Ryan Bundy – a militant leader who is helping oversee an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge – said the federal government is a bully.
And like any bully who’s been “cutting in the lunch line” too many times, Bundy said the Federal Government needs to be “taken on.”
Bundy acknowledged – for the first time on tape – that occupants took the compound to disrupt the work of federal employees. He blames the employees for the incarceration of Dwight and Steven Hammond, the Harney County father and son convicted of arson on federal land. Bundy said the occupation is retaliation.
Related: An Occupation In Eastern Oregon
“From the facility right here, is where the orders came to destroy the Hammonds … It’s taken more than 100 ranchers out to make this place,” Bundy told OPB. “It’s being facilitated from this office.”
Bundy also maintains the group of militants must be armed, because to disarm would indicate “a lack of seriousness.”
Bundy, the father of eight children, said his group isn't any different than Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
“By the same definition that you are using to label us,” Bundy said, “George Washington was a terrorist.”
Yet, while Bundy said guns provide seriousness to the militants, he laughed that many people do not take his group seriously. He laughed when he learned people call his group “Yee-Hawdists.”
“That is kinda funny,” Bundy told OPB.
It doesn’t bother Bundy that people link him – through humor – to violent terrorist groups while also mocking his rural background. Instead, Bundy said the actions and intentions of the federal government bother him.
“They’re liars,” he said flatly.
In the week since the occupation took place, Bundy has told OPB that the group would leave if the community asked them.
And yet, Bundy and his fellow militants remain, and they continue welcoming new recruits.