April 20, 2014


Bundy is no victor (Las Vegas Sun, April 20, 2014)

Since 1993, he has refused to pay grazing fees, as thousands of other ranchers do, and since 1998, he has been in violation of a string of court orders by continuing to run his cattle on federal land. Along the way, he has made vague threats about the BLM and what might happen should it ever move to enforce the courts' orders.

Early this month, the nation saw he was serious after the BLM moved in and started to move his cattle off federal land. Bundy and heavily armed self-appointed militiamen from throughout the country provoked a dangerous situation, confronting officers trying to uphold the law.

The pictures were frightening, particularly one of a man perched in a sniper pose, his rifle facing down toward law enforcement officers.

After the BLM wisely backed off, Bundy and his supporters gave air to views that this was a range war over states' rights and federal land management. Those are issues that should be discussed but not in this case. This wasn't a matter of a rancher pushing back against the government or a show of patriotism by Bundy and militia types; this was an open act of rebellion against the rule of law.

Bundy had his day in court and lost. He has actually had years in court, and he has laid out his arguments several times. Bundy claims that he has a right to the land and says the federal government doesn't own it. But each time, a judge has denied Bundy's claims, pointing to the law, the facts and decades of court cases that all contradict the rancher. Indeed, the federal government has controlled the land long before Bundy's family arrived on the scene.

Still, after years of loses in court, he had options. He could have gone to Congress to try to change the law and rally political support. He could have tried to work out a deal with the BLM. He could have staged an act of civil disobedience to garner help.

Instead, Bundy, who proudly says he doesn't "recognize" the federal government, became his own law and has followed his own beliefs as to what was right.

What he and his supporters are really doing is dismissing the American form of government.

Posted by at April 20, 2014 11:53 AM

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