FBI-Bundy Standoff Ends Badly

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

The Author trains at First Army Trainer-Mentor Academy at Camp Shelby, MS.

The Author trains at First Army Trainer-Mentor Academy at Camp Shelby, MS.

I wanted to comment on this issue before it got too stale. As you may have heard, the FBI-BLM-Bundy Rancher standoff in Oregon has ended and it ended badly. What I want to comment about is the drone overhead video of the felony stop and the subsequent shooting death of Bundy ally LaVoy Finicum.

Normally I’m pretty pro-law enforcement, but I’m going to criticize them so hopefully they’re not too thin skinned. You might ask the question, “Ok Mr. Blogger smarty-pants, Mr. Arm Chair General! What makes you think you are qualified to critique video of a law enforcement felony stop!? What are you? Rambo?!”

Let me put your concerns to rest. I am a retired Captain in the Army Reserve with 22 years of experience. I worked with law enforcement providing security during the Republican National Convention of 2008 here in Minneapolis and I have great respect for them. My last job was as a team leader for about 30 trainer-mentors whose sole job was to assist in the training and education of military units going to war. I am a graduate of the First Army Training Academy which focused on training new trainer mentors to do their job. There’s a picture of me somewhere on the internet at the First Army school at Camp Shelby Mississippi on my birthday playing OPFOR sniper for my fellow classmates. So there’s that.

I’ve attached a video that basically expresses my views on how the situation went down, so I won’t belabor any points. I will also include the original video so you have a clear understanding of what I’m saying. I will say this at the outset. As a trainer mentor one of the first things I would do in an After Action Review of a training exercise is I would use the Socratic method with the BLUFOR commander and try to get him to tell me in his own words what was the plan going in, how they deviated from the plan, what went wrong, what went right, lessons learned. At the end of the briefing I would try to get the commander and unit members to pin the rose of responsibility over lessons learned in order that they take ownership of their improvement plan going forward.

So here’s my take. BLUFOR, or the law enforcement guys, did much better in this situation than they did many years ago in Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas. The loss of life here, while tragic, was much less than at these other two previous events, so thank you for keeping the casualty count down.

I think LE has learned some important lessons from Ruby Ridge and Waco that they put into practice here in Oregon. By calling the suspects out of their defensive position rather than meeting them in a fortified location, the LE guys took control of the situation and fought the battle on ground of their own chosing. Sun Tzu would have been proud.

 

I have this criticism however. What was with the circular ambush? If you look at the video, you see that you have officers hunkered down behind their vehicles blocking the road. The location of the vehicles forced the driver, LaVoy Finicum to drive off the road and get stuck in the snow, which to me seemed like part of their plan. Unable to continue to go forward, the driver exited the vehicle and is almost immediately shot by a flanker from the woodline. To me this raises three points. One: he was a little too quick to shoot. There was no negotiation, there was no orders from the officer. The driver was out of the vehicle, hands up don’t shoot, he reaches for his pocket and down he goes, shot dead.

I would like to ask this officer, what was going through your mind when the gentleman came out of the car with his hands up? Did you think to give an order to lay down and surrender. Did you use any less-than-lethal methods to get him to surrender?

Inevitably the lawyers for the state will argue that officer was justifiably afraid for his life and when he saw the subject reaching for his pocket, he feared the worst, gun or bomb or what have you. But from the point of view of the overhead drone, that defense doesn’t seem clear cut. There was no exchange of gunfire to this point, no threat to the officer, the guy clearly had his hands up most of the time and had his back turned to the officer when he was shot. What threat was he to you?

You might say he was charging the officer. Huh? This is a 55-year old guy allegedly charging uphill through deep snow. You could have watched him charge you for 10 minutes before he fell down from exhaustion or a heart attack. I really don’t see that argument holding up. I see an old guy up to his knees in snow wondering which way to go. I think you could have waited a minute before making the catastrophic decision to shoot.

Secondly: look at where knucklehead is shooting. If you draw an imaginary line from his line of sight through the target subject, what do you see on the other side. That’s right, he’s shooting at his own guys who are huddled behind their vehicles. This is called a circular ambush and it is held in derision for good reason. Imagine if everyone stands in a circle and shoots at a target in the center. What happens? That’s right, everyone in the perimeter of the circle is dead from gunshot wounds. I think in the future, law enforcement should go back to the training range and learn how to conduct an “L” shaped ambush rather than the circular or “O” shaped ambush they  ended up using. The “O” stands for “Oh shit! I shot Johnny! How the Hell did that happen!”

Third and last point for LE BLUFOR! I see you had stun grenades and used them. If Finicum was such a threat, why didn’t you use them to pacify him? He’d be alive today and you wouldn’t be the bad guys in this event. Just sayin’.

