Burns Chronicles No 24 – To Plea, or, Not To Plea

Burns Chronicles No 24
To Plea, or, Not To Plea


Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
August 16, 2016

As some of those staunch defenders of our rights, in both Burns, Oregon, and Bunkerville, Nevada, decide to make a plea agreement with the prosecutors, the Internet has both armchair quarterbacks damning them and sympathetic supporters who will stand by their decision.  However, perhaps it is necessary to look a little deeper into who those people, at both the Ranch and Refuge are, and to consider their respective objectives.

We can categorize those who participated in both events by comparing them to those who stood up against the British, 240 years ago.  In so doing, there are three general categories, so that we can consider them in a contemporary context.

The first category is, for want of a better term, the politicos.  Historically, these would be those who served on local and Provincial Committees of Safety and, those who went to Philadelphia and served in the Continental Congress.  There may be others, such as newspaper editors and others who were outspoken against the British, so that we can lump them into this category, as well.

Now, in the past two years, we have, likewise, the politicos, those whose involvement is to challenge the government concerning both rights and that which should be right.  Their objective is educational as well as political, desiring to provide understanding to other citizens as well as to attempt to get the government to stay within its limits and to remain obedient to the Constitution.

The second category is those with military inclinations.  For the most part, they had prior military and leadership experience in the French and Indian wars.  Their purpose was to use military force to protect the rights of Englishmen and defend against forces thrown against them.

In the contemporary context, it would include those with military and leadership experience who have taken the task of protecting those politicos against attempts at violent suppression of their right to seek redress of grievances and to speak freely on subjects of concern to others.

These first two categories can easily be equated to the First Amendment, for the politicos, and the Second Amendment for those with military inclinations.

The third category is those who offer support, which would include those lesser military types (enlisted men) or those who provided food, blankets, firewood, and other necessities to those in the other two categories.  They were more than simply vocal supporters.  They acted to support those who were defending their rights.

In both events, we also have members of this third category, whether it was by standing guard, cooking, doing laundry, reviewing documents, or any other necessary support activities.  They served with actions, not words.

Those men of words, those politicos, were the most feared by the British government.  John Hancock and Sam Adams, for example, were exempt from the amnesty offered early on as the Revolutionary War began.  They were also secondary targets in the British march to Lexington and Concord.

Today, we see those men of words (not the armchair sort) not even being considered for plea agreements.  They are the most feared, and the government will do all that it can to silence them.  They cannot be flight risks, as they have homes, businesses, and families that tie them to an open life.  Now that the game is on, they are committed to presenting their case, even though they know that the odds are against them when the judicial branch (court) and the executive branch (prosecutors) gang up against them; suppressing communication, disrupting them in jail, and doing their best to deny communication with those who might be able to help them.  It was only after more than five months that the Court decides that the co-defendants could communicate with each other to prepare their defense.  These patriots will not plead out, as they are on the proper battlefield, even though disadvantaged, to fight their war of words and principles, and for our Constitution.

Next, we have the militarily inclined participants.  Their job was to protect the politicos.  At the Bundy Affair, many of those who had been on the Ranch remained on the Ranch to protect the Bundy family, home and property, as their assigned duty.  They did not participate in the Unrustling of April 12, 2014.  They did not abandon their mission.  They stayed at their duty station, as they should.  Others, who had only arrived on the 12th chose to defend and protect those mostly third category people who had come to demonstrate their support for the Bundy cause.

In Burns, the protection and defense were carried on throughout the possession of the Refuge.  Unfortunately, failure to plan against an ambush resulted in some of them being caught in an indefensible situation.  This resulted in the arrest of some of the people and the death of LaVoy Finicum.

It is among this group that we see some entering into plea agreements with the government.  However, taking a plea agreement doesn’t necessarily jeopardize the politicos or other military types.  The fact that they pled is not admissible in the subsequent trials.  Only if they choose to abandon any integrity will they turn state’s evidence and testify against the others.  Those, only, will become a pariah — and no longer reasonably able to consider themselves as patriots.

But, still, we have the dilemma that is the subject of this article.  By pleading, have they given up their principles and their integrity?

George Washington won against the British by doing his utmost to be able to “fight another day”.  Though a prisoner of war may be a burden on the enemy, it is worse when that fighting man is lost to the cause that they champion.  If the prisoner of war can escape, he can rejoin the battle.

