In Defense of the Oregon Ranchers

By Lee Enochs

I just got back from a 3-week trip to the West Coast and I’ll comment in more detail on this later. There is a lot of discussion about this nationwide and the issue is not simple, however, I believe that the ranchers should not be subject to further imprisonment. While it is not a cut-and-dry issue, I am very concerned about the issue of government overreach, land-grabbing, and pushing ranchers off of their land.

As a proponent of liberty myself I want to defend the constitution, however, in a discussion with another friend of liberty today, I realize that the ranchers are also benefiting from their use of  Federal public lands. Also, I am cognizant of the fact that these ranchers set fires to government property.

So even though they are guilty of that, and have admitted to and been punished for it, the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .” While this is a difficult issue, I am in support of the ranchers stand against further imprisonment.

A valid concern is that this standoff not become another Waco incident in which the Federal government largely trampled the rights of peaceful individuals to the point of taking their lives. This incident is not in the same genre, but when tempers become inflamed, then individual rights are often abrogated in the name of public safety. Let’s hope and pray that that does not happen in Oregon.


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