Photo by CBS News
Last week I was riveted to TV news, email and the Internet, watching the real-life saga unfold of the battle between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his family and the federal Bureau of Land Management.
The government was trying to keep the rancher from using public land to graze cattle -- land that the family had used for more than 100 years.
The BLM had tried that before.
The excuse then was for protection of the Desert Tortoise. It was reported that the turtles were not thriving in their natural habitat, so the government captured some and put them in specially built sanctuaries. According to the report, the sanctuaries are now overrun by turtles, so to cut down on the cost of keeping them, the turtles are being euthanized.
The latest dispute came to a head last week when the BLM came in with helicopters to round up Bundy’s cattle.
When folks around the nation heard about the conflict, they gathered at the Bundy ranch, most of them packing guns. There was lot of yelling and fist shaking and a son was shot with a stun gun/taser, before the BLM backed down, saying they were afraid someone would get hurt, which seemed a distinct possibility.
There was much on Facebook about the incident.
I wrote I was glad the rancher won but that, “He should be paying a grazing fee, to the state but not to the federal government."
A fellow I didn’t know replied that Bundy had tried to pay the state but it wasn’t accepted, “because the Bureau of Land Management had been threatening them, too.”
Harris Faulkner, in her news commentary, posed a question pertaining to the turnout of people who came to the Bundy’s defense, “Why do people care?”
Quoting an intensive article by Logan Churchwell and Brandon Darby on the Internet:
“Hundreds of Bundy family neighbors have been pushed out of ranching, a profession and culture the families have shared with generations of their ancestors, by the federal government slowly restricting more and more usage of federal lands. The Bundy family has held on – but holding on meant ignoring the rule of law, as much as they would argue that the federal government has ignored the rule of law. After years of federal overreach and corruption from agencies restricting public lands, or effectively taking the value out of privately held lands to protect tortoises, spotted owls and ponds a bird might someday land in – Many Americans are boiling and looking for an instance to stand against.”
I do believe we will see more of these episodes. The Second Amendment was deemed necessary, not for people to have the means to shoot their dinner, but as protection against a tyrannical government.
Willard Hollopeter is a cowboy poet and columnist in Wood Lake, Neb. For more on this story, see CBS NEWS: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nevada-rancher-cliven-bundy-inspects-cattle-for-damage-by-feds/