The situation with the Bundy family out in the flatlands some 80 miles from Las Vegas is akin to a truck load of dynamite with a very, very short fuse - parked next to a wildfire. Even an accidental spark could get a lot of people killed. So the federal government has blinked - backing away from executing a very valid court order and made the pathologic freeloader a hero in the eyes of his government-hating friends.
At first glance, this is about a professional deadbeat who owes us taxpayers more than a million dollars in grazing fees - running his cattle on BLM lands for decades and ignoring the bills. Rather than back down, the BLM should have served the court order, confiscated his herd, sold ‘em at market and arrested the bastard for inciting sedition. Seems simple enough.
Like so many of their push-it-to-the-limit kind, Cliven Bundy and his family have taken the totally irresponsible position their ancestors were there before the BLM - their water rights predate federal ownership of the land - they’re not obligated to pay the bills the feds have been sending for more than two decades. And they haven’t! Not exactly living up to the promises made signing that federal grazing contract many years ago. Makes one wonder what changed their minds. And when.
Now, the Bundys claim they’ve tried to makes some payment on their water and grazing bills recently but nobody will take the money. And they’re right. The State of Nevada and the federal government will not accept payment. They can’t. That’s because the recent court order allowing the BLM to confiscate the cattle also freezes the whole Bundy situation. And their assets. The Bundys are in massive default.
But all that fades now because the Bundys have taken the position they’re the “aggrieved” party in this situation - that the feds are exceeding their authority - that the government is out to make an example of them - they’re victims of government excess - that they’re “patriots” who will hold out until the end. About 98.7% B.S.
The feds do appear to have some blame here. The BLM should’ve stepped in years ago with direct legal action to put an end to Bundy’s use of federal grazing lands for free. While I haven’t read the contract, I’d bet the farm there’s a section dealing with default - what it is - when it is deemed to have taken place - remedies for forcing contract compliance. And penalties. I’ve never signed a major contract without such language. And Bundy has been in default, according to the courts and government, for more than 20 years.
To let the Bundys run up a million dollar grazing tab for that long without collection action is, to my mind, completely irresponsible on the feds part. Get two months behind on your house payment and you can expect a guy from the bank at your front door. So - to some extent - this situation could have been nipped in the bud years ago.
But - as I said - because of the dangerous situation the Bundys have created by word and deed - trying to make themselves out the martyrs here - we’ve got an armed encampment of federal officers “cheek-by-jowl” with several hundred armed faux “freedom fighters” from half a dozen states who’ve come to the Bundy homestead to stand against anything governmental.
There’s a dangerous element in this country using the I-net and other media to whip itself into a frenzy of camouflage-wearing, government-hating, heavily-armed anger. Without knowing any firsthand details of Ruby Ridge or Waco, they blame the feds for those and any and all perceived attacks on their “personal freedoms” - most especially the Second Amendment to the Constitution - a document most of them have likely never read. They’re as unstable as a gallon of nitro on a bumpy road. Reasoning and logic are out of the question. They talk violence as if it were the only satisfactory response to their trumped up hatred. How many will actually stick around if shots are fired is anyone’s guess. But shooting is what they say they’ll do.
The back ridges and valleys of our Pacific Northwest also harbor a lot of very unstable people. Some hiding from something or someone. Some mentally over-the-edge from wars or simply lack of professional treatment. Others who call themselves “survivalists” and are convinced the world is soon to meet some cataclysmic end and believing they alone will be spared. Some are flat-out criminals growing marijuana or engaging in other illegal activities. And some have built heavily fortified compounds in which they’ve gathered family and vow to kill anyone who comes snooping about. (more…)