Ammon Bundy and his band of domestic terrorists have been illegally occupying federal property for 12 days, and the bills are adding up.
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Since January 2, Ammon Bundy and his not-so-merry band of militiamen/domestic terrorists (they deny both labels) have been occupying a federal installation outside Burns, Oregon. In addition to breaking into a federal building and taking it over, they've cost the county's children a week without school, forced the closing of the county courthouse and several other area federal buildings, and, out of safety concerns, forced some small businesses to close.
This week, the Bundy group destroyed a fence separating the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where they are camped out, and a local rancher. Bundy claims the rancher asked for them to remove what has been reported as 20 to 30 yards of barbed wire fence," the rancher disputes that claim.
"I am very upset," rancher Tim Puckett told The Oregonian, which labeled the destruction a "stunt." Puckett says, "They didn't have my permission to do anything."
Meanwhile, at what have become regular town meetings, Monday night one brave 15-year old spoke out and received a standing ovation.
"Being here with all this — honestly has scared me, and it shouldn't. I shouldn't have to be scared in my own hometown," the young woman, holding back tears, bravely told local residents. Bundy was not there, but it was a message sent to him too.
At that meeting, a local judge estimated the cost to the county of the Bundy's occupation at $60,000 to $75,000 each day, and said they should "send Mr. Bundy an invoice when all this is through."
ThinkProgress on Tuesday took that figure and added in all the other costs Ammon Bundy and his group have created for locals, the county, and the federal government.
"$70,000 in security costs and closed schools. $23,400 in federal salaries. $40,000 a day lost in recreation dollars," Laurel Raymond and Jenny Rowland write at ThinkProgress. "The cost of the nine-day takeover adds up to roughly $1,200,600. Each additional day adds $133,400 to the total, and for the beleaguered Harney county, there’s no end in sight."
Our figures are a bit different, given the takeover began on January 2, the siege has now been 12 days, and that puts the estimate at over $1.6 million. Whatever the real numbers are, there little chance Ammon Bundy will ever pay the bill, and there's no chance the emotional costs the people of Harney County have endured will ever be satisfied.
Image by Simone Del Rosario via Twitter