People are arguing about what to call the armed group that took over Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon

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Personally, I’m going with “fuck heads.”

Longer version:

Their choice of location is not random.

These are people who are incensed at limitations put on them with regard to public lands and the environment and critters in the public trust. So they occupy a wildlife refuge. They then claim that they’re striking back against tyranny and reclaiming land ‘for the people – by taking a beautiful resource that was open to anyone and making it so only their 150 white dudes with guns can access it. One must assume they don’t feel ‘the people’ includes the scores of birdwatchers who are the normal visitors to Malheur. Very fair. Much openness. So public minded.

(It is further stunningly ridiculous that they’re on what was very definitely native land, not just historically but by federal treaty – one of the treaties that was broken/ignored).

(I admit, I’m rather concerned for when they get sick of stockpiled MREs or canned food or whatever and start wreaking havoc on the birds. That’s crucial breeding and overwintering ground for a lot of different species!).

The response to their actions thus far is reasonable.

A cautious approach and attempts at de-escalation are how we SHOULD handle these assholes. The extraordinary, utterly racist and sectarian problem is that if they were brown or Islamic the powers that be would not try to de-escalate. Try to remember that when people make the comparison: the goal isn’t a world that’s more violent and worse for everyone. It’s a world that’s less violent and better for everyone.

An armed protest is not a peaceful protest.

An armed protest is a protest that isn’t violent YET. There are huge and important traditions of peaceful protest, and none of them involve carrying assault rifles. Flaunting weaponry is an explicit threat. Flaunting weaponry and then saying you hope no one gets hurt is right out of a bad mob movie: That’s a nice life you have there. It’d be a shame if anything were to… happen to it.

TL;DR: fuckheads.