In the end, the Bureau of Land Management, figuring discretion is the better part of valor, withdrew their 200-strong force from the Nevada ranch where supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy were rifle-to-rifle with the law to prevent them from taking Bundy’s cattle.
Bundy’s family had herded cattle on the land since around the time Nevada became a state in 1864. They didn’t own the land, but rather, paid a fee to have their cattle graze on the land. Right up until 1994, Bundy himself paid the fee. No problem.
The Bureau of Land Management – under the presidential Department of the Interior – was formed in 1946 through a merger of the General Land Office (GLO) and the U.S. Grazing Service, has roots going back to the creation of the GLO in 1812.
In 1994, the BLM and the EPA declared the dry land tortoise, which roamed in the Nevada desert, an endangered species. Many ranchers were driven off their lands and the land on which the tortoises was declared not only federal land, but protected land to be governed by the federal, not the state, government.
In 1994, Rancher Bundy basically said, ‘Hold your horses; I ain’t payin’ no grazin’ fees to the federal government ‘cause this ain’t their land. This here land belongs to Clark County and the state of Nevada.”
So, he didn’t pay his fees. Not because he was a no-account, lazy scofflaw, but because he believed in the U.S. Constitution, which did not give the president the right to seize private – or state – property. Even scientists believe it’s wrong to hold the rights of animals above the rights of humans. They note that the removal of the wolves in Yellowstone National Park led to a surplus of elk, which ate up all the bark of young aspen trees, killing off their own food supply.
At this time, there is a surplus of dry-land tortoises. Not that that matters to the Federal government. It turns out that back in the 1990s, Harry Reid’s son made a deal with ENN, a huge energy company in China to build an enormous solar panel factory and farm in the Nevada desert.
This project required huge tracts of land. The BLM, in league with the EPA, obliged, declaring this tortoise an endangered species in need of federal protection. With that, the government seized the land ranchers had been using to graze their cattle. Although Bundy’s ranch is north of the project, it would only be a matter of time.
Bundy stood his ground and publicly said that if it came to it, he would protect his land by force. Hundreds of supporters, toting guns and rifles, showed up. The BLM seized the cattle, but eventually released them again, allegedly at the urging of U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who was, no doubt, more concerned at the news of the Chinese connection than the fact that hired cowboys were running the cows to death over the rocky land, causing the cattle to break legs and die of exhaustion. Bundy lost 125 head of cattle in the drive.
Surprisingly, Glenn Beck is not in the lead on this cattle rustling by the Feds. He’s more concerned that violence might break out and that people will be injured, even though Bundy said violence would only be used as a last resort and only if the BLM fired first.
We can appreciate Beck’s Christian concern. The Christian thing to do would be for Bundy to allow himself to be arrested and bring the matter to court. Evidently, Bundy doesn’t have much faith in a judicial system – the 9th Court of Appeals – that would allow such outrages in the first place. Many Americans agree with him. Beck has invited those Americans to “unfriend” him on Facebook.
While we can appreciate Beck’s religious philosophy, he’s also a gun owner and supposedly a supporter of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. What does he think the Second Amendment is for? To shoot at targets? To shoot burglars and rapists? To shoot deer and bear for food?
Personally, I shudder at all those Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, Grizzly Bear Mom shows that shoot up wild animals for sport. I don’t fancy horror movies or mass murder films, either. I shut my eyes to them (as the Bible commands). However, I still have the American spirit, right or wrong.
The Constitution declares the Second Amendment: “A Right to keep and bear arms. A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The Second Amendment doesn’t mention targets, burglars, bears, or deer; it talks about the security of a free State. Bundy very clearly spoke about the freedom of the State of Nevada and Clark County where he lives.
Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”
Nevada is not a “sovereign” state but a federated state, with clearly stated rules in the Constitution about what the Federal government cannot do. Nevada is a member of the United States of America.
But it is neither Caesar’s nor Obama’s. Let us hope that the matter will be settled peacefully. But it’s not entirely a bad thing, either, that the citizens of the United States show that they’re willing to stand their ground. Maybe it’s the federal government that needs to lower its weapons, not the citizens.