You acquit them.
And we're seeing exactly why that is right now: because it emboldens them to take up arms, illegally occupy government property and cost taxpayers millions of dollars all over again.
That’s exactly what's happening in the case of the Oregon standoff.
In his first interview since his acquittal of federal conspiracy charges, militant leader Ammon Bundy said he was absolutely right to take over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January.
“It was our duty to stand. We did it peacefully. We did it legally, and the jury’s verdicts confirmed that,” Bundy, 41, told The Oregonian while speaking on the phone from Multnomah County Detention Center in Oregon.
First of all, the 41-day armed standoff, while not violent, was far from peaceful.
“Certainly it's not normal to have a hundred people walking around with firearms on our streets,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said while testifying against Bundy, his brother Ryan and five other followers.
Secondly, they occupied federal buildings, which is illegal.
However, the jury’s verdict, which has prompted a nationwide debate over white privilege, didn’t find anything wrong with it.
Oddly, despite the fact there were weapons involved in the occupation, all the defendants were also found not guilty of weapons possession at a federal facility.
Obviously, the final decision has yielded the most inevitable consequence: encouraged Bundy to do it all over again.
“We will continue to stand,” Bundy vowed. “We know what we did in Nevada was right. We’re very confident God will continue to protect us and show forth his hand in Nevada.”
Although he remains in jail because of separate charges in the 2014 standoff at his father’s Nevada ranch, his words serve as a dangerous prelude to a similar standoff in the future.