History is bound to repeat itself when the lesson is not learned. Federal agents are currently en-route to a Nevada cattle ranch owned and operated by Cliven Bundy. They claim he has broken a 1993 Bureau of Land Management law protecting a 600,000 acre section of land from grazing in order to protect an endangered tortoise population. Bundy has made it clear that his family ranch has been using the lands since 1877 and have a longer standing right to the Virgin Valley grazing area than the existence of the BLM. The situation in Nevada is beginning to parallel the 1993 Waco siege and the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff.
Federal agents do not respect this claim and are gathering a large armed force to arrest or possibility kill Bundy who has made the claim he is willing to die for his right to his land in Nevada. The looming standoff started when cattle owned by Bundy were rounded up by federal agents. The agents were told they were trespassing on private land and their confiscation of the cattle will raise prices in nearby Las Vegas, Nevada. The government asserts the cattle would disturb the protected tortoise population when, as stated by Bundy, the manure left behind by the cattle has high nutritional value for the tortoise and the grazing assists in lowering the chance of brush fires in the area.
The local community including several police and state legislators have voice their support of the Nevada rancher and have promised continued support. In order to prevent bloodshed after members of the Bundy family were hurt by the agents, local militia groups have announced plans to assist in the standoff against the federal agents. The groups assert they will not be the first to begin the violence if it does occur. The groups including the Oath Keepers and the West Mountain Rangers have voiced concerns that the Nevada situation will become another Waco or Ruby Ridge resulting in multiple deaths.
The Bundy family is the final group of ranchers on the land after years of regulatory changes forced many other ranchers off the land. The battle to maintain the family on the land is not one about the land itself. Militia members and supporters of the family state their purpose in defending the property is to draw a red line (as President Obama is quoted saying) stopping big government from regulating the average American’s way of life. They argue their fight is about protecting the constitution of the United States from a tyrannical government that is in place.
Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller have denounced the actions of the agencies involved citing the violence used by the agents. Should government agents open fire on the Nevada ranch, there will not only be a public backlash in the future, but an immediate response by the citizens on the property. In order to avoid another Waco incident, the federal government needs to avoid such violent approaches to these types of violations. Lack of understanding will result in the death of both average citizens and the federal agents. The Bundy family has been targeted for siege before and the support of the community prevented the act. The help from nationwide organizations and government may once again prevent the siege from happening.
By Andy Diaz