by Justin Robbins
Since the 2014 Bundy Ranch armed standoff, and the Mahleur occupation early this year, I have become somewhat fascinated with the apparently growing “patriot” movement in this country. Not, you understand, out of a nagging fear my tax dollars are managing too much wilderness for my children to enjoy; more so a fascination with the ideas underlying the phenomenon. Also, as a middle-class, middle-aged, frequently bored white male, I confess to a certain curiosity regarding which parts of my country were actually gone, and from where (or from whom) they needed to be reclaimed.
As it turns out, apart from a few months loss of one of our bird sanctuaries, the country itself is still here. Still too, a nation of laws. Near as I can tell, what needs to be “taken back” is a sense of security in traditional, superstitious, monochromatic, entitlement. Loosely translated, white Christians are consistently shocked to learn laws apply to them.
Case in point, the recent conviction of a Basin, Montana, man for violations of the Clean Water Act. This story came to my attention after it clearly came to the attention of America’s paranoid, bunkered, SPAM eaters at Radio Free Redoubt. I’m reluctant to validate their existence; but seriously, you owe it to yourself to follow that link and spend a few minutes exploring the site.
For my part, I read though the article and it’s attachments, and listened to the interview of Joe Robertson, and to the disjointed monosyllabic ramblings of Kris Anne Hall (providing phone numbers for, and advocating harassment of a federal judge, Robertson’s attorney, and the Jefferson County sheriff). I reviewed it all in concert with the Republican (Nixon) passed Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972. I have two takeaways from that endeavor:
- Over a period of at least two years, Joe Robertson dug numerous ponds on forest service (public) and other people’s private land without proper permits; which are issued to ensure the holder is acting in a manner that will not adversely impact public streams and wetlands. He was convicted by a jury of Montana citizens while being represented by a man that Kris Anne Hall herself said, in all sincerity, “knows how to be a defense attorney.” Case closed.
- Based on a seemingly ill-informed, potentially criminal, and entirely self-serving call to arms by the same mouth pieces who rode to nothing like relevance on the coattails of the Bundy boys, a collection of the same low-grade “patriots” is likely to descend on Missoula or Basin (or both) to hear themselves evangelize about “justice”; Robertson’s case being nothing more than the cause du jour on which to rest their tired soap box.
For my money, between the self-righteous destruction of a public recreation area and LaVoy Finicum’s reckless disregard for human life, the shine has really come off this “Jesus sent me” set of sovereign, maritime constitutional interpreters. Even a novice, dry read of this situation illuminates glaring flaws in both the arguments and accusations offered by these posers, chomping at the bit to believe anyone who’ll complain about the government. That’s a pretty low bar.
Then again, Montana is beautiful in the summer. Its a great place to come if you’re tired of providing for your family, or contributing to society…and, our jails will even provide snacks.