Pardons: July 10, 2018

Dear Mr. VP,

On a day that Brett Kavanaugh deserved the better part of my attention, I also noted this:

Trump pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond today. The Hammonds were convicted of arson on public land. They are ranchers, and were upset about laws governing the private usage of public lands. Dwight Hammond called federal employees the “gestapo” and threatened to “pack a shotgun in his saddle” if he wasn’t granted total access to graze cattle on public lands.

The Hammonds can draw their lineage directly to folks like Gordon Kahl, who inspired Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, who inspired Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. Kahl was a racist and anti-Semite Christian Identity believer, and also an adherent to the ideas of the Posse Comitatus. Weaver and McVeigh had similar beliefs. Folks like this believe that the federal government has no right to own land outside a small patch of D.C., no right to enforce laws (they think the highest form of Constitutionally-allowable law enforcement is the county sheriff), and no right to levy an income tax. Kahl led two shootouts in which three law enforcement officers were killed. Weaver led an armed stand-off that put hundreds of law enforcement officers at risk. McVeigh killed 168 people when he bombed a federal building, one he knew contained a day care center. Cliven, Ammon, and Ryan Bundy, who showed up to Oregon when the Hammonds were in trouble, have also led multiple armed standoffs with law enforcement. The Hammonds set uncontrolled fires on federal land, placing firefighters and other first responders at risk.

Next time Trump says he’s the law and order president, I will remember these people and this pardon. Remember that these are the folks he’s constantly nodding at — white supremacists who consistently put law enforcement officers at risk in pursuit of their ultimate goal of destruction of the federal government. Then ask myself if this is support of law and order.


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