The Lesson of Nevada — C.J. Box

 

What is the takeaway from the Feds vs. Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada now that the Feds have high-tailed it? (Caution: the answer may be disconcerting to some readers.)

I won’t go into all the particulars here. The best and most balanced summary I’ve read was written by Logan Churchwell and Brandon Darby in Breitbart and I’d urge you to read it here.

StatesThere were no pure white hats on either side. Cliven Bundy comes off as a little cracked, given his rhetoric and his claims that the federal government never owned the BLM land in the first place. Of course, they do. They practically own all of Nevada.

His failure to pay grazing leases really muddies the water. Even though I think all federal land (with the possible exception of a few national parks) should be sold to the states or auctioned to the highest bidder, Cliven Bundy is not someone I want to stand behind, much less hang around with. His greatest talent may have been his willingness to give countless interviews to sympathetic journalists and bloggers who whipped the story into a froth and publicized the showdown. There’s that.

But, boy, did the Feds screw up, even if they had a leg to stand on when it comes to the legal issues (and they did). Unfortunately, they went well beyond their legitimate claims into some very shaky territory. They wanted the cattle off BLM lands to save the desert tortoise — even though studies have shown that the tortoises likely thrive on grazed land. It also doesn’t advance their cause when you find out the Feds planned to euthanize tortoises in their “refuge area” due to lack of funds.

Like Waco and Ruby Ridge, the Feds could say they had the law firmly behind them. And, just like Waco and Ruby Ridge, they overplayed their hand by dispatching armed agents, including snipers, attack dogs, and contract cowboys to steal Bundy’s cattle. They even created a cordoned off “Free Speech Zone” for protesters to bake in. As if free speech needs to be cordoned.

In the west, the BLM is usually thought of as the least tyrannical federal land management agency. Unlike the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there aren’t a lot of stories of rogue BLM toughs oppressing taxpayers. I guess that’s changed now. Hovering over all our federal agencies is the EPA, which doesn’t need no stinking land (they control the air we breathe and the water we drink) in order to impose their will. They have armed agents of their own.

When the managers of federal lands turn into an army of occupation amidst the people who pay their salaries, bad things are going to happen.

The Feds didn’t expect to face the hundreds of armed citizens and militia-types who poured in to confront them. That never happened at Waco or Ruby Ridge. In Nevada, the Feds retreated when they realized they were outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned.

That’s the takeaway.

 

Post Script: Another observation. Unlike Waco and Ruby Ridge, nobody was killed in Nevada. The dispute will likely be settled in court. Isn’t that as it should be?

 

Photo via Reuters; Graphic via General Services Administration

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  1. Bulldawg Inactive
    Bulldawg
    @Bulldawg

    The graphic of Federal ownership of land makes me think of ownership of land by crown and church in Europe in the middle ages.

    • #61
  2. Owen Findy Member
    Owen Findy
    @OwenFindy

    PracticalMary: Also, who else but somebody a little crazy (eccentric) would take on the BLM?

    This observation is similar to Mark Steyn’s (I’m loosely paraphrasing and adding my own twist) that it takes someone who’ll go a bit bonkers for a cause to overcome the inertia of the fearful or cautious or sluggish mass of people and institutions and move them half an inch in the right direction.

    • #62
  3. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Bulldawg:

    The graphic of Federal ownership of land makes me think of ownership of land by crown and church in Europe in the middle ages.

    It makes me think of a nighttime satellite photo of the Korean peninsula:

    • #63
  4. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Western Chauvinist: the woman who threw a shoe at Hillary.

     The woman who threw a shoe at Hillary is a political prisoner?  Where I come from that’s considered assault.

    • #64
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Umbra Fractus:

    Western Chauvinist: the woman who threw a shoe at Hillary.

    The woman who threw a shoe at Hillary is a political prisoner? Where I come from that’s considered assault.

    Sounds like she could get two years from the feds. Anyone know where the Iraqi who threw a shoe at Bush is currently residing? I’m guessing he didn’t spend two years  in prison. But, you’re right. It was a bit of hyperbole. Until the sentencing comes down.

    • #65
  6. dicentra Inactive
    dicentra
    @dicentra

    Nick Stuart: Why couldn’t they just put a lien on Bundy’s property and bank accounts instead of forcing an armed conflict?

    Because it wasn’t about the fees; it was about de-bovination.  The BLM backed down two years ago regarding the eviction of cattle, and then the Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue the BLM if they didn’t get Bundy’s cows off the land.

    This according to Mark Levin’s opening dialog on his 15 Apr 2014 radio show.

    • #66
  7. PracticalMary Member
    PracticalMary
    @

    Lessons…this one sounds familiar and some don’t seem to listen to Libertarian reasonablness: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/04/jews-in-donetsk-ukraine-told-to-register-or-have-your-property-confiscated/
    Off topic, I know, but perhaps a shot of reality.

    • #67
  8. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Nick Stuart: Why couldn’t they just put a lien on Bundy’s property and bank accounts instead of forcing an armed conflict?

     The fines are apparently already up to $620 million…  The money’s not the issue, and the BLM has already bankrupted innocent people by stealing their cattle only to be smacked down in court (and referred for prosecution).

    If the BLM’s not going to follow the Rule of Law, why should the ranchers?  That’s a fool’s game, albeit one that’s very popular with Republicans.

    • #68
  9. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Another interesting map:

    • #69
  10. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Misthiocracy:

    Bulldawg:

    The graphic of Federal ownership of land makes me think of ownership of land by crown and church in Europe in the middle ages.

    It makes me think of a nighttime satellite photo of the Korean peninsula:

    Misthiocracy:

    Another interesting map:

    Point taken. But also note that a lot of those uninhabited areas happen to coincide with deserts, craggy mountains,  swamps, or (in the case of Alaska) a place where it’s really cold and dark for most of the year. Even without the Feds owning the land, there’s a decent chance that such places would be sparsely-populated.

    • #70
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