Isn’t it wonderful that we live in Oregon where we can kill an innocent unborn baby and give a person all the tools they need to help them end their own life, but if we burn up a sagebrush we will be hit with a stiff jail sentence. Our federal judges call it domestic terrorism to burn sagebrush on federal land, except when the government does it.

I’m a 79-year-old rancher and I’ve been trying to get rid of sagebrush all my life by every method imaginable, including fire, and if sometimes I was successful, the grass and forage came back so much better.

How many times have we watched the federal firefighters run the locals off of a small fire that they had under control and they do backfires and with their inaction, generate it into a fire that would burn for weeks. How many times did their backfires burn up private ground and livestock?

So why is the federal government so insistent on making an example out of the Hammond family? They did their time and are paying the price. Why are they so dogged and relentless in spending so much time and money in trying to continue to persecute one family? Could it have anything to do with a water right case the Feds lost to the Hammonds a few years back, and they are trying to get revenge? Could it be the Feds covet the Hammonds’ property next door to the refuge and on Steens Mountain? The government has deep pockets when they go after private citizens and it makes one wonder why they want to extend their authority so hard on one single family.

I’ve known the Hammond family since they moved to Frenchglen and Diamond about 50 years ago, and they are good, honest people and certainly not terrorists. We need to ask ourselves why the federal government is releasing thousands of convicted felons and are so relentless in trying to send one of our hard-working, tax-paying neighbors to jail, especially after they have already served their time. Why aren’t our congressmen looking into this travesty of the government taking away their BLM permits and trying to steal their property?

I’m wondering how you would feel, whether government worker or private citizen, to be hung twice for the same crime, to justify the federal government stealing your property.

Help me make some sense of all this.

Jerry Miller

Crane, Ore.

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