For a while I really enjoyed following the story of the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon. It had it all in terms of looks: cowboys looking like the Marlboro man, high plains covered with snow. I can’t say I really ever paid much attention to the issues, something about the “Constitution,” grazing rights, mineral rights, timber rights, bird watching rights; the kind of things that transactional lawyers work out in eye glazing negotiations.
Mainly I saw it as a fashion show. Great looking ranch wear, I liked the plaid woolen coats, Pendleton shirts, boots in the snow. These guys were not Hollywood, they were real guys on a mission. Again, I can’t say I really understood the mission, but it was great political theater.
Then it all fell apart. LaVoy Finnicum, a group spokesman was shot and killed at an FBI traffic stop. I’ve watched the video and I don’t know if the shot by law enforcement can be justified or not. What is abundantly clear is that Mr. Finnicum, the father of eleven children is dead. I’m pretty clear that no battle of grazing fees is worth that.
I liked the outfits, and now it’s no longer fun.