As explained in Terrorism Enhanced Penalties v. Due Process, they were facing what they believed to be a possible sentence of thirty years under the threat of terrorism enhancement.  Their appointed attorneys conspired with the prosecutors and the court to intimidate them with the threat of thirty years in prison.  That would put them in their fifties, or older, and would probably preclude them from “fighting another day”.

However, by pleading out, they will be back on the streets in a few years.  At that time, they can rejoin the battle, if they so choose.

Now, they do, according to the current interpretation of the “felon in possession of a firearm” laws, give up their right to possess firearms.  However, there are two circumstances that would negate that prohibition.

First is another battle, being fought since October 2014, when Kevin “KC” Massey, acting as both a politico and in a military capacity, was charged with “felon in possession of a firearm”.  Massey was legally in possession of a firearm, under Texas Revised Statutes.  This was at odds with the federal charge brought against him at that time.  He has chosen, as a politico, to fight the battle of words.  Though he was convicted and is now in prison, he and his attorney, Phillip T. Cowen, are preparing an appeal that will challenge the federal interpretation of 18 U. S. Code § 922 (g)(1).  If he prevails, then the statute will only apply to those involved, directly, in commerce, whereby the firearm crosses state or international boundaries.  Once out of commerce, it could be lawfully possessed.

Second is rather simple and easily understood.  If we come to open conflict with the government, because of their abrogating their lawful responsibilities under, and usurping authority never granted them by the Constitution, we will all be enforcing the right to keep, bear, and use, arms.  That prohibition then becomes moot.

Now, as to the third category, there is nothing to be said.  They are free to choose to join the legal battle, or plea so that they can return to their role much sooner — should the government prevail at trial.

Now, let’s change the perspective to a more realistic and individual one.  I might be considered among the first group, the politicos.  When I was younger, I found myself holding a firearm in protecting rights, though I never found cause to use them.  I have also been encouraged to use the sword of words, the Pen, as I have been doing since Waco.

If I found myself in the circumstances that those patriots have found themselves in, I can only speculate what course I would take.  If I chose to take a chance that the courts in this country can serve justice, and I lost — facing thirty years — well, my children are grown but then I would be 100 years old when I got out (I would probably die in prison).  Of course, in prison, I would still have access to a keyboard, so I could continue to wage the battles that I now wage, though access to events would be severely limited.  However, if I could get out after only a few years, I could remain a part of the patriot community, and quite possibly continue pretty much as I have for the past few decades.

However, if I were younger, the considerations would be different from what I would face, now.  If I had young children, would I be willing to forgo helping and watching them grow?  With thirty years, I would miss the birth of my grandchildren.  When I consider what is most important to me, it is family, then country, to which I have made my commitment.  So, unless and until I find myself in that circumstance, I can honestly say that I can only guess at what choice I would make.

Now, back to those who have chosen to plea.  I don’t wear their shoes, and I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful for them, as they did what had to be done, when it had to be done.  Not many of us can say that we, too, did what had to be done, when it needed to be done.

Nor do I wear your shoes, so I will not partake in speculation as to what you would, or should, do if you found yourself in such a situation as they have.  First, most who will read this have not taken a single step in that direction.  Second, your particular circumstances, especially with your family, are an unknown to me.  I can only say that so long as you did not turn state’s evidence, I would respect your decision, as you, not I, have to live with it.



  1. Brand Thornton says:

    Excellent article Gary and agree 100%. I always enjoy your stuff and consider you a true Patriot. I hope to continue hearing from you !

  2. harold says:

    I think abandoning your family especially with young children to support your ideology is a failure of responsibility and shows selfishness. I worked at a job I hated it was dangerous and dirty and not very pleasant. I knew I had to provide and protect my children from local danger of poor neighborhoods and feed, cloth, and provide housing for them. I also had to ensure they went to good schools and maybe a collage education or a skilled craftsman whatever. They also needed my daily attention and love. I did it because jobs were scarce reagonomic moved the entire manufacturing base of mining steel mills logging sand and gravel brick yards. The farms and cattle chicken and pig farms. Not to mention the small businesses downtown in all the small towns. Because they believed in outsourcing and large corporations over small family businesses. The whole rust belt collapsed. So I worked because my family came first. Not some fantasy to be a hero and overthrow the system. You people take to many movies as truth and risk you family future and maybe abject poverty. Why? Because your self delusional illusion of grandeur when most of you guys are failures in your life so far. The founding fathers were mostly educated and wealthy and successful in their lives. You are out smarted and your dangerous actions are dooming your children to a destroyed start in life. I get it. Things are not how you would want them to be. It is your group that needs to wake up. I truly feel for the children of these foolish men and I suspect the misfortune that has them so upset at the government is because their OWN choices in life. Not Washington DC

