Many people wonder how it was for our founding fathers who stood against tyranny and in the Declaration of Independence “mutually pledge[ed] to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor.” While many are thankful for the sacrifice of those who have gone before us, they fail to recognize the same spirit in those men as modern patriots who have attempted to follow their example. One such man is Brandon Curtis, an Idaho III%er, who was involved in the Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. In an exclusive interview with The Pete Santilli Show, Curtis said that he had no regrets in participating.
As part of the interview, Curtis was first asked how he heard about the Hammond family, who were at the center of the controversy that started the occupation in Oregon. Curtis didn’t just rely on news that he obtained from others, but went at his own expense and saw for himself what was happening to this family.
“I went to Burns for the first time – sometime in the last week of October 2015,” he said. “BJ Soper told me the story about the Hammond’s and I wanted to go there to talk to them, you know, so I could find out for myself. I went back a few times and it’s still very emotional for me to think about, what they told me was happening to them.”
That’s not all. Curtis didn’t just “feel” something for the Hammonds, he was willing to act on what he knew. When asked if he offered to stand with them and protect them if they had decided not to turn themselves in, Curtis said, “I did, and I would have. It was such an injustice what was happening to these good people. They had already been to prison once for what the government said they did and it just wasn’t right.”
Following the protest that took place in Oregon, the occupation began and Curtis confessed that he had “total confusion and chaos in my head,” and that he believed “everything I knew about law enforcement told me there was a real probability this was going to end badly.” Though he did not go and stand with the occupiers at the beginning, he did come to realize that he needed to be there and gave a reason for why he decided to stand with them.
“It was actually an easy decision to make,” he told The Pete Santilli Show. “We had made great strides in that community before the occupation but there was still a great divide there, and we knew immediately that divide was going to grow. It came down not only to an obligation to stand by Ammon Bundy – to watch over him during a situation that was going to get bad when the FBI got there – but we owed it to the community to stay too. We loved those people, we had made good friends there. We just couldn’t walk away from that responsibility, we had no choice, we had to stay.”
When asked what his concerns were for the community, Curtis said, “I was a law enforcement officer in a small town for eleven years, I had also talked to Ward and Grasty many times. I knew the first thing those two guys were going to do was call in the FBI and ask them to come in force and it was going to rip that community apart. And when they did that it set into motion a train of events that would lead to the death of LaVoy Finicum. I blame Steven Grasty for that – he orchestrated every bad thing that happened in that town during the occupation – including the murder of LaVoy Finicum.”
Brandon also believed that a very dangerous situation was brewing involving the FBI. Take a look at this video of him with the FBI at the airport in January.
Curtis became a conduit between Ammon Bundy and the FBI. He simply wanted to make sure that things did not turn into another Waco or Ruby Ridge. Speaking about the FBI pushing him for more information on the occupiers, he said, “I made it clear to them we were only there as a buffer to make sure another Waco didn’t happen; that was a huge concern and we knew what they were capable of.”
He also noted that law enforcement in Burns began to change the longer the occupation took place.
“t was toward the end and I felt it immediately – Officers who were once friendly, you know the guys that stopped at a table or out in front of The Silver Spur to say hello and just chat, wouldn’t even look at us now,” he said. “They became aggressive overnight. They were surveilling us pretty heavy. Where they once wouldn’t even pull into a parking lot we were in, they were now waiting for us when we came and went and would follow us everywhere. They started scanning license plates too. They brought in the lighted signs they use for construction zones and we knew they were getting ready to shut down roads. The town was going into lock down — it was inevitable and very apparent at that point.”
There are many details that are worth hearing in the interview, which you can read here. However, Brandon has no regrets of what he did.
“I’m proud of what we did, the Idaho III%,” he said. “We did it for the right reasons. Because of ours and Ammon’s efforts the people of Burns who never had one before have made great strides in finding their voice and we hear them loud and clear.”
“As hard as it is to sleep at night, I put my head on my pillow knowing I did the right thing,” he added. “We all stood on the principle of truth, and when you do that – everything falls into place in the end. We stayed on our true north, and I don’t regret a single moment of it.”
“We exposed a lot of corruption in Burns and Harney County,” Curtis concluded. “We were changing the way people looked at their government there. Between us, Pete Santilli, and the work Ammon Bundy did, to bring it all to light, I know that place will be changed forever. The people who found their voice will be changed forever. The government will not find it so easy to run all over them anymore. We gave them a black eye and they didn’t like it. They never do. I hear lots of good things coming out of that community, but still there is a lot of hard work that needs to be done. It is now up to them to carry it forward, but we are just a phone call away if they need us. I wouldn’t hesitate, none of us would.”