Except that the threat of violence from these guys is an issue for locals:
While some locals did march with the protesters, others felt it was too much. Some posted signs to protest the protesters.Payne isn't carrying a weapon for protection. He's carrying a weapon with the thought that he may shoot at federal agents. And while Millard may be correct when he writes that "It doesn’t appear [Payne] was walking up to people, showing the gun and yelling, 'WHO DO YOU SUPPORT?,'" that's true only because there's no evidence that Payne was yelling.
“I want them to go home,” resident Bee Bee Sitz said. “We take care of ourselves.”
Another resident, Kainan Jordan, said, “I don’t think all of these outsiders coming here is necessary. I think they intimidate the local people.”
Oh, and it's a peripheral issue, but Ohio is an open carry state, too, and that didn't save toy-gun-wielding, twelve-year-old Tamir Rice.
For folks who don't like the alleged policing of speech associated with "political correctness," right-wingers are awfully good at spotting nonexistent verbal "microaggressions" against conservatism. When do we get to call their attitude "conservative correctness"?