So what motivates a bunch of folks from out of state to head out to eastern Oregon and occupy a visitor center at one of our wildlife refuges? Part of the rationale is likely to be found here:
The lands in the American West were promised to the people, and for over a century, that promise was kept. Then Congress welched on the deal:
Abraham Lincoln signed the Homesteading Act into law in May of 1862, and the above stamp celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the Act. All was well and good, but then professional environmeddlists got involved, and within the next decade and a half, they'd paid and persuaded Congress to renege on the century-old promise to the American people.
In 1976, the Homestead Act was officially repealed everywhere but Alaska, and control of public lands was returned to the federal government, who began to manage it for a number of purposes–recreation, conservation, mining, and grazing, to name a few.
And the revolving door between environmeddle lobbyists and Bureau "managers" began to rotate in earnest, as "managers" hired the lobbyists, then left to take jobs as lobbyists for environmeddle organizations, and vice-versa. These incestuous relationships were bad enough, coming as they did on the heels of Congressional betrayal; people were specifically promised a claim to the lands of the West, and that promise was broken. And then came the inevitable tsunamis of regulations written by D.C. bureaucrats, mounting fees, and then the repeated incarceration of a pair of ranchers on what many believe were trumped-up charges.
Bingo: folks, we have a firestorm. Brought to you by Congress and the federal government - and completely avoidable. Some of us can understand why the Bundy boys and their compadres are upset even as we disagree with their chosen approach.