31 years ago last winter, a shootout between US Marshals and neo-Nazi tax protesters brought an avalanche of federal law-enforcement to rural North Dakota.
Even then, long before the rampant militarization of federal law enforcement, the feds stomped about the place like an occupying army:
The police – and, as I recall, a North Dakota National Guard armored personnel carrier – had surrounded the farmhouse. A dog darted from an outbuilding; a policeman shot the dog dead. The gunshot sparked more gunfire, and before long the farmhouse was completely riddled with bullet holes. Finally, the police moved in…
…to discover the farmhouse empty.
Now, there was a “happy” ending; the manhunt ended with Gordon Kahl and an associate dead, and his family and accomplices serving long jail terms.
But I’ve wondered over the years – what if that manhunt would have happened at a time when everyone had the ability to publish, and broadcast video, in real time?
Ditto controversial federal law enforcement actions like Waco?
In another era, Bundy would likely have been quietly run out of business and – literally – lost the farm. Now, thanks to his own efforts in reaching out and the participation of media watchers around the nation, along with volunteers who showed up to help, he and his family may actually get a fair hearing and a chance to keep what they have worked so long and so hard for. But, as I said above, this one will be developing for some time to come if I’m right.
If nothing else? Today, if the government wants to do things in the night and fog, it has to stay in the dark and fog to do it.
Which may be good news, or it may be bad…