The confrontation in Nevada between cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the Federal Bureau of Land Management ended yesterday with the release by the BLM agents of all 400 of the cattle they had captured, and returned them to Bundy. They did so because after they surrounded the Bundy ranch with armed Federal agents, hundreds of armed free militiamen from all over the United States swarmed onto the Bundy ranch, with the backup of Nevada sheriffs and police officers, to confront the Federal agents.
Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had earlier criticized the agency for creating “an atmosphere of intimidation” and trying to confine protesters to a fenced-in “First Amendment area” well away from the sprawling roundup area. That “First Amendment area” didn’t sit very well with anyone, considering that the First Amendment guarantees us the right to free speech anywhere, not just in some little fenced-off area in the middle of Nevada range land.
What this is about, is that Mr. Bundy’s family has been grazing cattle on what is now land claimed by the Federal Government, since the 1870′s and he insists that the land belongs to the state, and that this is exclusively about his ancestral rights and state rights. He had been paying grazing fees to the Feds up until 1993, when the Feds terminated his grazing permit because they said the cattle were endangering the desert tortoise, which is a protected species. At that point Bundy stopped paying fees but continued to graze his cattle there. The storyline linked above has it that first he stopped paying the fees and then his grazing rights were revoked, but that makes no sense and I think they have it backwards. If they had concern for the tortoises, that would have been why his grazing rights would have been revoked. Then, of course, there would no longer be a levy on him for grazing fees.
So I think the BLM claim that he owes over a $million is specious, and that this is about his refusal to remove his cattle. He has been twice ordered to do so by federal courts and this is all about the BLM asserting authority. Now the BLM says they’ll go back to pressing their case in the courts, which is what they should have always been doing instead of sending a small army of armed government thugs out to harass, intimidate and intentionally impoverish this man. Their goal was to round up all of the Bundy cattle and take them away, leaving Bundy with no means of an income.
This is why we must continue to protect our Second Amendment rights to carry arms and form militias. We will always need to protect ourselves against our own government and this is one more case where armed patriots have pushed back and won. If they’d only been there at Waco and Ruby Ridge, the senseless murders carried out by Federal agents against American citizens might have been averted, but at least this time, they backed down. There was too much media attention, too many armed citizens, and too much Nevada state resistance to let them feel comfortable in attacking the way they’ve done in the past.
It should be noted that “Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder said the showdown was resolved with no injuries and no violence. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy, he said”. “On Saturday, Clark County Sheriff Douglas C. Gillespie announced that the Bureau of Land Management would cease their persecution of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy. He also stated that Bundy’s cattle would be allowed to graze on the disputed land. The sheriffs were quick to back Bundy and the militiamen up after the BLM agents said they would start shooting protesters if they tried to release any of the cattle!
In an emotional response, Bundy doubled down and issued the Sheriff an ultimatum, giving him one hour to disarm the federal agency, to bring the arms to the protest site to be destroyed, and to remove their barricades and checkpoints.
When Bundy’s expectations were not met, (by the BLM agents) protesters drove down to the site where his cattle were being held to demand their release: The cattle were then released. The Feds weren’t about to go up against them and the sheriffs deputies too. They were out-gunned.
So the Feds have finally been sent packing and good damn riddance. This has set a new precedent, we can make our government back off from their thuggish intimidation if we stand together.