Bundy Ranch – It Isn’t Over Yet

For those of you who were like me, fixed to every single development of the standoff between the United States Bureau of Land Management (or BLM) and the Cliven Bundy Ranch, I want you to know—it is far from over. The BLM swooped in and inflicted tyranny on the Bundy Ranch and the good citizenry for a total of three days, before they finally stood down. An interesting fact emerged toward the end of the conflict: US Senator Harry Reid’s son and a former staffer are in positions of authority in Nevada, and they may have been behind acceleration of this conflict, due to pending or potential business dealings. If true, is it related to this conflict?

Let’s look at what started this confrontation. Silhouette fedora

Mr. Bundy claims that his family has operated the ranch since in late 1800s, before the establishment of the BLM, and he does not recognize the BLM’s claim, due to his family’s continued occupation of this land.

As of this date, Cliven Bundy has lost twice in federal court prior to these events, which began last Thursday. So in essence, going into last week’s confrontation, the federal government may—and I say may—have had the upper hand. According to various legal sources, all the federal government would have had to do is file a lien against the property, and let the lien process play out. It may be a conflict of interest to have the US Government rule on a dispute between a federal branch of the government and a US citizen, but I will leave that for legal minds to resolve.

However, the BLM showed up with overbearing force, including some who may not have been solely BLM personnel, which included snipers. Not only did they threaten the Bundy family, they threatened the neighbors and protestors who showed up to defend the Bundy family. The BLM even went so far as to set up an area three miles from the Bundy Ranch for “1st Amendment Rights,” one of the most bazaar things I have ever heard. They threatened people with tasers, threatened people taking pictures of the snipers and of the BLM employees squatting down behind their vehicles pointing guns at the demonstrators.

The contrast in the optics of the situation was clearly in the favor of the Bundy Ranch, the neighbors who road on horseback carrying the United States flag and the other protesters who showed up, who for the most part were well behaved.

Quickly, this confrontation between the US Government and the people escalated into a very volatile situation.  Moreover, when the BLM personnel were removing the cattle from the Bundy Ranch, some of the animals were mistreated, including the killing of two bulls. It has also been reported that some personal property of the Bundy’s was destroyed.

Mr. Bundy has admitted he is behind on paying grazing fees. Now, I am left with several unanswered questions: If fees are due, to whom do they owe the fees—the US Government, or the State of Nevada? And do they really owe anyone? If fees were paid, when was the last payment made? What are the legal steps that either side had available to them, before this incident, and why were those steps not taken? What are the new legal steps that are now available as a result of this stand-off?

Do you have answers? What questions have arisen in your mind, in light of this incident? Do you feel the US Government acted justly and appropriately in this case? Why, or why not?