|Credit Las Vegas Review Journal|
To the left, Cliven Bundy walks past a federal “first amendment area” sign, posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office…on a public highway, and my first thought was, “When did the United States federal government obtain the authority to tell its citizens where to speak, or not to speak”? And it dawned on me that our own apathetic history has led us to this. We have invested our faith in the Founding Fathers perhaps longer than they had intended, and we are only now reaping the harvest of what we have wrought through our inattentiveness.
Shame on us all.
Perhaps it was our earlier, misguided patriotism that allowed the killing of Randy Weaver’s wife Vicki Weaver — and their son Sammy — to pass unchallenged. Personally, I remember thinking back then that the Weaver’s probably deserved what they got due to their defiance of government. Perhaps it was my own disengagement as a young man, or the reporting of the media cheering on the government, but in retrospect — and in light of recent events in Nevada and a more thorough examination of the facts in Ruby Ridge — I have realized that America is not the country I loved as a lad.
The plight of Cliven Bundy and his clan bears no resemblance to Ruby Ridge save for the struggle of private citizens battling the behemoth of America’s new royal class. What is different today is the fact that the Bundy’s are not alone in a bubble, relying solely on the alleged integrity of the mainstream media to report whatever truth they deem appropriate. We all get to see what is happening in Clark County, Nevada, in darn near real time, and it is not pretty at all, and it is no longer filtered into our nightly news or morning newspapers. We can no longer be lied to, and we have a wide network to spread the word.
So who is Cliven Bundy, and what is the problem wreaking all this havoc along Highway 170 in Clark County? The Bundy family has raised cattle on a ranch in this area since a decade after the Civil War. Lincoln’s assassination was still fresh in the memories of the American people back then, for a bit of perspective.
I’m reminded of a Little House on the Prairie episode in which the plots characters engaged in a bit of political dalliance; one character in the show, after a meeting of the townsfolk, mused that one day the government might actually tax their earnings! Poppycock, said another. Yeah…and here we are. But I digress…to a degree, that is.
When the Bundy family began raising cattle on their ranch, the taxing authority of the federal government was still in its infancy, and states still had sovereignty. Imagine that! But somewhere along the line, the bloated and ever increasingly ravenous creatures of Washington, D.C. have determined that Cliven Bundy’s family — and more precisely, his cattle — have been trespassing on federal land, and he is behind on his “grazing fees”.
The irony in all of this is that the fees are designed to protect the endangered “desert tortoise”, who purportedly struggle to survive after they rouse from their winters sleep. No one has yet offered an explanation as to how grazing fees will protect these turtles, but the point is moot anyway. Tortoise’s will find food wherever it is, or they will die. Sorry if that sounds cold-hearted, but it is nonetheless the basic law of nature. Who protected these turtles from the buffalo in the old days? Did the Shoshone have a tribal council that banned buffalo from eating too much grass?
For the past two decades, Cliven Bundy and his family have fought the BLM, as well as other federal groups, in court, only to be thwarted by the federal court system, and now face what is shaping up to be another fiasco and potentially deadly conclusion. What makes this different from Ruby Ridge — and the Waco Branch Davidian episode, for that matter — is the internet. We have eyes and ears all over Clark County today, and we have citizen journalists giving us real time information.
As a result, militias from all over America are gravitating to the Bundy ranch in support of the family, possibly creating a more volatile situation than would ordinarily be expected. I do not lament this point, but rather am heartened by it. It’s entirely possible that the casual observer may see some brief news coverage on this developing incident and think as I once did: that the Bundy family must be crazed criminals deserving of a lesson by the government.
If we band together, much like the people moving toward the Bundy ranch today, perhaps we can educate the masses before tragedy strikes in Nevada. And more importantly, make these newly aware people see that they have been duped along with the rest of the country.
For more information on this saga, see the following links: