So, About That Nevada Rancher Who Might Spark a Civil War…
By RU Twisted
67-year old Cliven Bundy is a Rancher in southern Nevada’s Clark County. He has allowed his cattle to graze on the same land that his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents did, dating all the way back to the 19th century.
A 2013 court order, however, stated that Bundy must remove his cattle from the land that is now federally controlled under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy’s refusal to comply with this order has resulted in BLM authorities rounding up his cattle—which number nine hundred at this point.
Bundy’s argument, which he has been stating in court for some time, is that this land has always been free to use for Clark County residents and that his family has done so dating back to the 1870s. Dating back to 1993 when courts ordered that he pay “grazing fees” to allow his cattle to feed on the land, the last remaining rancher in Clark County has maintained that his family’s use of the area predates the existence of the BLM and that the state of Nevada has allowed him to use it. Bundy has declared that he would pay the fees, but only to Clark County.
He has also stated that, although he was at one time among 50+ other ranchers, the BLM has since regulated them off the land and out of business. It has, according to the rancher, become nearly impossible to be a rancher due to the incredible levels of legislation one must face to do so.
In 1998, the BLM declared the desert tortoise, which was common to the area where the cattle grazed, to be endangered. The agency then stated that, of the 150,000+ acres it had sectioned off for the special turtle, only 150 cattle would be allowed on it. This is, of course, an amount of cattle too small for a rancher to make a living with and a number of little significance to wildlife in an area to that area of land. Bundy, therefore, was put in a position to either continue using the land with his 900+ head of cattle or go out of business—the work that his family had been doing for over 120 years.
Early last week, the situation escalated when, not learning from past fubars, the federal government descended upon the Bundy ranch with all the subtly of Charlie Sheen with a bag of coke in a room full of hookers. Some 200 heavily armed agents have surrounded the ranch with the intent of rounding up Bundy’s cattle and, if need be, shutting down his entire ranch while claiming it in the name of owing back fines and penalties.
Bundy told one reporter, “What’s happened the last two weeks, the United States government, the bureaus are getting this army together and they’re going to get their job done and they’re going to prove two things. They’re going to prove they can do it, and they’re gonna prove that they have unlimited power, and that they control the policing power over this public land. That’s what they’re trying to prove.”
The heavy-handed approach from the feds has prompted the arrival of numerous protesters and, interestingly, militia members from around the country who promise that many more are on their way. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, bloodshed has already been “narrowly avoided” after a confrontation that resulted in Bundy’s son being shot with a taser and a dog being sent after….a pregnant lady.
Armed agents, helicopters, snipers, militias, protesters, and multiple federal authorities gathered together around the same ranch over land that is, by decree, now supposed to be used to be used only for protecting…a tortoise (which, by the way, the federal government has killed thousands of).
If you’re thinking this is a recipe for another Waco, Ruby Ridge, or something even bigger, I’d say you are on the right track.
Who’s right in this whole mess? Consider a couple things: one, Bundy has stated, on the record multiple times, that he is willing to pay these fees, as long as they go to Clark County. So he’s not a complete nut-job who just doesn’t want to give any money to anyone.
Two, the federal government’s response to this whole situation has been, according to numerous residents of Clark County, nothing short of Gestapo-like and gives a great deal of credence to the line of thinking that they have far too much authority.
Three, just remember—this is all supposedly over a tortoise.
But hey, it’s all okay because the federal agents on the ground have designated a “First Amendment Zone,” whereby people are “allowed” to protest. Yay, freedom!
This is, in essence, a case about far more than cattle or tortoises (was that a children’s book?). It goes to the heart of state’s rights as well as the rights of private business. Can people say no to a federal agency? Do people have any rights, or are the declarations of agencies such as the BLM like edicts from a king? Does a state have any right to control its own land, or is it only occupied by them under the permission of the federal government?
These are, of course, issues our country has been facing for a good number of years. But what happens when several groups of opposing sides regarding the answers to these questions all gather in the same spot—and most of them are heavily armed?
Rest assured, all of these ingredients add up to something that could very well explode into something much, much larger on a moment’s notice. If we see behavior like we did at the sieges of the Branch Davidians or Randy Weaver’s residence, the amount of armed militia already on site in Nevada may well be the catalyst of an event that drastically shapes our near future on a great number of issues.
Yes, Bundy has defied court orders dating back to 1993. But his case—that the courts are only doing what they’re told by the federal government and that he essentially has no recourse—is not at all without merit and should not be quickly dismissed given the situation. The concept of a heavy-handed Fed declaring “this is ours whether you like it or not” should give anyone pause for serious concern.
It’s worth noting that the actions of the BLM and federal authorities in this case have been stated to be their method of “resolving” the case. I think Stefan Molyneux of Freedom Radio put it succinctly when he said that their method of resolution boils down to:
“Give us all your cattle to pay the fines we imposed on you to save a tortoise we are currently euthanizing… Or we will shoot your family.”
Those in Clark County who have seen the methods used by agents on the ground are agreeing and, according to a woman who lives very close to the ranch, “are getting really, really pissed about how this is happening.”
What happens next? I for one am extremely curious to see. As stated above, this has all the potential for disaster that affects far more than a single rancher outside of Las Vegas.