After much public outcry, an arrest has finally been made in the terrorist occupation of public property by armed militants near Burns, Oregon. A 62-year-old misinformed man by the name of Kenneth Medenbach was arrested on charges of “suspicion of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.” As if things weren’t bad enough for the brain-addled wood carver, he was released pending charges of occupying federal land illegally on the condition that he not occupy any federal land in the future. Oops. And being caught driving around in a federally-owned vehicle reported as stolen is not one of the smarter things Medenbach has done. Two years ago, Medenbach was forced to vacate his business site when local town officials started enforcing solid waste disposal laws. Medenbach was not very good at keeping his property clean, which led to a settlement in which his landlords would agree to give up any hope of recovering the back rent he owed them if he would just leave their property. So he did.
It wasn’t the first time Medenbach had to leave his home. As he wrote in a Jan 28, 2014 Letter to the Editor:
I lost my job and got evicted from my house.
I’ve owned an acre of land in Crescent for about 10 years and decided to move there. It was either that or be homeless.
So I started clearing some areas and moving some storage sheds on the property, and then I saw these “Stop Work” signs on my storage sheds and the number of the Klamath County Code Enforcer. I called the Klamath County Code Enforcer, and he e-mailed to me the things I needed to do.
I found out I can’t do anything without a site plan review. I can’t even cut trees down to prevent a wildfire from going through my property.
I decided to do a little investigating, I googled in Klamath County Code. And one of the choices that popped up was Klamath Falls Land Use, Zoning and Planning lawyers. Some more investigating found a lawyer as a Klamath County Planning Commission member. Why?
Planning Commission members are volunteers. Lawyers don’t do anything for free. Then the light came on.
Confusing and strict county codes have to be passed, so bewildered citizens have to hire land use, zoning and planning lawyers. No doubt, a lawyer as a member of the Klamath County Planning Commission is there to pass as many ridiculous county codes as possible to keep lawyers employed and citizens of Klamath County broke or homeless.
While all that was going on, Medenbach was also trying to get his local state representative recalled for being a lawyer, and believing this was a conflict of interest. Having read his LTE above, one can begin to see that Medenbach does not grasp the role of government in our lives. As it turned out, out of the 4,980 signatures required to successfully get a recall petition on the ballot, Medenbach managed to file zero signatures. Apparently not even his own.
Medenbach is just one of many who believe in the sovereign citizen movement. These are dangerous people because they do not recognize the authority of the federal government (the very government that keeps them safe enough to protest the government keeping them safe) and they believe they have a right to use deadly force to defend themselves against any federal agent trying to deprive them of what they want, which is usually something they’re not legally entitled to have. Like our land. Medenbach once described himself to a newspaper reporter in 1997 as a Constitution Ranger. He’s never liked the government and even went to jail over a dispute over how he used his property. He feels that because he’s not allowed to accumulate junk on his property and build a “dream home” out of old refrigerators and water heaters, that the government is abusing its power and trampling his rights. (They’re not.) He doesn’t believe that building codes carry the weight of law. (They do.) He says, “The Constitution states simply that only the people can pass laws through the electorate.” (It doesn’t, and that doesn’t even make any sense since “the people” and “the electorate” are the same thing, and we don’t pass the laws.) He claims the federal government doesn’t have the right to own property. (It does.) Back then he said he refused to get a driver’s license because it was an infringement on his freedom. (It wasn’t.) BTW, I hope he changed his opinion on that before he was arrested for driving a stolen federal vehicle. At least back then he said he wanted the revolution to be non-violent. He said that eventually groups like his Constitution Rangers would appeal to the mainstream of American citizens. (They don’t.) And neither do his friends illegally occupying our wildlife refuge.
This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Ken Medenbach, the dangerous sovereign citizen movement, the actual US Constitution or anything else you want.