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Freedom, Liberty, and Cattle

  • By: Grant Goldberg
  • Published: March 23, 2014
Freedom, Liberty, and Cattle

I don’t know how closely all of you follow the news, but if you’re like me, you probably skim through depressing headline after depressing headline just to make sure you’re caught up with the latest political scandals, Obamacare failures, stock market gains and losses, and other exciting stuff. However, once in a while a story will grab my attention either from a subject matter perspective or simply because it’s not the typical story. Such was the case a couple weeks ago when the story of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy versus the BLM or what has become known as the Battle of Bunkerville. The story didn’t reach the epic proportions in the media like I thought it would and should, but nevertheless it was a story that I’m sure would make a great movie. For those of you lost at this point, here are the basic facts of the story:

  1. The Bundy ranch leases BLM land for the grazing of cattle in a small county in south east Nevada near the town of Bunkerville. The cattle ranch has been in business since the mid 1800s.

  2. Bundy has been in a legal battle with the US Government for unpaid grazing rights fees since 1993 and currently owes approximately 1 Million dollars in unpaid fees.

  3. Bundy refuses to pay the fees to BLM stating that the federal government has no authority to own lands in any state and sees this as another example of governments overreach and overreaction. He believes grazing rights should be a state’s right to deal with.

  4. Starting on April 10, the BLM showed up on the grazing lands that Mr. Bundy was using with the intent of rounding up all of his cattle to be sold. Protestors also showed up at a construction site to find out about a dump truck that was being used nearby. There are reports both ways of BLM agents being assaulted and of protestors being tazed and thrown to the ground.

  5. On April 12, many (at the peak there were approx. 1,000) armed private citizens showed up from all over the country in a show of force against the BLM and their roundup of Mr. Bundy’s cattle. The standoff continued for more than an hour with both sides pointing their weapons at each other.

  6. In the end the BLM “suspended” their round up the cattle and released them back to Mr. Bundy but left at least 5 cattle dead.

  7. The BLM stated that they will continue to “administratively and judicially” pursue Mr. Bundy for his unpaid taxes.

Wow…that sounds like something out the old west. There’s a lot to think about in that one story including states rights, ownership of public lands, state’s militias, freedom of speech, and many others.

Personally, I applaud the private citizens that showed up well armed and well within their rights to draw a line in the sand and tell the government that they will not allow one more American be bullied and pushed around. Heck, this is the EXACT reason the 2nd Amendment was written, to keep the thugs and thieves in our government in check. Now before you start to write me a hot email, I don’t condone Mr. Bundy’s non-payment of taxes because I do believe that you need to live by the laws of the land. There are other ways he could have gone about getting his point across than by giving free grazers a bad name. So there’s my quandary in this story, I applaud the patriots, but not sure I stand with the man in the middle of the controversy.

Some interesting points and questions that spring to my mind are:

  1. Why didn’t the government garnish his wages or sick the IRS on him instead of showing up to take his cattle? It seems like a large jump from court battle to cattle rustling roundup.

  2. The BLM agents that showed up were as heavily armed as any US military unit. Why do BLM agents need fully automatic weapons and snipers?

  3. Why does it take 21 years for something to finally happen on a case like this? Seems to me that if there was a problem in 1993, why do we wait until 2014 and then come after him?

What are your thoughts on Mr. Bundy and the “Battle of Bunkerville”?