To the editor: No, the people occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon are not taking on the U.S. government; they are taking on the U.S. citizenry. We all own the land, which is held in trust for us. ("Armed activists in Oregon challenge government over federal control of public land,"
When Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose son Ammon is participating in the current occupation, refused to pay to graze cattle, he was withholding payment from Americans to use the land held in that trust. It was no different than if he grazed his cattle on his neighbor's land and refused to pay for it.
One of the foremost principles of our democracy is that we all agree to obey the law, and when one of us violates it, we have agreed there will be consequences — whether it is paying to graze cattle or paying a parking ticket.
Judi Jones, San Pedro
To the editor: "Activists"? Seriously? Activists don't threaten to shoot representatives of property owners (law enforcement working on the public's behalf) who come to escort them off the property.
Just because none of us wants another Waco doesn't mean we shouldn't call these people what they are: insurrectionists. Professional writers sure ought to know the difference.
Joanne Zirretta, Aliso Viejo
To the editor: According to another article in The Times, the armed men who took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon now claim that what they are doing is "akin to environmental groups who take up residence in trees to stop logging."
This is intellectually insulting. Environmental activists who do this are practicing peaceful civil disobedience, while the ranchers and loggers in Oregon are armed and are threatening to shoot law enforcement officers or others who stand in their way.
Moreover, tree-sitters do not claim that the federal land in question is theirs, and they do not openly declare "war" on the federal government.
If the armed people in Oregon were affiliated with Black Lives Matter, were Muslim or were environmental activists for that matter, many in the national media, law enforcement and policymakers would not hesitate to call them terrorists. Why the double standard?
Chad Hanson, Big Bear City, Calif.