Open letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespe

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by Gary Spina

Esteemed Gentlemen:

Please gentlemen, honor your oath of office and take action to protect Nevadans at the Bundy Ranch in Clark County – for gentlemen, hostilities there are escalating, and if blood is shed it will undeniable be on your hands. You have the power to stop the illegal encroachment by the federal government, and instead you have abandoned your sworn duties and have left the citizens of your county and state to defend themselves.

I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that a sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in a county with authority exceeding that of the federal government. I urge you to look for example to another sheriff — Sheriff Anthony DeMeo who, since 1991 has successfully protected the citizens of Nye County, Nevada, from the excesses of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service when those agencies have attempted their heavy-handed seizure of cattle, land, and water rights.

Now the Bureau of Land Management is encroaching on state land in Clark County, but nowhere in Clark County or in the state capitol is there anyone with the courage and integrity to make a stand for the citizens. Yes, the land in question is state land, in case you have forgotten. And the BLM appears to be exceeding their court order, in case you haven’t checked. I believe their court order allows them to herd cattle from the land. Instead they are herding the free citizens of the sovereign state of Nevada who are there to protest the BLM’s illegal activities and to question the BLM’s authority to impose a bureaucratic policy and a federal ideology on a sovereign people. Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Gillespe, have you forgotten or are you not aware that protesting and questioning and public assembly, and petitioning our government are right that belong to We the People?

It appears that BLM agents are indeed herding people — shouting at and threatening protesters gathered at the Bundy Ranch, driving trucks through the crowds of people, and using taser guns with painful results against citizens of your county and state. Are you not concerned? Reportedly a 57 year old mother of seven children was thrown to the ground and roughed up by BLM agents. Are you not concerned? Did you not hear that a pregnant woman who was among the protesters had a BLM K-9 dog attack her? Are you not concerned?

If protesters at the Bundy Ranch assaulted anyone in authority, or threatened anyone in authority, they should have been arrested. But there were no protestors throwing rocks or striking federal agents or threatening bodily harm to anyone. I know of no citizens who were arrested – for their actions did not warrant arrest.

And if it is true that no one was placed under arrest, it would appear that citizens whom the federal agents deemed unruly were roughed up and thrown to the ground and tasered simply to subdue them – as one would “gentle” a slave or an animal. Not arrested, but subdued for the sake of expedience and convenience – simply because the federal agents were not professional enough to understand the volatile nature of the situation. It seems the actions of the protesters were not egregious enough to constitute grounds for arrest. Protestors are neither slaves nor serfs nor animals, but free citizens, not to be controlled or silenced or rendered compliant by federal agents – especially when those agents are exceeding the court order they were executing and not in the performance of lawful duties.

And Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Gillespe — who authorized those signs designating First Amendment Zones for the protestors? I guess the idea was to provide an isolated area where citizens of Nevada were permitted to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights. Are you not concerned that – not that long ago — the entire state of Nevada was a First Amendment Zone? Gentlemen — what has changed? Gentlemen — why have you not taken a moral stand against the Washington, D.C. thugs who have come into your county and state? Why have you not sent your Highway Patrol or your deputies to tear down those First Amendment Zone signs? Have you forgotten your oaths to defend and protect the people?

And Mr. Sandoval, your statement today 11 April 2014 advising the BLM to “be mindful of its conduct” is on its face feckless, cowardly, and laughable.

Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Gillespe, I fear things are escalating and your citizens are in danger. If you cannot do anything to prevent that from happening – in the absence of any courage on your part – in the absence of you performing your sworn duties – the citizens seem more than ready to exercise their Second Amendment rights to take arms against a tyrannical government.

Gentlemen — do you believe anyone wants that? No one wins if things deteriorate to violence and bloodshed. We all lose.

But maybe, until things settle themselves down, all sides should simply back off. And maybe all sides would be better served if Nevada’s governor and Clark County’s sheriff simply pulled up their petticoats and rode out of town. And assuredly, it would be more comfortable for the two of you to ride off sidesaddle — you know, for the sake of decorum.

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