Ready, aim . . .

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

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.

It’s this last bunch and their loony near-relatives who dress up in war clothing, paint their faces and spend weekends shooting and marching in the woods. These are the ones that pose the biggest threat. You’ll find a lot of ‘em converging on the Bundy ranch from this flock. Some of ‘em talk a good fight and that’s about it. But I also believe some will hunker down and try to “take out” as many feds with them as they can.

We’re a very violent society. Whether it’s a calamity of nature, some perceived grievance by one group or another or just the local university winning/losing a football game, violence and criminality lurk just beneath the surface. Smash – burn – loot – destroy. For all our civilized ways, we can be dangerous and violent with even the smallest provocation.

If that’s what you believe – and I do – then all these flag-waving, camo-wearing, jingoistic phony patriot, citizen “armies” should be taken very, very seriously. If you’ve got a strong stomach, read some of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s publications. You’ll find detailed and alarming descriptions of these groups identified in the research. You’ll find Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Utah and Montana harbor some of the most violent.

Looking back at Ruby Ridge and Waco – and the terrible loss of lives in both armed sieges – I’d guess the feds will sit tight and try to wait it out.

But it’s not the feds that worry me. It’s those armed loudmouths who believe their own media hype and see themselves as “protectors of those innocent government targets” – the Bundys. If just one of them – just one – has a misfire while cleaning an assault rifle, God knows what will happen in the next five seconds.

As a nation, we’ve deferred dealing with these dangerous people far too long. This is not a “Second Amendment” case. This is very, very close to armed insurrection. The Nevada desert may be where these people should face the reality that armed challenges of duly issued court orders and federal law have serious consequences. Deadly consequences if bullets start flying.

Take the cows – shut these guys down – make some arrests. With force if necessary. Any perceived backing away will just delay the inevitable.

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One Comment

  1. linda said:

    Good job Barrett. Remember Helen Chenoweth’s hubby, Wayne Hage? Same scenario & as I recall in Nevada, there have been at least one or two BLM and USFS employees who have died by gunshot – but none of the “threatened freedom fighters.”

    April 14, 2014

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