The Oct. 27 verdict by a Portland federal jury on the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Preserve is disturbing.
Individuals were charged with criminal “conspiracy to prevent, by force, intimidation and threats U.S.F.W.S. and B.L.M. from carrying out their duties. Some were also charged with the theft of government property, the use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.” (Seattle Times).
Based upon broadcasts at the time, Malheur was filled with weapons, bulldozed ditches and public buildings by the defendants and other trespassers. Thirty guns, 16,636 live rounds of ammunition and 1,700 spent casings were seized by officials after the refuge was released from occupancy. Over 4,000 archaeological artifacts of the Burns Paiute tribe, which are resident on the refuge, were threatened.
Malheur was shut down for over a month. The public continues to have only limited access to this federal public resource because of damage.
A selfish and greedy group used force to take over, destroy, threaten invaluable treasures and deny public access to a property belonging to every citizen of the United States. I see no logic or parity in this decision and support appeals and further prosecutions against this perversion of justice.
Diane Claus, Nampa