THE SAGA OF BUNDY RANCH–FEDERAL POWER, RULE OF LAW AND AVERTING POTENTIAL BLOODSHED
By Logan Churchwell and Brandon Darby ~ April 12, 2014
BUNKERVILLE, NEVADA—The Bundy Ranch roundup has understandably stirred thin-stretched emotions as the federal government seizes cattle belonging to the Bundy family. The family settled in the late 1800’s and has ranched in the area since. The federal government allowed Nevada ranchers to graze their cattle on federal tracts of land adjacent to their private properties for generations. The federal government later created the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to administer and “protect” the vast swaths of federal land—including the land the Bundy family’s livelihood was—and still is—dependent upon. The BLM began restricting ranchers’ usage of federal lands to protect various species, and the BLM decided to restrict the Bundy family’s usage of the federal land they historically grazed. The federal government told the Bundy family that a tortoise existed on the land and therefore the land’s usage for cattle would have to decrease—thus creating a scenario where the Bundy family could make fewer resources. A 20-year legal battle ensued.
There exist a number of elements to the story that inject shades of grey into the dominant media narrative. Perhaps hundreds of Bundy supporters have already shown up to the ranch area to “protect” the family and their land—which is federal land—but federal land such usage was promised to the family in the government’s efforts to get people to settle the West after Mexico ceded the land to the U.S. Court documents—discussed later in this article—reveal that the Bundy family decided at some point that the federal government was illegitimate and that they no longer had to give heed to the federal courts. The Bundy family patriarch has openly stated his willingness to use force against federal agents if they take his cattle off of the federal lands; the federal agents stand ready to use force against the family or their supporters if they interfere with the cattle removal. Both sides are armed, both sides are frustrated, and the rhetoric and hyperbole surrounding the entire matter has left many onlookers from around the world confused as to what is actually happening.
In the immediate aftermath of the infamous cattle roundup, Cliven Bundy granted a number of high profile media interviews continuing to deny—to the point of absolutely ignoring family history—what the federal courts have twice told him.
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