The standoff, showdown, occupation, protest, insurrection, or whatever the heck it is that's going on in rural Oregon has created a lot of emotional reaction, but not much in the way of fact-based discussion—so Vox released this handy explainer today to clear up some things. Basically, the video covers three things: what's happened so far, what the government and politicians are doing and saying, and what recent history (Waco, Ruby Ridge) is affecting law enforcement's behavior.
Before tackling the larger implications, the basics: two ranchers, the Hammonds, were ordered to report to jail by a federal judge for setting fires to clear brush on federal land which the Hammonds believed they had a right to use and maintain for their cattle. The government disagreed, and the Hammonds reported for jail yesterday (they do not support the militias). Militia members led by Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, decided this was their moment to make a stand, and they took over a remote federal building (the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge offices) while the staff was on New Year's vacation. The FBI and local law enforcement have mostly left them alone, preferring to wait out the armed group rather than confront them. The militia members have stated they are willing to use violence, but do not necessarily wish to.