We live in interesting times: the federal government must be dragged tooth and nail to do what is necessary to protect that nation’s sovereignty along the southern border, but it will deploy attack dogs and snipers against Nevada ranchers who have worked the same land for over 100 years.
If you didn’t follow the Cliven Bundy story over the past week, here it is in a nutshell: Mr. Bundy’s family has raised cattle on the same land for over a century. How long? They’ve been there since before the Bureau of Land Management was even created. Somewhere along the line, the federal government came in and told Mr. Bundy’s family they needed to “manage” his land. Mr. Bundy has argued that they federal government has been trying to “manage” him out of business. And so, he’s refused to pay the federal government to ruin his livelihood. The BLM asserts that his family has over $1 million in unpaid management fees to the federal government.
Last week, in an effort to “protect” a species of desert tortoise, agents moved in and confiscated the herd. Ranchers from all over the region got word of what was going on, and joined with him in his stand against the federal government. A pregnant woman was knocked to the ground and a stun gun was used on Mr. Bundy’s son, but the standoff ended with the federal government retreating and all of Mr. Bundy’s cattle returned — for now.
The Las Vegas Journal review reported:
BUNKERVILLE — More than 100 head of Cliven Bundy’s confiscated cattle were released from a corral outside of Mesquite after a 20-minute standoff between angry and armed ranchers and law enforcement officers Saturday.
With rifles pointing toward each side and tensions reaching a critical level, federal land officials backed off and agreed to give up the cattle to Bundy’s family and supporters. …
Locals who make a living on the range and own horses showed up on horseback.
Nearly all of them defended Bundy’s actions and spoke about how tired they were of the federal government micromanaging Americans, including passing too many regulations, not just in Nevada but across the country; not just in cattle ranching, but in all facets of life, from Obamacare to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Brent Mackelprang, 58, a cattle rancher from Arizona, said the government’s decision to seize Bundy’s cattle in the name of protecting “the supposedly endangered” desert tortoise was a mere excuse “to go in and grab land from the people,” including Bundy, who has long claimed that the land belongs to his family and the state of Nevada — “certainly not to the federal government.”
Since Sen. Harry Reid has been M.I.A. during this whole debate, I’ll turn to a quote from Frederick Douglass to explain what went on in Nevada:
“Find out just what the people will submit to and you will have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” — Frederick Douglass
The people finally — thank God — stood up to the power-mad federal government, and they got results.
And why is it that Sen. Reid has been so quiet?
The Washington Times reported:
The Bureau of Land Management is headed by former longtime Reid aide Neil Kornze, who was confirmed by the Senate as BLM director on Tuesday, just as federal authorities descended on the cattle ranch outside Mesquite, Nev.
Mr. Kornze issued a statement Saturday saying that the bureau would return the cattle and withdraw its agents from the ranch as a result of safety concerns after clashes between law enforcement and the Bundy family’s growing legion of supporters.
“It was likely pressure from upstairs, rather than weapons from the field, that changed his mind on the matter,” the liberal group Americans Against the Tea Party said in an online post. “Fact is, Harry Reid probably didn’t want his name attached to the biggest civilian massacre in U.S. history right before election season.”
Behind the scenes, you know that men like Sen. Reid are furious. It wasn’t supposed to play out the way it did. Mr. Bundy was supposed to fold. He was supposed to just accept the slow and steady infringements on our rights to life, liberty and property like so many other Americans — but he didn’t. That act of defiance stirred something inside the stomachs of locals and patriots from other states that they knew to be just and right, and so they came to his aid.
Hopefully, what happened at the Bundy Ranch will inspire more Americans to push back against the injustices imposed upon them by an out-of-control federal government.
Related: If you want to read stories about the federal government’s overreach, check out Cheryl K. Chumley’s ‘Police State U.S.A.’ I’ll be reviewing the book when it comes out in May.