The armed militia group that has taken over a federal building in an Oregon wildlife refuge is in desperate need of sleeping bags, socks, cigarettes, tampons and "French Vanilla" coffee creamer. The question is, will law enforcement allow supporters to bring in fresh supplies?
Leader Ammon Bundy's mom, Carol, has emailed a tally of 80 items on the militia's "wish list" to backers that she and the armed protesters hope will be delivered to their encampment, according to an Associated Press report. Some supporters did show up over the weekend — with guns — to provide backup patrols, but they were turned away. The Pacific Patriot Network came in a convoy of some 18 vehicles with rifles and handguns and dressed in military attire and bulletproof vests. They left after militia member LaVoy Finicum said the network's help was appreciated, but "we want the long guns put away."
"Ammon felt blindsided," Todd McFarlane, an attorney for the militia told the Guardian. "This was not a welcome development. We are trying to de-escalate here – then boom, they all show up."
It is unclear whether law enforcement officials will allow new supplies to be delivered to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge as the second week of the takeover begins. Sources had indicated that power and access to the occupied federal building would be cut as a way to force the militia out.
In a new development, Oregon's Republican state Representative Dallas Heard, who does not represent the area, travelled with five out-of-state politicians to meet with militia members, despite local requests to stay out of the conflict. Heard "called me and indicated he was heading that direction, and I indicated that was inappropriate," said Grand Old Party (GOP) Representative Cliff Bentz, whose district does include the area. Heard called the meeting a "fact-finding" mission.
The armed occupation is a protest by Bundy's group, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, who want ranchers to be free to use federally owned Bureau of Land Management pasture for their cattle. He claims he's following directions from God. Bundy has said he will only agree to leave when the government presents a plan to transfer control of the public land to ranchers.
Ammon Bundy is the son of rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 Nevada standoff with the government over grazing rights.