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“But there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored”

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One of the top candidates for national monument status as the Obama administration ends is Bears Ears, in Utah. It seems like a really neat and endangered place. Neat because it is beautiful and filled with amazing Native American archaeology. Endangered because Cliven Bundy types are going in there are raising hell, looting sites. They are also threatening armed resistance to a national monument.

But some lawmakers have suggested that unilateral action by the president, under the 1906 Antiquities Act, could provoke the same sort of resistance that led to the 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year.

“There is a lot of conflict that has escalated into being on the precipice of violence that is unnecessary and unwarranted,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who opposes the designation.

But it’s Orrin Hatch providing the real leadership here.

“I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the veteran Republican lawmaker, said in an interview.

Oh, well, violence is completely unjustified unless the federal government does exactly what we want. If they don’t, well, those deeply held positions just can’t be ignored, so fire away!

I actually do worry that the creation of the monument will lead to hate looting, just to do it, by the good people of Utah. Not that I don’t think Obama shouldn’t name the monument. I do believe he will, in part because it is supported by most of the Native American population. But don’t underestimate what Bundy types will do in order to preserve their tradition of looting the West for private interests.

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