Wednesday January 06, 2016

Oregon militia leader Ryan Bundy compares government to slave master with whip

Ryan Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with a reporter at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, near Burns, Ore. With the takeover entering its fourth day Wednesday, authorities had not removed the group of roughly 20 people from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country.

Ryan Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with a reporter at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, near Burns, Ore. With the takeover entering its fourth day Wednesday, authorities had not removed the group of roughly 20 people from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

Listen 7:28

Update: After a gunfight with police, Ryan Bundy was arrested Jan. 26th along with a group of fellow militia members. His brother Ammon was among those arrested. Here is our interview from Jan. 6th:

An armed, self-styled militia group has been occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon since Saturday night. Calling themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, the group is led by sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who has engaged previously in armed standoffs with the federal government. As It Happens guest-host Helen Mann speaks with one of the group's leaders, the eldest Bundy son, Ryan. Here is part of their interview:

The master, who is the federal government, has got a whip hanging over them. - Ryan Bundy 

Helen Mann: How many of you are there right now?

Ryan Bundy: That's not information we let out. 

APTOPIX Ranching Standoff Protest

Ryan Bundy talks on the phone at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. Bundy is one of the protesters occupying the refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)

HM: Are you concerned that the FBI will raid the refuge?

RB: You know, we'll deal with that as it comes, but I don't believe that's really going to happen, no. 

HM: When you say you'll "deal with that," what would you do?

RB: We would posture defensively as need be. 

HM: You'd be willing to open fire? 

RB: Did you not hear me? I answered your question. I said we'd posture defensively as need be. 

HM: Well, defence doesn't necessarily mean opening fire. It could just be standing your ground.

RB: That's right, it doesn't, so please don't construe that it does. 

HM: That's why I was asking you, I didn't want to make an assumption.

RB: You know what? There's some things you just shouldn't ask. It seems like the media, whether it be you, or the mainstream especially, they're always trying to squeeze... always trying to push things to some sort of violent action. It seems like you guys can't wait to see some sort of showdown, you can't wait to see some violence. I just don't understand that. Pay attention to the principles that are being taught here, and what needs to happen, rather than trying to push a fight.

HM: I'm not pushing anything, I just don't want to make any assumptions.

RB: Well then don't ask those questions, then. 

HM: It's my job to ask questions, sir. How well armed are you guys? 

RB: Again... [prolonged silence].  

HM: Sorry, you cut out a little bit. Are you still there?

RB: No, I didn't cut out. If you want to continue this conversation, then I would ask you don't ask those kinds of questions. Let's stick to the principles and the reasons why we're here.

HM: Alright, what are your demands?

RB: [Laughs]. You don't just quit, do you? 

Ranching Standoff Oregon Ammon Bundy

A sign referencing Ammon Bundy and his brother, who are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, hangs on a tree in front of a home (Rick Bowmer/AP)

The interview continues. When asked why Bundy does not have the full support of Harney County locals, he replies: 

RB: The reason these people are fearful to come out and support [us] is because they're being treated as though they are slaves. And the master, who is the federal government, has got a whip hanging over them. If they even lift their head, or raise their eyes a little bit, then they're snapped with another strike. And therefore they fear. People of Harney County are coming here and expressing that to us over and over, they express how their neighbours are in fear to do the same. 

HM: When do you think you'll leave the refuge?

RB: When we have accomplished the design. Thank you.