Please Pray! Surrender Of Last Oregon Refuge Occupier Not Going Smoothly
UPDATE AT 11:57 a.m. PST — After a very tense period of negotiation with the final occupier, David Fry, who appeared ready to shoot himself while speaking publicly on a live stream audio feed, has peacefully surrendered. Please read the updated story.
An attempt to end the Oregon refuge standoff peacefully is not currently going well. Negotiations are getting very heated as we listen live to what's happening between negotiators and the last occupier. Franklin Graham is currently on the scene but not actively involved in the negotiations as far as we can tell.
According to The Oregonian, Billy Graham's son had been calling the four remaining occupiers of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge every day at both their request and the request of the FBI. The occupiers are the last on-site vestiges of an standoff that began over a month ago in protest of federal land control practices and the imprisonment of two ranchers. The occupation turned violent two weeks ago when the leadership was arrested while traveling to another town and Robert "LaVoy" Finicum tried to run a roadblock and was shot and killed.
On his Facebook page, Graham said earlier that "Last night I was on the phone with them for several hours, was able to have prayer with them, and they have said they would come out today. I am on my way there and hope to be there by 7:00 AM their time. Please keep them, law enforcement officials, and all involved in your prayers, that everyone will be safe."
As Graham arrived around 9:15 a.m. PST, at least two of the occupiers announced that they were going to walk out right away unarmed but did not immediately do so. 20 minutes later, the FBI ordered Sandy Anderson, Sean Anderson, David Fry, and Jeff Banta to exit the refuge compound. Sean then asked for confirmation of Graham's arrival at a nearby FBI checkpoint before saying, "Alright, Sandy and I are coming out."
Sandy surrendered first. The Sean walked out holding an American flag with one hand while keeping the other hand raised. Jeff surrendered as well.
27-year-old David appeared more reluctant, yelling "Unless my grievances are heard, I will not come out!"
He then added, "I'm feeling suicidal right now. I have to stand my ground, I will die a free man!"
KrisAnne Hall, a constitutional educator, desperately tried to assure David that his message had been heard and that he needed to come out peacefully. Both she and David evoked the story of Paul and Silas going to prison and argued over whether the story supported David giving up peacefully or holding his ground.
KrisAnne told David, "If you're not around, can your grievances be heard? You're going to take away the ability you have to be a real voice in this."
Throughout the dramatic negotiation with KrisAnne, David shared his many grievances with the U.S. government, including taxes, abortion, terrorism, and marijuana.
KrisAnne told David, "If you walk out of there peacefully David, you will have millions (of people watching you)."
She then suggested he give himself up to Franklin Graham and get a hug from the reverend.
"It just feels like my future, my life, my country was stolen. America's Christian's don't listen to their God. Learn to fight!" David expressed in extreme agitation.
KrisAnne added, "I'm telling you that if you step up and walk out, your fight will endure."
Conservative internet broadcaster Gavin Seim is also heavily involved in the negotiations, supporting many of David's views but attempting to get him to give himself up peacefully.