“The American people got my cattle back.” ~ Cliven Bundy
by Dianne Hermann
The Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) backed off its strong-arm tactics against the Bundy family on their Nevada ranch after ordinary citizens accomplished what has not been done since the British tried it unsuccessfully in 1812. The American people exercised their 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendment rights to stop blatant overreach and tyranny by a hostile government. This time, however, it was our own government that was hostile.
When the BLM tried last week to shut down the Bundy ranch for alleged non-payment of land fees, Cliven Bundy dug in his spurs. As the last large ranch in Clark County, the Bundy ranch has been in operation since just after the Civil War ended. The ranch and its land use rights have been handed down from generation to generation, a long-accepted practice in the West.
The Nevada ranch itself is on private property, but part of the grazing area is not. States rights trump the federal government, but the U.S. government has forced itself on unsuspecting citizens for so long that we forget we even have rights. With the full weight of the federal government behind it, the BLM invaded the Bundy ranch (in violation of the 10th Amendment giving all other powers to the states).
The BLM claimed Bundy’s cattle were “trespassing” on Federal land. Apparently, his cattle can’t read. This 20-year-long struggle reached a head when the BLM sent in law enforcement officers to forcibly remove Bundy’s cattle from the disputed area (in violation of the 4th Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures). The standoff escalated when the BLM used attack dogs and Tasers against unarmed American citizens and prohibited others from traveling to the ranch.
(Too bad the U.S. government won’t use the same techniques to stop illegal aliens from trespassing from Mexico into the United States!)
The BLM even created a tiny “Free Speech Zone” in which protesters could take turns standing on the soapbox (in violation of the 1st Amendment the guarantees free speech). They tried to corral American citizens to keep the protesters from interfering with the roundup.
One week after the assault began, militia groups and citizens from around the country converged on the southern tip of Nevada in what would portend to be the proverbial line drawn in the sand.
Peaceful (and heavily armed) Americans showed up in droves to protect and defend the rights of one man, Cliven Bundy (the 2nd Amendment protects our right to keep and bear arms). They poised themselves along that line in the desert sand and waited. Citing concerns for the public safety the BLM soon backed down to avoid violence and help restore order. But it was the BLM that brought violence and created disorder.
Bundy’s cattle have since been released on their own recognizance. But one calf died and several cattle were injured during the roundup when officials used helicopters to remove them. The remaining cattle seized earlier are expected to be returned to the Bundy ranch by the BLM so they will again be home on the range.
This was the “moo” heard ‘round the world. The precedent has now been set. When the government attempts to violate the Constitution again (and they will) you know that “We the people” will rise up to protect and defend fellow citizens against the tyranny of our own government.