BURNS – As Ammon Bundy was driven out of Harney County Tuesday night in handcuffs, he left behind wounds that won't easily heal.His group damaged the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, taken over Jan. The headquarters compound will be a crime scene for a week or more once all the protesters are gone.
Bundy's message of unshackling the county from federal control resonated with those frustrated with bureaucracy.
But those supporting the occupation found themselves staring across a social chasm at friends and neighbors who abhorred Bundy's arrival and his tactics.
Community members couldn't even agree on how to gather in public to hear information and share opinions without fear, insults and holstered guns dominating.
That deep canyon won't be bridged soon, local residents say.
Hurtful words, often entombed forever on social media, still rattle through the community, which seemed under siege for almost an entire month. Bureau of Land Management went dark, and they have stayed so even through Friday.
Unsure of the Bundy group's intentions, local authorities closed schools in the Burns area for an extra week. They're military veterans and small business owners.The opening game of basketball season was shifted 113 miles east to a gym in Vale. Some have authored books and lost their jobs to join the cause.Federal employees were told to stay away from work. Who are the armed occupants of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon?The Harney County Courthouse suddenly became a restricted zone, a metal detector brought in and shoehorned into the narrow stairway leading to the foyer.Fences went up around the backside of the courthouse and the adjacent school administrative building, where federal, state and local authorities set up a command post that ran around the clock.Bundy followers frayed nerves in the area but accomplished little of what they claimed they had come to do.