Bundy Militia Member Who Helped Seize Government Building Says in Video He’ll Fight to the Death

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
January 3, 2016 Updated: January 3, 2016

Jon Ritzheimer, one of the militia members who has taken over a government building in Oregon, says in a recent video he’s willing to die in the “fight against tyranny.”

The former Marine starts by tearfully addressing his wife and two daughters, explaining why he couldn’t spend the holidays with them.

He said he swore an oath to defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and “that’s why I couldn’t be with you on Christmas, and that’s why I can’t be with you on New Year’s.”

“The oppression and the tyranny that’s taken place in Oregon — we know it’s taken place all across the US — the Bundy Ranch was prime example. And we the people need to take a stand,” Ritzheimer said.

He then goes on to criticize how the legal system has treated the Hammond family. Dwight and Steven Hammond were given a prison sentence after a fire they said they set to protect against invasive plants and future wildfires spread out of control and scorched dozens of acres of federal land. They served their time in prison but appellate judges later ruled they needed to go back to jail for even longer.

An occupation of the Burns, Oregon federal building started on Saturday led by several members of the Bundy family.

Ritzheimer later says he plans to occupy federal lands and suggests he’ll fight to the death rather than suffer the “oppressive, tyrannical government.” 


“I am 100 percent willing to lay my life down to defend against tyranny in this country,” he added.

“The Hammonds were not tried by a jury of their peers. There’s an indictment with no signatures on it.”

He then addresses the elder Hammond, saying: “It’s real simple, Dwight. Do you want to die in prison labeled a terrorist by these oppressors or do you want to die out here with us as a free man? I want to die a free man.”

“If you do not spearhead this and take a stand, it’s going to set a new precedent across the U.S.,” he added. “They get stronger and think they can continue to go around and bully we, the people. But when we unite and you take that stand there’s no stopping us.”

Echoing the Bundy family, Ritzheimer claims that the government has threatened the Hammonds with ever harsher punishment if they communicate with himself, any Bundy, or any of their compatriots. 

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.