Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bunker Hill 2 – The Bundy Ranch?

On a hot July day in 1776, 56 bold souls affixed their signatures to a revolutionary document.  The declaration that they endorsed asserted that each individual human being is entitled to his or her fundamental rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  Furthermore their missive defined the role of just authority by stating that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men”.

 I do not recall anything else in America’s founding charter about the rights of tortoises or other fauna. Yet here in 2014 our federal “rights protectors” are bringing armed force to bear in defense of tortoises and in violation one family’s historic cattle grazing rights and began seizing their cattle.   

Cliven Bundy’ family has been grazing cattle on this land for over 130 years.  As Mr. Bundy tells it, "My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877. All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed.".

 The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began contesting this longstanding practice after it had been going on for over a century.  The controversy came to a boil this past week as armed federal agents surrounded the ranch and began confiscating Bundy’s livestock. 

Outraged citizens responded by rallying to the Bundy’s support, many from great distances. 

Shamefully the Feds tried to herd these patriots into a cordoned off “First Amendment Areas” where they could vent their displeasure.  Is this what the “public square” has become – a limited and constrained space where free expression may be tolerated?  Are dissenters to be stigmatized like smokers and quarantined into cubbies?  Reports of the Feds assaulting freedom lovers outside of the First Amendment Areas” were numerous.


Even more shameful was County Commissioner, Tom Collins, who warned that Bundy supporters “better have funeral plans”.  This man is a traitor to people that he was elected to protect and the Constitution that he swore to defend.  He can learn a lot from local officials like Sherriff Richard Mack, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA.org) and the Oath Keepers who protect their constituents from unlawful federal harassment. 


To his credit, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval condemned the federal incursion stating that, "No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans."   Unfortunately he stopped short of sending in State Troopers or the Nevada National Guard to protect his people.

Happily, as of this writing (4/12/14), it looks like the Feds have backed down and are pulling up states for now.  For Now.

Perhaps the Bundy Ranch will be the new Bunker Hill where a free people come to learn once more that they can stand up to armed oppressors with superior firepower.  But you can be dollars to doughnuts that the Feds will be back, if not here than somewhere else and with greater force and heightened determination.  It is up us, as a free people, to remain vigilant, to rush to each other’s aid and to be brave in the face of force and intimidation.


Post script – what may have won this battle was not the Bundy’s and his supporters’ tenacity but a breaking scandal concerning a  Harry Reid led land grab on behalf of a Chinese solar farm project.  He may want to deflect attention from that sordid deal.

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"Half the people are stoned and the other half are waiting for the next election.
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Paul Simon