A Community Conversation /
Opposing Violent Means to Political Ends

On Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at WNMU / Global Resource Center, Gila Resources Information Project and Gila / Mimbres Community Radio / KURU 89.1 FM presented a Community Conversation…

Opposing Violent Means to Political Ends:
Will Silver City be the Next Burns, Oregon?

During the recent armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, supporters carrying firearms roamed the streets of nearby Burns, Oregon.  Fearing violence, Burns residents closed schools and cancelled community meetings.  A Grant County, New Mexico rancher renounced his grazing permit at a news conference during the armed takeover.

The Malheur takeover began as a protest against the sentencing of local ranchers for their conviction on charges of arson on federal lands.  The protesters – mostly from out of state – brandished firearms and traveled to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge where they presented a list of demands.  This resulted in a multi-week siege that disrupted the lives of the residents of Burns and Harney County, as dozens of takeover supporters with weapons roamed the streets.  Schools were closed, public meetings were cancelled, and a shadow of fear about potential armed violence fell upon this rural community.  Feeling that their own resources were overwhelmed, local authorities requested assistance from the FBI and other jurisdictions.  The social, fiscal, and legal impacts were felt immediately and will continue to affect local residents well into the future.

Grant County rancher Adrian Sewell renounced his grazing permit at a news conference during the armed takeover at Malheur – Sewell Renunciation Letter. With the imminent expiration of Adrian Sewell’s existing grazing permit, community concerns are heightened about the potential use of violence and a repetition here in Grant County of the sort of armed confrontation that occurred in Burns.  The Grant County Sheriff is investigating reports of armed men stopping motorists and questioning them on the road leading to the Sewell ranch.  While these men have not been identified, the question has been raised that they may be the vanguard of other out of state militia types.

Moderated by Jamie Newton, host of Gila / Mimbres Community Radio’s Civil Discourse, the panel consisted of stakeholders with a range of perspectives on the potential impacts of the use of violence here in Grant County.

The panelists were:

  • Raul Villaneuva, Grant County Sheriff – public safety
  • Jason Amaro, NM Wildlife Federation board – sportsmen and recreation
  • Linda Brewer, owner of Bear Mountain Lodge – tourism
  • Cissy McAndrew, owner of SilverCityTour – business
  • Kierán Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity – recently returned from Burns, Oregon

In his remarks after the takeover ended, Sheriff Dave Ward of Harney County noted newly recognized divisions within the community. He encouraged residents to talk through complex issues at the core of the occupation rather than stay silent, according to a news account – Oregon Public Broadcasting (http://www NULL.opb NULL.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/community-reactions-malheur-refuge-occupation-end/).

Additional information…

  • Sewell Renunciation Pledge
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting
    (http://www NULL.opb NULL.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/community-reactions-malheur-refuge-occupation-end/)
    Comments of Harney County Sheriff, Dave Ward at the end of the siege
  • Silver City Sun-News (http://www NULL.scsun-news NULL.com/story/news/2016/02/15/community-conversation-violence-and-politics-held-tuesday/80403060/) / 15 February 2016
  • Silver City Daily Press editorial / 16 February 2016
  • Silver City Daily Press article (http://scdailypress NULL.com/site/2016/02/17/lively-debate-at-public-lands-panel/) / 17 February 2016
  • GMCR / KURU response to the SCDP editorial
    Delivered to SCDP 17 February 2016 / Printed 21 February 2016
  • Grant County Beat article 1 (http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/news/news-articles/27316-community-conversation-violent-means-to-political-ends-will-silver-city-be-the-next-burns-oregon-part-1) / 18 February 2016
  • Grant County Beat article 2 (http://www NULL.grantcountybeat NULL.com/news/news-articles/27349-part-two-of-community-conversation-violent-means-to-political-ends-will-silver-city-be-the-next-burns-oregon) / 21 February 2016

Opposing Violent Means to Political Ends was broadcast

  • Monday 22 February 2016 / 2pm
  • Tuesday 23 February 2016 / 2pm
  • Thursday 25 February 2016 / 2pm

You can listen at your convenience via this link…
A Community Conversation / Opposing Violent Means to Political Ends

Times of comments by individuals are listed below…

  • 0:00:00 – Community Conversation introduction by moderator Jamie Newton
  • 0:05:30 – Introduction of panelists by Jamie Newton
  • 0:08:49 – Panelist Kieran Suckling / Center for Biological Diversity
  • 0:22:26 – Panelist Cissy McAndrew / SilverCityTour.com
  • 0:27:02 – Panelist Linda Brewer / Bear Mountain Lodge
  • 0:29:53 – Panelist Jason Amaro / NM Wildlife Federation
  • 0:37:14 – Panelist Raul Villanueva / Grant County Sheriff
  • 0:39:51 – Audience comments process by Jamie Newton
  • 0:42:17 – Shelby Hallmark
  • 0:43:13 – Hugh McKeen
  • 0:49:18 – Kieran Suckling
  • 0:51:10 – Hueteotl Lopez
  • 0:54:24 – Ben Zaslow
  • 0:58:53 – Raul Villanueva
  • 1:00:36 – Melissa
  • 1:05:16 – Jason Amaro
  • 1:07:57 – Randy Peck
  • 1:09:07 – Cissy McAndrew
  • 1:09:44 – Kieran Suckling
  • 1:11:36 – Jane Foraker-Thompson
  • 1:15:00 – Jason Amaro
  • 1:15:34 – Lynda Aiman-Smith
  • 1:18:23 – Raul Villanueva
  • 1:20:19 – Tom Klumker
  • 1:25:05 – Kieran Suckling
  • 1:27:33 – Jason Amaro
  • 1:29:40 – Greg Shane
  • 1:33:39 – Tristan Sevedra
  • 1:34:08 – Raul Villanueva
  • 1:35:58 – Sky Fisher
  • 1:36:42 – Cissy McAndrew
  • 1:37:25 – Jason Amaro
  • 1:39:03 – JC Nelson
  • 1:39:55 – Don Luhrsen
  • 1:43:07 – Mike Fugagli
  • 1:45:54 – Carolyn Nelson
  • 1:49:49 – Mike Sauber
  • 1:51:40 – Goodnight!
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