I have plenty of criticism for the Bundy’s and their friends. Ever here of a telephone?! You started out OK in all of this. You had a protest and you got on TV. You said your piece about the BLM and land management and the weird situation about those two guys going back to jail after already serving their judge ordered sentences. Great. Then you decided to go off the rails with this wild life refuge occupation. You are not black. You will not be allowed to occupy federal property. I know it’s not fair, get over it. Use the telephone and call your congressman. If your congressman doesn’t answer, get a lawyer and file a civil suit. There are appropriate ways of handling situations like this and armed occupation should be the last resort in a democratic Republic.

As I mention in the video, a guy in Colorado was mad at his legislators after they betrayed their oaths of office and attempted to crush the second amendment. This gentleman put down $4,000 of his own money on a campaign to recall those legislators and he won. Take a page from his book next time.

I’m a little sympathetic to western states where the government owns pretty much 90 percent of the land out there. I’m not sympathetic to the Bundy’s. You live out there on your own with no concept about how the Constitution actually works. You think a gun is the choice of first resort. It isn’t. And you should accept your half of the blame for the death of Mr. Finicum.

We can all learn from this event. I think LE officers will have to answer uncomfortable questions in the civil suit that inevitably follows and be forced to answer why they chose to shoot. It might not go in the direction they want it too. And for the rest of us, this shows that armed confrontation is not the way to go, unless you really like the site of blood. The Founders gave us a process to solve our problems with the government. We should use the Constitution to our advantage, and leave the guns locked up at home.

#bluelivesmatter

#all lives matter

 

 

 

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Dealing with the militia: advice for the Sheriff in the Oregon Standoff

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Sheriff David Ward with Oregon Militia leader Ammon Bundy. -photo from The Oregonian.

Sheriff David Ward with Oregon Militia leader Ammon Bundy. Ward has done everything right so far in dealing with the militia, but may need help from the state in the near future. -photo from KOIN6.

In regards to the Bundy Militia in Oregon, which have occupied a game reserve in protest of the BLM, the county sheriff there has done everything right. The following is an examination of what he has done and a recommendation of how to conduct himself as the stand off continues.

 

But first, for those of you living under a rock, here is what has happened so far. Father and son ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond have returned to prison for their roles in an alleged arson that happened on federal land in Oregon. They served prison time previously, but the US Attorney, arguing that they were not required to serve the mandatory minimum sentence, successfully petitioned for the longer term and her appeal was upheld. Right or wrong, the Hammonds are returning to jail rather than create a fuss.

 

In protest, Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and a few followers have taken over a game reserve in Oregon with armed militia. There hasn’t been any violence yet, but the militia seems determined to occupy as long as it takes. Their stated goal is to have the federal government return federal land back to the control of the state. They’ve got a long-standing grudge against Bureau of Land Management, the BLM. You may remember that these are the militia that successfully ran off BLM agents in Nevada after the agents seized cattle owned by Cliven Bundy. The militia’s argument with the BLM may have some legitimacy. Their actions in taking of federal land in protest are not. The Harney County Sheriff was right to ask the militia to leave and we applaud his efforts.

 

David Ward, the Harney County Sheriff, has already met with Bundy and has offered him and his folks free passage out of the park where they are encamped. The meeting they had seemed amicable, but Bundy flat out refused his offer. So the stand off continues.

 

Ward is correct in his belief that he is ultimately responsible for the safety of his county. He is the lowest elected official in that area and he has the authority and responsibility to act at that level. We applaud his efforts and have recommendations as to how he is to conduct himself in the future.

 

We feel that that local law enforcement, while they have the authority to act, may not have the means to act given that they are faced with an unknown number of armed militia. The sheriff might not have the manpower to deal with the situation while at the same time continuing to patrol his county. He may need help. We feel that a call for National Guard troops at this time may be appropriate.

 

Commander of the 1186 MP company is congratulated on a successful mission by his Adjutant General. Military Police companies like the 1186 may be the right fit to deal with a lawless Oregon militia. -photo from The Oregonian.

Commander of the 1186 MP company is congratulated on a successful mission by his Adjutant General. Military Police companies like the 1186 may be the right fit to deal with a lawless Oregon militia. -photo from The Oregonian.

We don’t agree with popular radio personalities who have claimed it is necessary to use National Guard to “shoot and kill” ranchers occupying the wild life refuge. We do think that a unit of National Guard, showing up in armored Humvees and wearing full battle rattle would be a significant show of force to convince the remaining holdouts to leave. We feel that a military police company would be the best unit given the situation to be the tip of the spear.

