David Rupkalvis

Last week, I received an email from my wife’s aunt asking if I could write some stories on what is happening in Oregon? I politely refused, pointing out my papers try to focus completely on our local communities — Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Catalina Foothills and greater Pima County.

Then I read two stories, one reporting a Tucson man was part of the group that took over a vacant government building and a second saying more Tucsonans were heading to Oregon to bring supplies to the men holed up in the Oregon wilderness.

So, I am willing to share my thoughts, although I doubt my view will match that of Aunt Marie.

I think the federal government has gone overboard through the years in an effort to acquire land owned by the two ranchers in the middle of the case. Some of the steps just went too far. I think the federal government probably abused its power when it appealed the sentence the men received after being convicted of arson in events that were clearly not intentional efforts to break the law.

But having said that, I have no sympathy for the men who showed up heavily armed to defend the two ranchers. My primary reason is the two ranchers heading to jail don’t want them there.

Many of these same people were involved in 2014 when a Nevada rancher got into a dispute with the federal government over land. At the time, I had a little more sympathy for the men because they were welcomed by that rancher.

In Oregon, the two ranchers facing prison time have made it very clear they didn’t ask anyone to show up for support, they want no armed supporters and they want nothing to do with the people now holed up.

I agree there are constitutional fights that could be made daily about government over grab, but why this one, why now and why in Oregon. If the men facing prison time don’t want you there, pick a fight somewhere else.

I also think the federal government has to do something to the people involved. In Nevada, the men who stared down government employees with the barrel of a gun walked away without any consequence. Maybe they didn’t break the law.

But in Oregon, it’s clear that taking over a government building, even one that was empty, is a crime. And in our system, crimes must have consequences. Anyone who supports the U.S. Constitution would have to recognize that. If this ends with nothing happening to the instigators, it will only embolden them.

I am a big fan of the U.S. Constitution. I personally believe the federal government and the courts have strayed way away from whay the document actually says and what it was intended to be.

The founders of our nation wanted a small federal government with very limited powers. We now have a massive beauracracy with almost unlimited power. I understand the frustration these men feel. I get it that they want to start a fight. But there’s a way to do that. And going in with high-powered weapons and violating the law is not that way.

As Americans, we don’t get to pick and choose which laws we like. We have the authority to run for office or elect those of our choosing to make laws we like. That’s the system. If you don’t like what is being done in Washington D.C., follow the steps of Kelli Ward and run for office. That’s how things are changed. One person putting themselves out there and millions of people casting one ballot at a time.

(1) comment


You really should stick to stenography and not opine about American history and the development of Constitutional Law. This opinion piece offers no support for the position it takes, but instead gives us a cramped personal view of the U.S. Constitution and the supposed "overreach" by the Federal Government. What is the basis for these broad-brushed statements? Your reference to the founders purports that they wanted a "small federal government with very limited powers" -- How do you know? Or is that just what you heard from the "Oathtakers"?

You claim we now have a "massive bureaucracy with almost unlimited power" is based on what? Unlimited power. Really? How so? Support that statement with well-informed examples. Our massive civil bureaucracy pales in comparison to our uber massive military in terms of the federal budget, doesn't it? Discussion and questions about the right size of government are important and require more than just broad-brush, sweeping generalizations that play to particular audiences.

Really, your time would be better spent working on headline writing for the Explorer.

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