Media missing real story with Hammonds in Burns, Oregon

Rep Katie Eyre Brewer

by Katie Eyre

The take-over of a federal building by an offshoot of Saturday’s peaceful rally in Burns, Oregon is taking over the real story.

The real story, best I can piece together: Two men were convicted of setting federal lands on fire. These lands were adjacent to their farm/ranch lands, and the fires appear to have been because the controlled burn on their land to control invasive species became out of control.

On a separate occasion, they set a defensive fire line as a forest fire was heading their way.

The judge sentenced them, they served their jail and prison time, and were released back to their families and land. However, the federal government appealed the sentencing. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that these two had to be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years AND be labeled terrorists.

So Monday, these two voluntarily were set to head BACK to prison.

When have any of us heard of a time when someone has served the sentence they were handed by a judge, been released, have no parole violations, but then get sent back to jail years later for additional time??

This reeks of unfairness. Injustice. Tyranny, maybe.

The rally Saturday of many people was to show peaceful support to the Hammond family, with their patriarch and brother returning to federal prison because a string of events that makes little intuitive sense.

The overtaking of the federal building, spurned by the Hammond family’s situation, is the act of a few, and unfortunately gives the media the opportunity to avoid asking the question: If someone has already served their sentence in jail/prison, is it equitable to send them back, years later, to serve more time?

Is this the kind of government we want?

Additional resources:

Hammonds’ appeal to SCOTUS

This arson crime section: 18 USC 844(f)(1), was added in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996, meant to enhance our ability to prosecute terrorism. See Sec. 708 of this 1996 law. Yes, the federal government prosecuted them as terrorists.

Katie Eyre is a Republican former Oregon state representative from Hillsboro