- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of the Bundy family, said Tuesday the arrests of his two sons and a shootout between federal authorities and armed militia members who had been occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge was a “wake up call.”

“This will be a wake up call to America,” Mr. Bundy said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This whole battle is over a constitutional issue where the federal government has no rights within the state or at least rights in a sovereign state.”

He added that the situation was a “total disaster to be happening in America where we have I’m guessing federal people killing innocent people.”

Mr. Bundy’s sons, Ryan and Ammon, led a group of armed “patriots” occupying the the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The group was protesting federal land grabs and the arrests of two ranchers charged with committing arson.

The monthlong occupation, which began Jan. 2, came to a halt on Tuesday when authorities pulled over some of the occupants who were headed to a community meeting. The confrontation escalated into a shootout, although it is not clear who fired first.

One of the militia members, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was killed in the standoff. Ryan Bundy was shot in the arm, but he recovered.

SEE ALSO: Oregon: 1 dead, Bundy brothers arrested as standoff ends with gunfire

“Isn’t it a wonderful country we live in?” Cliven Bundy said sarcastically in reference to Mr. Finicum’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We believe that those federal people shouldn’t even be there in that state, and be in that county and have anything to do with this issue. … I have some sons and other people there trying to protect our rights and liberties and freedoms, and now we’ve got one killed, and all I can say is, he’s sacrificed for a good purpose,” Mr. Bundy said, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He also told the Review-Journal that his sons were in Oregon to “do good. No harm was intended. They would never threaten anybody.”

Mr. Bundy made headlines with another standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents in 2014 over his failure to pay grazing fees. During the standoff, militia members aimed weapons at federal agents who threatened to enforce grazing laws by rounding up Mr. Bundy’s cattle.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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