This story of Cliven Bundy and his neighbors against the U.S. Government officials is a hard one to follow. Read through this piece that presents the situation chronologically.
In the comments, note that one person mentions that the anti-government militia has played a significant role in escalating the conflict. And, Bundy is rather a big jerk, a “scofflaw”. Not “believing” in something (such as the US government) in no way makes it less real or able to kick your ass. His son is also in trouble with the law and also a jerk because he kicked a police dog.
This is a bit of a tongue in cheek rundown of some of the other aspects to this story:
- The dispute over conservation of land for a threatened/endangered tortoise versus use of that land for cattle grazing or vehicle use. Bundy didn’t like that.
- The ranchers feud with the US Bureau of Land Management in order to use that land ranchers who want to use the federal land without fees or oversight. Ranchers claim they need to use the land. The preservationists say cows degrade and pollute it.
- United States v. Bundy played out over many years in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada beginning in 1998.
- Ranchers and natives pull out weapons and copies of the Constitution and waive them menacingly. Potential violence is a threat and pipebombs are delivered to the BLM office.
- Along with issues of state’s rights, Bundy states that his rights derive from the fact his Mormon ancestors were using the land far before the federal government was. (I think the tortoises were using it before them, dude, so doesn’t that kill your argument.)
- Bundy declares he doesn’t recognize the authority of the US Government.
- When the BLM gives in, they get sued by conservation groups. (See, it’s not just coming from one side, you get it from both. One side has rifles, the other has lawyers.)
- In flutters the sage grouse to add more to the human grousing.
- The BLM is going to wrangle up the loose cattle, which brings us to the following:
March 27, 2014: The BLM has closed off 322,000 acres of public land, and is preparing to collect Bundy’s cattle. Bundy files a notice with the county sheriff department, titled “Range War Emergency Notice and Demand for Protection.” Bundy also says he has a virtual army of supporters from all over the country ready to protect him. He also has Gardner. “I think Cliven is taking a stand not only for family ranchers, but also for every freedom-loving American, for everyone,” Gardner said. “I’ve been trying to resolve these same types of issues since 1984. Perhaps it’s difficult for the average American to understand, but protecting the individual was a underlying factor of our government. … My support is that I am determined to stand by the Bundy family in any fashion it takes regardless of the threat of life or limb.”
- Bundy’s own cousin says, I don’t think he’s working on all four cylinders.”
- Meanwhile, Bundy says the price of beef will go up as the cattle are taken.
- A straw man is erected comparing desert tortoises to cattle and which can win in an economic race…
- Words like “voodoo science” get thrown around.
- Wild horse advocates get mad, saying that the cattle ruin habitats. Other scientists argue that the wild horses ruin habitats for other animals. Et cetera…
- Two of Bundy’s family members are injured in a confrontation with federal officials. One of them was Bundy’s son, tasered after he kicked a police dog. “I’m almost getting mad enough to swear,” Bundy says.
I guess this range war is not really about cows and tortoises. Will an armed battle ensue? There is a lot more to this behind the scenes but that’s all I can handle for now. It’s all very absurd in a ‘merican sort of way. I really don’t think you can reason with either side in this matter. Can’t end well.