Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, who became a cause célèbre in many circles on the right after he led a lengthy armed standoff with Obama administration officials on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, made waves in a recent Facebook Live video when he said that he recently planned to attend a Black Lives Matter rally in order to show support for defunding the police.
In the video, Bundy starts by saying that he is disappointed in some of his followers, who call themselves “Patriots,” because “Really, they don’t want freedom, in my view. They want division. They want to hate somebody, or a group of people.”
He went on to claim that people across the country had sent him “terrible messages or basically just disowned me because I simply was going to go to a rally for the Black Lives Matter in support of defunding the police. Because yes, the police need to be defunded.
“And anybody who don’t understand that is just somehow … must be … I mean, I’m trying not to be too pointed here, but must have a problem,” he continued. “You must have a problem in your mind if you think somehow the Black Lives Matter is more dangerous than the police. You must have a problem in your mind.
“If you think Antifa is the one going to take your freedom, you must have a problem in your mind. You must be thinking … you must be hypnotized by these social media code words or by conservative talk show hosts,” Bundy said.
According to Bundy, police “become a huge, authoritarian bureaucracy that will be the people that take away our liberty. They will be ones to do that. And the only way to stop them is people uniting to stop them.”
Following significant blowback from commenters on his video, Bundy released a subsequent post in which he attempted to clarify some of his thinking.
In the post, he explained that one of the reasons that he wanted to attend a BLM rally was because “My friend, Lavoy Finicum, an innocent man, was killed by abusive police.” Finicum was shot and killed by FBI agents who were attempting to arrest him during the 2016 standoff.
He also explained that, “I am not in favor of abolishing the police, but I am in favor of minimizing their power.”
According to Bundy, “Law enforcement is a necessary element of a free and civil society and I am wholeheartedly in favor of having a law-abiding peacekeeping force that ensures the peace and safety of its citizens. … What I want is what most rational and free-thinking people want — I want freedom to live the life that I want without fear of my government oppressing me or physically assaulting me. Patriots want that. And guess what, many people within the BLM movement just want the same thing. They’re not all communists.”