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‘I Still Don’t Believe It’: Hammond Family Feels Forgotten In Oregon Standoff

Hammond family


This article comes from The Guardian

by Sam Levin

As the occupation in their name fuels a media circus, Susie Hammond’s husband and son are 800 miles away – victims, many say, of an unjust prosecution.

When Susie Hammond talks to her husband Dwight on the phone, the short calls are often filled with moments of silence. Dwight, who celebrated his 74th birthday on Wednesday, is locked up in a federal prison in southern California, more than 800 miles from his home in Harney County, eastern Oregon.

“He can’t hear very good on the phone,” said Susie, 74, sitting in the living room of her house on a snow-covered street in the small town of Burns.

Because neither wants to upset each other, they do not discuss their struggles.

“If he thinks I’m going to be worried about him, he doesn’t talk about it,” said Susie, her eyes welling with tears. “I do the same. So there’s kind of dead time on the line. It’s very hard.”

Two weeks ago, Dwight and Susie’s son Steven, 46, began a five-year prison sentence for arson offenses prosecutors said the two ranchers committed on federal land. Their imprisonment inspired an armed militia of rightwing activists, most from outside Oregon, to storm a federal wildlife refuge in protest of government land-use regulations and the treatment of the Hammonds.

The occupation of the Malheur national wildlife refuge has continued to make international headlines and create divisions among the residents of rural Harney County. With the occupation entering its third week with no end in sight, trivial controversies, political spats, arrivals of armed “patriot” groups and bizarre publicity stunts have dominated local and national news.

Largely left behind in the media circus is a locally beloved ranching family torn apart by a prosecution commentators across the political spectrum say was cruel and unjust.

“I still don’t believe it,” Susie Hammond said, adding that she refuses to accept the idea that her husband of 56 years and her youngest son could now spend half a decade behind bars. “We just go day by day.”

Close friends of the Hammonds – some of whom grew up alongside Steven and have been neighbors for decades – say they have done everything they can to keep the spotlight on the father and son locked up in federal correctional institution.

But the cries for freedom for the Hammonds have sometimes been almost entirely absent from press events of militia leader Ammon Bundy and the news reports that follow.

Read more here.


Shorty Dawkins



  1. Ammon is getting evidence of corruption together and has media covering this. This is anything but a circus.Suzie Hammond was on Fox business with Lou Dobbs, because Ammon got the media’s attention.

  2. The Hammond’s distanced themselves from the stand-off because they were threatened by the Feds with harsh treatment for the wrongly imprisoned men.You cannot be the focus of attention and at a distance but the guys at the refuge continue to bring up the plight of the Hammond men, it is the media who want to turn this into another excuse to WACO the lot of them.

    1. I am so glad to see folks coming out and fighting our loud about this….Plz keep on keeping on….I am you will see me at joanie kahl FB and many posts even on hateful pages……I sent the Hammond a card in prison but don’t know if they got it…..this is DAY 15 I believe they have been in that place…

  3. I have not forgotten the Hammond’s and their struggle!! I am praying for true justice for them. My husband and I find the whole situation unnerving and unjust. The government is full of “untouchables” that need to be touched with an iron fist!!

  4. Thank you for taking time to comment….to me the corruption is obvious….burning animals alive because someone in Washington the BLM director told you to … It is criminal in every state in the Union…. where is the media that will air many times a day a fireman rescuing a kitty.?? strangely silent except to use the race card, the gun card the camo jacket card…are those more serious than burning animals alive in front of witnesses….The media had no interest in following up with witnesses who sof burning up trusting grazing cattle and listening to their painful bawls ……..this will always be held against the BLM director by me. ….Ban the BLM Dismantle the BLM now…….

  5. I read the article posted in the Guardian. Sadly, not much sympathy from the ” comment ” section. People don’t realize that it won’t take much to end up being a ” terrorist “. My 93 year old mother just got locked out of her P.O. Box at the post-office, a box she has had for 30 years. Under the Dept of Homeland Security and Patriot Act she is being forced to provide personal information( SS#), proof of residence, drivers license and picture ID, and homeowners insurance information. Privacy and liberty are on a collision course; and if California’s Brown gets his way most of us legal gun owners will be felons. Bundy’s, Hammonds, and anyone else ( unless its Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall street) who resist the tyranny of the Federal Gov’t will soon find themselves in a Re-education camp…isn’t that right Hillary?

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