Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oregon standoff: Canceled meeting is latest casualty of online discord

Fears about firearms and blockades that originated on the Internet prompted the cancellation of a public meeting Monday night, the latest example of online threats and information that have stoked discord in this eastern Oregon community. The meeting would have been the third in a series of weekly gatherings organized by Harney County in the wake of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Last week, frustrations boiled over in the Burns High School gymnasium as takeover leader Ammon Bundy made an appearance and residents started shouting at him, their elected officials and each other. Harney County commission chairman Steve Grasty decided this week to move the meeting to the smaller Harney County Senior Center after school administrators expressed concerns about guns on campus. He reminded residents of the senior center's ban on firearms and said entry would require a ticket because of limited space. County residents could get the tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. Thirty of the 150 tickets would be set aside for "invited guests," Grasty said, including elected officials and the Harney County Committee of Safety, a group formed at Bundy's urging before the Jan. 2 refuge occupation. But online backlash to the arrangement – including, Grasty said, plans to "blockade the doors" and at least one "pointed" call for gun owners to bring their weapons – led Grasty to shelve the meeting...more

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