Our message is being distorted and mischaracterized. “Reports in the media have tried to portray myself and others as gun toting militants with a death wish. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have no death wish. The truth is that we are husbands, fathers, grandfathers, productive members of society. I have been a rancher my whole life. My family has been working to produce beef for this nation for over 100 years. I simply love liberty and freedom.”
Because of our concerns about how we and our objectives have been portrayed, we won’t be saying anything else about our objectives and message until tomorrow, when it will be our intention to have an expanded press conference to clarify and refocus on what this is all about.
In the meantime, “we want to clarify that we share any and all concerns about safety for everyone involved, including ourselves, our families, the public, and law enforcement officers. All lives are important to us. Ultimately, we want everyone involved to be able to return safely to their homes and families. Our concern about safety is one of reasons why we chose this remote location. The only reason there are any arms or security here is because we are concerned about our own safety. It is unfortunate that we need to rely on our Second Amendment rights to exercise our First Amendment rights. “This is and always has been intended to be a peaceful protest and occupation of our public lands.” It’s our version of Occupy Wall Street. Although this has been characterized as a “federal building,” it is public land. We are part of the public. The entrance sign to this facility says “Welcome to Your National Wildlife Refuge.” We take that seriously. “We believe we have a right to be here for peaceful purposes. But we believe we are entitled to be safe, and we know that we are the only ones who can guarantee our own safety.”
We won’t have any more to say until tomorrow.