    • ghunt says:

      Apparently, you think that America was won from the British by those “politicos” that went to Philadelphia. You seem to forget the tens of thousands that die fighting the British, and those who wasted away o prison ships. For that matter, almost all who fought left family behind to, whether delusional or for grandeur, made the sacrifice that led to the founding of this once great nation.
      That, however, was not the end of it, it was simply the beginning. When the government, created by the Constitution, fails to abide by that which made them — regardless of the Supreme Court’s legislating from the bench, has led us on the same path that Jefferson spoke to in the Declaration of Independence.
      It appears that though you have objection to the system, (i.e. Reaganomics), but that you are content, as any good subject should be, to accept the status quo. With that in ind, if I were to observe your behavior, if it were 240 years ago, I would judge you to be, at least, a fence sitter, though more likely, a Tory.

  3. harold says:

    I am no Tory. Years of hard work and investing I am not oppressed by government. I can do anything I want to do in life. I believe in the Constitution and the government it gave us. There is coruption as there is everything. Including your movement and your church. That is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You work to better things. I see libertarians and communist as the same they believe in this perfect order and perfect society. Which is a fantasy. Even thomas Paine said government is a necessary evil because of flaws in mankind. So don’t think your ideas of government is going to be any different. What I see it would be a loose idea of thousand of regional groups with local warlords ruling your area. And as the founders found in the failures of The Article of Confederation. And I see that if you disagree with the existing government you believe it is YOUR and YOUR groups determination who will decide who and what is tyranny and you overthrow them with violent insurection. For freedom. Bull what I see is tyranny but who has bigger and more guns. Mob Rule. We have constitutnal ways of addressing problems And grievances And
    Not by your interpretation of a letter sent addressed personally to King George over their particulars of the moment. As revolution is NOT in the Constitution except as treason

  4. harold says:

    I am free as the founder required and promised

    • ghunt says:

      Who controls the schools that your children go, or went to? How many licenses do you have to do what free men should be able to do, of right? Where is the requisite
      Declaration of War” by the Congress? Or, have we left the lives of so many to the hands of one man? How much of your paycheck goes directly to taxation (income, sales, etc.)? And still, the country has a debt that stretches well beyond your great-grandchildren.

      “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  5. harold says:

    George washington sent th military after citizens for refusing to pay taxes. Was one of the founder unconstitutional? Why didnt the other oppose him? Alexa Dee Hamilton led the 12000 to western pa. Much more to things than you let your readers know. I think your movement starts with a hate governmen% then cherry pick Things to support your views

    • ghunt says:

      That was an Excise Tax. It was not a direct tax, and it was less than 2%, but there was no currency in circulation from which to pay the taxes, so their property was taken.
      So, I asked you, “how much of your paycheck goes directly to taxation?” You choose a rather obscure and irrelevant incident, totally without comparison to what I asked you, and you accuse me of cherry picking?
      You also failed to answer other questions that I asked. Perhaps the cherries were were too high in the tree.

  6. Sherry Briggs says:

    Very good article. I read the comments above by Herald and realized that he doesn’t know the freedoms he has lost or the Freedoms that our founding fathers talked about. The patriots thought of their children too, and experienced on a daily basis the freedoms that our founding fathers fought and died for being slowly taken away and they want better for their children. Remember. Cliven Bundy is one of the last ranchers standing out of 50 and the government wasn’t done with him yet with their strangle hold on his ranching. Harold is losing freedoms, but hasn’t experienced it on a higher scale unless it happens to him it doesn’t matter. Well alot of these patriots have gone through the “legal” channels to change things and their grievances went unanswered. Thank God that there are people who care about their neighbors and will take a stand. What happened to the Hammonds by our Federal Government should have never happened, if it happens to one American, it happens to us all.

  7. […] Outpost of Freedom » Blog Archive » Burns Chronicles No 24 – To Plea, or, Not To Plea says: August 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm […]

  8. […] contemplating the plea bargain, Gary Hunt at Outpost of Freedom, whom I have great respect for, presents several lines of thought and […]

  9. […] contemplating the plea bargain, Gary Hunt at Outpost of Freedom, whom I have great respect for, presents several lines of thought and […]

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