First Shots of Second American Civil War Could be Fired in Coming Weeks

The year is off to a tense start as a large contingent of militiamen occupy a federal refuge in the US state of Oregon. The New York Times reports that: "The building seized by the group houses the offices of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and is operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service."

The move was promoted by renegade rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons, and started as a peaceful protest in defense of Dwight and Steve Hammond, a father and son duo convicted of arson and sent to federal prison. The conviction of the Hammond duo was controversial because they burned their land "to stop invasive plants from growing onto their grazing fields, but the fires spread to federal land. They were convicted and served time in prison, but a judge ruled they must return to prison to serve more time."

Bundy ranch standoff.
It appears that a takeover of the Fish and Wildlife building may have been planned for some time.
In legal terms, the takeover of a federal building by two or more persons constitutes seditious conspiracy under 18 U.S. Code § 2384: "If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both."

We're about a month away from the Iowa Caucus and how Donald Trump reacts to this situation could determine the extent to which violence could be seen in the United States in 2016. In an interview with conspiracy-theory media magnate Alex Jones -- based in his self-proclaimed "Central Texas" command center -- Jones told Trump that he had 90% of the support of his listeners. 

In return, Donald Trump told Alex Jones: "Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down."

It appears that most of the commenters on Infowars -- Alex Jones' website -- support the takeover of this building, claiming that the prosecution of the Hammond duo was "tyrannical." One commenter wrote: "When we take this country back, the Bundy Ranch will be remembered by history as the place where it all started!" Another top commenter wrote: "This is long overdue. George Washington would have started the war long ago." Others claimed to be former military, and alleged to be nearby, ready to join the revolt.

If Mr. Trump were to repudiate this seditious conspiracy, he could risk alienating his base. I predict that Trump will try to remain neutral on this occupation for as long as possible, waiting to see how things evolve. 

The protest before the siege
If the federal government is not able to peacefully remove the militiamen from the Fish and Wildlife area, it could escalate to a Waco-style invasion, with agents from the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms along with DHS and FBI agents setting everything on fire and shooting anyone escaping the flames. The images will certainly polarize the nation, and whoever stands on the ashes and speaks to the nation could set off a chain reaction, leading to seditious conspiracies sprouting all throughout the nation. 

The Department of Homeland Security has been preparing for a right-wing insurrection for quite some time now. 2016 looks ready to test their preparedness.