Terrorism Vs. Armed Civil Disobedience -- Related but Different Concepts

(posted 1/5/2016) - An op-ed in this month's The Atlantic, by Conor Friedersdorf intitled "Oregon and the Injustice of Mandatory Minimums" made me stop and think about human "tribalism" and how we all view events through ideological filters.

Conor argues two points: First, that it is wrong to call someone a terrorist for occupying a building. Occupying a property is an act of civil disobedience. Terrorists take humans hostage, or kill them, or blow up buildings, they don't occupy buildings to make a point.

Second, both Team Red (Conservatives) and Team Blue (Liberals) in this case should agree that the Federal Minimum Sentence (5 years) for the fires the Hammonds set on their own property is disproportionate to their crime. The father and son were charged under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, a rather bizarre application of that statute by a federal prosecutor to the actual case context.

Here's the link to The Atlantic article. Friedersdorf made me rethink my knee-jerk inclination towards wishing these armed occupiers would just go away (or be disposed of Ruby Ridge style).

The building occupation is an inappropriate response to a real issue (mandatory mimimum sentences). Teams Red and Blue can agree in this instance that the sentence is too severe. There are way too many inmates serving decades of extra time due to these mandatory minimums (which prevent judges from using sentencing discretion based on context).