Global Independent Analytics
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett

Location: USA

Specialization: Counterterrorist Finance

Ghost Riders in the Sky: The Oregon Standoff. Part 2

Lightning struck again, this time, the field of brown grass igniting into a rising orange curtain. 

PROLOGUE

The rancher Hammond yelled frantically to his son, “Hurry!  For God’s sake the flames are gettin’ at the cattle…light the counter-fire, and throw that dynamite into it, now…it’s our only chance!” 

And then an upward waterfall of yellow sparks and smoke arose as a roaring leviathan, terrifying the mooing cows as it chased after them, ferocious and devouring, their neck bells peeling wildly as the cattle stampeded into a dusty oblivion.

The next day, the black flat land smoldered its groans, stripped raw of life, with the half-charred bodies of dead cows on their backs, their straightened legs frozen high in the air in comically bizarre postures as the rigor mortis of death translated the rancher’s eyes, silently calculating his losses.  It was a day not felt since the Dust Bowl of his grandfather’s Great Depression; but if Job could endure it, so could he. 

Then as the rancher and his son returned home, exhaustively stumbling up the front porch steps, a curled white flyer nailed to the door caught his eye.  Squinting and wrinkling his nose as if to smell its meaning, he approached it.  Then his face fell and his blood ran cold as he read the large letters stamped boldly on the front: COURT SUBPOENA FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TERRORIST ARSON AND DESTRUCTION OF FEDERAL NATURE PRESERVE.

Flabbergasted, Hammond shook his head and rubbed his eyes, unsure if he was delusional, sleepwalking, or dead.  No it was real, his eyes were faithful, and this was the trap they had been waiting to spring for a long, long time.  They of course were the little blue-winged monkeys (federal agents and bureaucrats) of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, and their prostitutes in Harney County Town Hall—bribed with the promise of federal jobs and dripping with lusty ambition as they obey their Washington DC masters and look the other way each time an unconstitutional federal land grab was made temporarily legal in a sovereign state.

He looked down with disgust, and then felt a cold sweat and a lightheaded nausea drop his stomach to the ground, pulling him over and causing him to vomit.  Unsure if it was the sickly sweet stench of blackened cattle hides and boiled grass in their bellies and smoking manure puddles spoiling the air, or the political equivalent symbolized in this federal abuse of a citizen-rancher defending his home, his animals, and his life.  Whatever the source of the poison, the life-saving antidote was clear:  It was to embrace the impending moment of epiphany drawing near, and commit to acting upon the inspiration it would release.  Then Hammond recognized the rallying cry and the simple truth:  the family, the community, the State of Oregon could not endure another dose of the lies he and his neighbor ranchers had suffered and tried to fight off for the past 100 years.  It was time to replace the wineskins.     

In order to better understand the mentality of government types—the lobotomized, spoiled child afflicted with tantrums, grandiose delusions, and moral fear—he thought about the economics of the ranch, and how as his animals had only been sick in the past when over-eating, drinking their own feces, and generally becoming over-anxious to breed.  Suddenly the “mad cow disease” seemed to have profound political implications, especially when considering the character of those living in Washington DC; and how their disintegrating idol, the American Federal Government, now seemed to be suffering its own mental breakdown and “affluenza” from its high priests (the bureaucrats and politicians) deluding themselves into believing the lie that the federal budget is never too rich and their spoiled abuses of citizens are above the law and will never be challenged, questioned, or punished.  How little they knew the character of the American West.  Indeed, the film 300 and the story about the sickly old, sexually diseased priests spewing deception and corruption in the form of spiritual insight, and hastening the fall of Sparta also came to mind--but that’s another story.

Hammond couldn’t help but chuckle with contempt as he reflected on the untold—but legally documented—history of his family on the land, and how the old ranchers in the 1870’s had been the first ones to dig a pond for their cattle to drink from, so that they could feed the railroad and link up the east and west lines; and how asinine—and unconstitutional—it had been for President Teddy Roosevelt to confiscate the land many years later and call it the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

The ranchers had made the place with their own hands and shovels for God’s sake, and “if those damned ducks didn’t land in the marsh and squat, the tyrannical Teddy Roosevelt bureaucrats could not have acted like environmental fanatics and steal the land; and then start trying to strangle and drive out the ranchers through the federal government stopping water use and ranching permits—as if they had the right to give them out in the first place!”, he thought. 

