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  • Courtesy Malheur Wildlife Refuge

While the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge by self-described "patriot militiamen" has been either a source of ridicule, or forcing a debate on federal land use, Travis Longcore—an urban ecologist and professor at USC—has written an illuminating (and infuriating) piece for Medium on how the Bundy's attack on the federal government is actually much more. It's an attack on science. From "I Stand with LInda Sue Beck: The Attack on Science at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge."

Linda Sue Beck. It is at her desk that Ammon Bundy, leader of the group of armed anti-government religious fanatics occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, has set up shop. As a federal biologist, like my father was for decades, she works to steward the resources that are held in common trust for all Americans. My stomach turned as the report came through the radio today — approaching a week into the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — and I heard the descriptions of the Bundys picking through her belongings and ridiculing her work.

“She’s not here working for the people,” Ammon’s brother Ryan is quoted as saying. “She’s not benefiting America. She’s part of what’s destroying America.”

The occupiers of the refuge poke fun at Beck, her research on fish, and the normal trappings of a research station, including a dried bird in a storage area. They incredulously claim that the bird is “what they’re going to kill people over.” Presumably “they” is the federal government, and they mean to convey that Nature — the birds, the fish, the land — has no use or value.

This story is a must-read. So read it all here.

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