The Oregon militia standoff in late 2015 and into early 2016 showed how the government can push too far in its demands on people, while simultaneously exposing exactly how not to handle what you perceive as overreach by the feds. Whether you side with the ranchers or not, it has always been fairly clear that they were on the wrong side of the law with their steadfast refusal to pay for land that they used. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have a few valid arguments, however, regarding their perception of how land management is handled in the west. Where their arguments get a little off track is when they begin attempting to sue the federal government for $666,666,666,666.666 for doing the devil’s work.
Shawna Cox is one of the members of the Oregon militia, many of whom have been dispersed or arrested. She was one of the members of the group who occupied a federal building as a means of protesting fines and fees against ranchers who used federal land. She also believes that the federal government only came after the group because they are somehow being controlled by a mythological character from an ancient religion.
In an eight page complaint, she rants and raves against the corruption of the federal government, accusing it of fraud and deceit, among other things, as well as arguing that it has caused her irreparable harm. If she is claiming mental instability as part of that harm then this letter is almost certainly proof of that alone. If, however, she is claiming more concrete damages she has a snowball’s chance in hell, as violating the law in such a grandiose and visible fashion, then getting released, are generally not grounds for a lawsuit.
Cox claims that the occupation of the federal building was a form of adverse possession, a form of acquiring land through real estate law by using it over a period of time and improving it under certain guidelines. What adverse possession is not, however, is invading a building and annexing it as if it was Crimea or a widow’s home for a limo parking lot.
So while it seems that Cox will not get very far with this lawsuit, her history with the Oregon militia shows that she is less interested in results as she is in making an impotent statement. Once again she is choosing a way that is less likely to gather sympathy, and more likely to show how far off the reservation people who feel entitled to freebies from the government is, be it land use, a federal building, or a ridiculously obtuse sum of cash.
You can read her full complaint here, if you dare risk your sanity.