And of course the other violation was that the federal government had snuck onto some of his fellow rancher’s lands, and began secretly mining minerals and Uranium and other things, and taking them out and selling them to Russians and others through Canadian third-parties (as seen by the story about Hillary Clinton’s treason exposed by the New York Times story). 

And when these mines were approached and examined by ranchers who owned the land, somehow black SUV trucks rolled up with guns drawn and strange looking federal agents (or mercenaries) ordered the rancher away with an ominous promise of “grave consequences” should he return or make the mistake of thinking this part of the property belonged to him.  If he didn’t own all of the property he paid for and was on the deed, then he owned none of the property and the deed was worthless—and the government that promised it—essentially, he thought.

The whole bloody drama was a criminal scam by Washington DC, and now the federal government types were using the fantasy of nature preservation and the nightmare of federal authority to try and lay siege to ranchers and farmers, so they could pressure and try to buy them out, like Old Man Potter trying to buy out George Baily in the film It’s a Wonderful Life.

No, not this time.  This time he would stand, and challenge the enemies of his animals, his lands, his neighbors, and his freedom.  This was the time to affirm the Constitutional right to stand, and reclaim the title of American West, all over again, he thought.  Time would tell.

 

GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY

A massive herd of roaring mechanical horses with their blazing gold headlight eyes—Broncos, Laredos, Rams, Fords and Chevrolets, followed by a few Japanese donkeys—shook the cracked desert ground as the convoy raced and roared through the Mars-like canyons toward the Oregon standoff.

An instant white flash exploded through the purple midnight sky, followed by a divinely titanic “CRAAAACK…….”, as a lightning blast split the heavens and thunder-rolled over the land, scattering the iceberg clouds like startled stallions preparing to stampede.

Then, strangely, from some unknown radio station with impossible antenna reception, the music of Johnny Cash seemed to echo out of the same darkness; prompting the cowboy to smile to himself as Johnny’s classic rogue lyrics came to life: “Yippy-kay- oooooooooh, yippy-kay yaaaaaayyy …. ghooooost riders iiiiiin the skkkkkyyyyyy”.

Tilting back his kaki Stetson, the cowboy gazed up into an old memory, recognizing the mythical boyhood hero of his family in the low gravely country voice pouring through the radio like black molasses, coloring the song’s canvas into the image of an old west double-doored saloon, with a frisky piano tinkling to a posse of ornery gunslingers, cowboys, Indians, mountainmen and fur-trappers; resurrected from their sleep to assemble in the traditional pioneer gathering of ‘rendezvous’ in order to bless, celebrate and toast the rough riders galloping towards the fight brewing in Oregon; and riding as the answer to a prayer of an old woman crying out for help. 

He then began to sense a new spiritual tongue prophesying the deeper meaning of the approaching event as the truck’s cab bounced violently over the rocks beneath him, and the larger eternal significance of this passing moment clarified and smoothed into the still waters of revelation. 

And the moment was certainly significant.  In fact, the ancestors of this moment seemed to resemble the Boston Tea Party moment when the adrenaline of the ‘fight-or-flight’ instinct merged with the realization of our political duty to throw-off the unrighteous and illegal yoke of wicked and arrogant authoritarian government; and they resembled the moment of awakening to true religious and political independence in the ancient Scottish Declaration of Arbroath of 1320—written by the Scottish King Robert the Bruce, eight Scottish earls and 38 Scottish barons—declaring that against the English King and the Pope, the Scottish clans would unhesitatingly unite and fight all attempts to restrain, influence, or govern them (which also was used as the model for the American Declaration of Independence nearly 500 years later); and they resembled the moment Winston Churchill, with typical bulldog tenacity, declared to their Nazi enemies, the world, and history, that regardless of the cost of sacrifice or scope of challenge, the Britannic tribes “…will fight on the streets, will fight on hills, will defend our island, and shall never surrender…and if the British Empire, lost for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘this was their finest hour.’” 

These moments of history not only represented some of the greatest demonstrations of courage and declarations of independence that mankind has ever been inspired with, but they were the ancestors of the feeling this American cowboy-militiaman-patriot was experiencing as he leaned his head out the window of his truck, closed his eyes to the wind blasting over his face, and prayed through the midnight sky about the nexus of destiny he and his militia posse were rapidly approaching.

Help was on the way, he thought.  They were coming….and he smiled again as a distant cavalry bugle trumpeted somewhere in his mind as the exclamation point for the destiny running towards them.

Then he pondered and reflected and discerned how all of this started in the first place…

To be continued….

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