In the statement, the group spoke of the horrors at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and expressed their distrust that the Obama administration will not repeat those mistakes at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
“This is not a ‘free speech’ barbecue at Bundy Ranch with live music by Jordan Page,” the Oath Keepers’ statement reads. “This is a whole different animal. There should be no women and children there at all. This is not a family event. This is an armed occupation of a government building and the only people staying there should be the armed men who are willing to die there with Ammon Bundy and his brothers and a couple of embedded reporters.”
“If adults want to visit them and put themselves at risk, that is their choice, but don’t bring children. If a dozen men die in a shootout, that is one thing, but if children die, there will be a civil war.”
The group, which describes itself as a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” have not been in support of the occupation. The founder and president, Stewart Rhodes, has explained that this is because the matter should have been left to be handled by those who live there, rather than by outsiders.
“There are things being done,” Harvey County Sheriff Ward told the Oregonian on authorities’ efforts to end the standoff. “It’s not visible to the public.”
On Tuesday, a man who identified himself as LaVoy Finicum, 55, told MSNBC that he believed that warrants had been issued for some of the men at the reserve.
“I have been raised in the country all my life,” Finicum said. “I love dearly to feel the wind on my face. To see the sunrise, to see the moon. I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.”