The surprise acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six other militants who occupied a bird sanctuary in Oregon last January has emboldened the movement’s militia followers, who claim the federal government has no right to own public land.
“We’re fighting for our freedoms, for our rights to keep our Constitution,” said defendant Shawna Cox, outside a federal court in Portland last week.
“The actual history is much more complicated than the argument that these people are making,” says Greg Ablavsky, an assistant professor at Stanford who specializes in property law in the American West. “In fact, if you dig into the history, the legal principles seem to exactly oppose many of the arguments that they’re advancing.”
“My frustration is that the history that gets retold is sort of a cartoon version of the actual history of what happened,” Ablavsky says.Read More