Would a handful of people with picket signs in Burns, Oregon have attracted any attention at all? I doubt it. That said, Bundy is a moron who is trying to conflate his self-interest with the outright bullshit that was force upon the Hammonds by the BLM and the dept of justice. The Hammonds should absolutely be freed from jail. This was clearly done to ruin the hammonds, who plea-bargained for the shorter sentences by allowing the BLM to have first right of refusal on the sale of their property.
The BLM should also have some of it's employees jailed. They set wildfires all the time, and have killed hundreds of cattle and destroyed thousands of acres of private land. They diverted water to flood out ranchers who refused their low-ball offers for their land.
As someone who grew up on the ranch, I can attest to the thug tactics used by the DFW and BLM when trying to land-grab. Examples: a neighbor made his property a nature refuge for birds and frogs. Fine, that's his right to make his land worthless. Unfortunately, that swamp extends onto our ranch. He tried first to build a dam, but that would have flooded out half of OUR field. He then called in the DFW. An ARMED official trespassed on our property, and started painting lines to build a fence to keep our cattle off of the swamp as it existed. We made a stink to the local DFW and threatened legal action, and they didn't come back... but were told in no uncertain terms that it didn't matter if it was private property, if they wanted to annex it into the refuge that there was little we could do about it. I think this was a bluff, but they do have this attitude that they're above property rights. We have had cattle on this land for decades, and the swamp was just fine.
Another example, a few years later. we have two creeks that border a field, and join together at one corner of it. in 1996, the creeks flooded and joined in the middle, leaving a mud puddle about 10 inches deep and covering about 1 acre, dead nuts in the middle of the field. Another DFW trespasser came on our property, trying to claim that the entire field was 'clearly a wetland' and we needed to get our cattle off it. Never mind that there was green grass under the water, and the rivers were normally about 10 feet below the grade of the field.
A neighbor has about 1000 acres of timber he planted about 40 or 50 years ago, to harvest as his retirement fund. It borders BLM land. He applies for the permit to start cashing in, and low and behold, he's denied. Apparently, a BLM employee said there are 'dozens' of spotted owls nesting on the property. First off, what is a BLM employee doing on his property? He appeals to the forestry department, tells them to come out and show him. He spends a lot of time on this land, and knows there aren't any. He, and the USDA official go to meet them at the gate bordering BLM land. The BLM guys were already there, and refuse to point out the nest locations. They have some guy there, who holds out a dead mouse, and a spotted owl swoops down and grabs it, and fly's off to a branch nearby. What wild owl would do that? in broad daylight no less. They have a TRAINED goddamned owl they use to lock up timber bordering BLM land.
The USDA official smelled the rat, and sand "So, while you can't harvest timber within a certain distance of a spotted owl nest, you can fall a spotted owl nested tree for firewood. Make of that what you will." So he did. Turns out this nest was built with nails and sawed wood. Crafty fucking owl.
Those who live in the city don't see this stuff, but it happens ALL the time. If you had multi generation farmland, and some wormy desk rider bitch came and told you to fence it off and sniveled something about "usufructory rights" and 'sustainable land use,' you'd be pissed too. Especially when these farmers have proven to be better stewards of the land than the feds anyway.