Thursday, April 9, 2015
Cliven Bundy and the BLM: The Story Behind the Story
Some may remember the standoff at Bunkerville, Nevada, about one year ago today, when cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and other patriots took a stand as Cliven refused to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management. The cattle rancher won, albeit with loss to cattle and other equipment, and the BLM had to retreat with their tail between their legs, as the ranchers and patriots with their horses, flags, and sidearms, reclaimed the cattle that BLM confiscated from them.
It seemed straight out of the Old West, and it was a great moment for the patriot movement. But why did the old man stiff the BLM? Why didn't he pay the grazing fees like everyone else? Well, that's just it. There is no everyone else. Cliven Bundy is the last of his kind. All other cattle ranchers in Nevada were run out of town, supposedly by red tape and environmental restrictions. This is where there is more to the story that should be paid attention to.
Cliven Bundy and his ancestors had cattle on that land in Nevada way before the BLM existed, and even before Nevada was a state. They made improvements to this land and made water systems. Improvements that the BLM had no hand in. You also may be surprised to know that the government controls about 84 percent of the state of Nevada. Why does the government need to monopolize 84 percent of the land in Nevada? Your guess is as good as mine. But do they really own it, or just manage it? Well you would have to ask the BLM, because their answer may change, depending their convenience. Well it is called the Bureau of Land Management, right? The government can't possibly have a legitimate use for 84 percent of Nevada land.
Myself and others feel that the majority of that land is public land. People should be able to use and enjoy such public land: camp, hunt, and live off that land, as long as they don't destroy that land and use up all its' resources. And if some cows eat some desert shrubs, and pee and poo on it, making the land more fertile, it shouldn't be such a big deal. Furthermore, Cliven Bundy and his cows should not be made criminals because of it.
What I think we have here is a severe case of mission creep. The BLM should not be running around like knights with AR15s saying "thou shall not trespass of the Kings land without paying toll". Most of this land the BLM surveys over, I feel, belongs to the people. And, yes, more land should be freed up for private use, but until then it should be for the people's enjoyment. So the standoff at Bunkerville was more than just a dramatic neuvo-Western moment: It was a little bit of restoration of America, and a last stand for a ranchers way of life.
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