I’ve had mixed emotions today over what transpired on Hwy 395 last night. The leaders of the armed militia group have been taken into custody, unfortunately one of them was hell bent on dying in Oregon. He vowed to take his last breathe here. I feel sorry for his wife and his children. I feel sorry for the person who pulled the trigger when the man, who seemed to want nothing more than to die for the cause he believed in, rushed at them because he would rather bleed to death than go to jail.
I realized today that it was like they had taken Oregon hostage. Why they decided to fight in our backyard and not their own I will probably never know.
My heart aches for the people who live in the communities of Harney County. I cannot imagine what their life has been like for the last three weeks, when these people, most of which are not from Oregon, decided to take over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge buildings.
I live in a small town in NE Oregon. I love my community. I have wonderful friends here, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have different ideas of how things should be compared to my neighbors and friends, and that is okay. We go to the same functions, attend bar-b-ques together, care about the same people, and our discussions about our differences of opinion are few and far between, but we’ve never had to face what the people in Harney County are facing. We haven’t had armed people camping in our backyard. We haven’t had to voice our opinions and our support for or against a group of people that are trying to make a stand for what they believe in. I can’t imagine the sleepless nights, the stress of having armed men, on both sides of the law, traipsing about town, the harassment of towns people who just want the occupiers to go back to their own home towns, and the heated discussions that have taken place on all sides of the issues that lead up to the occupation in the first place.
My hope is that once this is over the people from Harney County and the surrounding areas can go back to the way of life they know and love. I hope friendships heal, I hope the stress slips away, I hope they will continue to feel proud that they live in Eastern Oregon, and I hope they know how many of us on this side of the state have worried and prayed for their safety. And above all else I wish them the peace that comes from living in Eastern Oregon. The peace that surrounds us with a cool evening breeze after a hot summer day. The peace that comes from the beauty we see each and every day. The peace of knowing that through it all we have friends that are still standing by our side.
My prayers are with you Harney County. May you be safe, may you be strong, may you soon find peace.