 

The Bundys think they are the militia. They are not. They are armed ranchers operating in violation of the law. The Official militia of that state Is the Oregon National Guard, acting with the authority of the Governor of that state. The Bundys and their supporters don’t even live there! A military police company activated by the governor in support of the sheriff would be appropriate to maintain law and order and preserve the integrity of the park. As a state asset, they have literally no dog in the fight other than to preserve law and order. An appearance by federal authorities like the ATF or FBI would be seen as an attack and would undoubtedly end badly. An appearance of Battle Hardened National Guard troops would be a significant show of force, but would also be seen as less hostile than the FBI. The Bundys would be foolish to mess with them.

 

It just so happens we have recommendations as to which units to choose for this task. Research shows that the state of Oregon has a numbered Military Police company recently returned from Afghanistan, the 1186 MP Company. Under the leadership of an experienced commander, in concert with the local sheriff, this is the kind of unit I would employ. MPs can speak the language of law enforcement and would work well with the sheriff’s office. It makes sense that they be employed.

 

An individual numbered company doesn’t have as staff to help plan their operations. You need an experienced staff and commander at battalion or brigade level to help them. Oregon has such an element in the form of their 82th Troop Command Brigade. A troop command is a good choice to be the MP company’s higher headquarters in this situation because they are good at dealing with a mish-mash of different battalions and companies, they have an experienced Colonel in command, and he has a staff that is experienced at war gaming and planning. The troop command staff can plan the op, provide logistical support, task other units in support of the MPs and provide oversight. They can operate a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) 24/7 and keep the state Adjutant General and the governor apprised of the day-to-day operations. We feel this is a good fit for this situation.

 

Once employed, what would the National Guard do? If I was the commander, I would roll up to the wildlife center in a column of uparmored Humvees and set up camp right in the front yard of the Bundy militia. An experienced company commander knows how to conduct bilateral negotiations with foreign nationals in theater; he will have an easier time negotiating with militia, and he won’t even need an interpreter! I would set up a permanent radio relay point at the refuge. Four guys with a radio, a Humvee and a tent to monitor the situation there. They would operate 24/7 and be a release valve for the militia, constantly in contact and constantly monitoring.

 

The MP commander would set up shop off sight. He would have a TOC close enough to respond to the refuge with a quick reaction force if need be, but not so close that they would be in danger of attack by the armed militia. Once established, the commander would set up daily patrols of every acre of that park monitoring the activities of the militia. Any person attempting to build fortified battle positions on the park would be arrested. No digging of fighting positions, no obstacle emplacement, nothing. Anybody seen to be attempting to arm the refuge for a long-term siege would be taken into custody by the MPs and turned over to the sheriff. There would be strict shoot, don’t shoot criteria set up for the MPs to prevent any bloodshed, but the MPs would be given the ability to defend themselves if need be.

 

Once established, the MP commander would escort the sheriff onto the property for daily meetings with the militia. I would offer an ultimatum to Bundy. Leave or be arrested, and I would give him a time line, one month perhaps. Up until the deadline, if no crime is committed, the militia would be free to go. After the deadline, charges for disobeying a lawful order and trespassing. And then you lay siege. You let people out, but you forbid any new elements in. No food, no water, nothing.

 

Militia loves the idea of an armed martyrdom for liberty. They’re much less happy if their armed Armageddon is replaced with a boring and painful siege. A dispirited militia would eventually erode when there is nothing to eat and drink. Numbers will dwindle and eventually, a manageable handful of the hard-core supporters will remain. You might even get a full surrender and abandonment of the park.

 

If you go in there guns blazing, as Montel Williams has suggested, you give the militia what they want, civil war. Martyrs will gain sympathy from other supporters elsewhere in the country and you will compound the problem. People will die and it will be ugly. If you send the local state sanctioned militia, the National Guard, along with the local sheriff, you give your cause legitimacy and support for the Bundys, which is already quite low, will fall away.

Sheriff Ward has set the right tone with his actions so far in dealing with the Bundys. If he takes my advice and seeks out the council and support of the local National Guard leaders, I think he will be happier than if he tried to go it alone with the assets he has. Let the state Adjutant General and the Governor help you. Avoid direct clashes and loss of life. If you do this, you will look like the hero and you will have upheld your oath to protect the citizens of your county. Good luck!

 

Further reading:

https://www.rt.com/usa/328231-oregon-militia-bundy-sheriff-standoff/

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-cliven-bundy-fines-20160107-story.html

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/whats-next-for-the-armed-militiamen-in-oregon/

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/82tc.htm

http://www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2012/10/oregon_national_guard_holds_de.html

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Jeremy Griffith is a retired Captain who served in units of the National Guard and Army Reserve. He has been a battle captain serving in support of Operation Caregiver and provided a security detail in support of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in 2008. His last posting was as a team leader for trainer mentors in a training support battalion stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

 

 

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