If you are not aware, there has been a lot of action in the news over the past week or so in Nevada. If you don’t know, what I’m referring to is the dispute between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The basics of the story go like this, The Bundy family has been grazing cattle on the land now owned by the BLM since the late 1800s. After the BLM was formed and they began charging for grazing rights, Bundy refused to pay. Also the BLM revoked his grazing rights because of a federally protected tortoise on the land. He continued to graze his cattle and was taken to court. The Bundy’s lost their case and the BLM says that he owes them over $1 million in back grazing fees for the past 20 years (Bundy says it’s much less than that). A judge recently gave permission to the BLM to round up and remove the cattle. This roundup is what started the standoff… When the Bundy family began to protest the situation, there are stories about them being met with excessive force, including attack dogs, snipers and heavily armed BLM Rangers. Oh and we can’t forget, “Free Speech Zone’s”. When news of the force spread around the internet, many militia groups and other activists sprung to action and headed to Nevada. In the end, the BLM decided the risk of danger was too high and pulled back. The BLM states they will attempt to “resolve the matter administratively and judicially”.
Here are some of the details that I’ve pulled from various news sources.
Arizona state Rep. Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff said he and state legislators weren’t arguing whether Bundy broke laws or violated grazing agreements. Thorpe said the Arizona lawmakers were upset the BLM initially restricted protesters to so-called free speech zones.[1, Fox News]
After doing a bunch of reading, I think that I fall somewhere in the middle on a lot of this… I think Bundy (the rancher) was breaking the “law”, and probably owes the BLM money for the grazing. With that being said, I also feel that the laws are probably a bit out of wack, and that the govt. constantly oversteps it’s bounds with many things. The taxes and fees that the government imposes are insane these days and as the economy, and things in general, get tougher and tougher and people are stretched thinner and thinner, people are more likely to push back; because that is the only option left.
You will see a note in one of the above quotes that says, “Arizona lawmakers were upset the BLM initially restricted protesters to so-called free speech zones.”[1, Fox News] This is something that should scare every single American. If we are to a point where the Government thinks it can create an “area” where the Constitution applies, and one where it does not, then we have some serious issues at hand. I don’t know if that was the mindset, but it sure came off that way. Saying there is a specific area where you can voice your opinion, but outside of that box, you must conform is not something that should fly with any American.
I think the better overall message was voiced by Jim Landy when he said, “Our mission here is to protect the protestors and the American citizens from the violence that the federal government is dishing out.”[1, Fox News] A lot of this was the result of a video being taken of a confrontation between Rangers and demonstrators where one of Bundy’s sons was tazed. From watching the video, it looks like one of the Rangers pushes someone down (the video doesn’t show what happened before that), and that causes an uproar where tensions escalate rapidly. I think there was excessive force used on both sides of the fence and it all could have been handled more calmly by people just having some common decency and communicating with each other. Communication skills, especially in stressful situations are very important and the Rangers didn’t seem to handle them selves very well, but I can also imagine that the mob of people are a huge unknown, and everyone has to protect themselves. The Rangers having attack dogs on “the front line”, probably didn’t help matters either. That is an excessive level of force being shown for a situation on US soil, in my opinion. You can watch the video here and decide what you think, but remember to view things from both sides.
Like I said, I’m in the middle on a lot of this and feel that it’s all a tough spot. I feel very strongly that the Government is constantly overstepping, but is the Bundy family completely in the right? no, I don’t think so. I think the situations could have been handled better by both parties. As for the laws that spurred all of this, I don’t know enough about the court cases to really say one thing is more right or wrong than another. I feel this is all about a much larger topic; how the Government creates, imposes and enforces laws and what people are able to do to correct any injustices.
The Government is hurting Americans with excessive taxation and corruption, but it also provides a necessary evil. Especially in cases of conservation. There needs to be a happy medium. Also, with the ramped corruption in the system (CA Sen. Leland Yee (D), Corruption, Jonathan Fleming, Wrongly Convicted, to name a few), we really have to re-evaluate how the system functions. The checks and balances only work when the truth is being told and the representatives actually have the best interest of the people in mind. Otherwise it’s a runaway system that only benefits the rich and powerful. And the only check to a runaway system is the people that the system governs, and that check can not happen without the 2nd Amendment. The people can not be powerless.
In modern times, with the internet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Incidents like this one will never be like ones of the past (e.g. Waco, Ruby Ridge), because with a single video, text or post, millions of people can instantly become involved in a cause. A great example of this is what happened in Egypt. Do I think the US is in the same position as Egypt? Absolutely not. But do I think the US is approaching a pivotal point where decisions and change will have to be made? Yes, without a doubt in my mind.
What do you think? What do you think is worth fighting for? How far would you go to protect your family’s way of living? What would you do in a similar situation?
Articles on the situation are available from most major news sources, I’ve listed a few below (feel free to add any sources that you feel people should read to the comments).
- CNN: Showdown on the range: Nevada rancher, feds face off over cattle grazing rights
- FOX News: Federal agency vows to continue legal action after ending Nevada ranch standoff
- The Nevada View: Nevada Rancher Confusing Liberty With Anarchy
1. Federal agency vows to continue legal action after ending Nevada ranch standoff – Edmund DeMarche, Matt Finn and The Associated Press
2. Nevada Rancher Confusing Liberty With Anarchy – By JUSTIN MCAFFEE