Let the Roundup Begin – an Update

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*** LATE DEVELOPMENT ***

Sunday evening (4/6) Bunkerville, NV Rancher Cliven Bundy who has been illegally trespassing over 900 head of cattle on restricted BLM- managed- public-property for over 20 years sent an email to the press and supporters announcing that the “Range War’ would begin Monday morning at 9:30 AM and asking supporters to bring horses and participate with him. This morning a LetsTalk writer witnessed numerous vehicles, stock trailers, and others parked at the Bundy compound with supporters being ushered into the Bundy property by Bundy family members. It is unclear how many vehicles or people were there, but at least 6-8 vehicles were observed. Let’sTalk encourages everyone involved to keep level heads and avoid confrontation. The place for dispute resolution is in the courts, not out on the range – and PLEASE, NO WEAPONS! Pointing a weapon at Federal Law Enforcement officers never turns out well! 

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The impounding of trespass cattle in the Gold Butte and Lake Mead area has begun. The National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management used the first week or so of the court approved operation to fly over and use other methods to update the “count” of trespass cattle that are in the approximate 960 square mile area and ascertain their location so that they can plan the operation effectively. They counted 908 head of cattle illegally in the public land.

range war2 008

range war2 009Last Saturday, April 5th, the actual gathering of the cattle began. So far about three or four “protesters” showed up for a couple of hours on Saturday in the designated “first amendment” free speech areas. The photos show the one unattended sign posted in the protest area at the Riverside Road area and there was no sign that anyone had been at the other area at the bottom of the Riverside/ Bunkerville exit off of I-15..

In the last few weeks Bundy had indicated that an “army” of supporters would protest the operation but so far the biggest visible gathering of protesters has been in the area of Monroe, Utah where a small local businessman contracted with the BLM and the NPS to hold and auction the cattle that are gathered. Several local protesters from Iron County, Utah, led by one of Bundy’s sons who reportedly lives in that area, have harassed and threatened him, even though he is one of their neighbors and by all accounts a valued member of the local ranching/farming community. In addition, a body of local Utah elected officials, the Iron County Commission, threatened the BLM that if they go ahead with the Impound action in Nevada they and their sheriff will “do whatever it takes” to control the wild horse population in their area, implying that they will start slaughtering them because they claim that the BLM has not done enough to control them on the grazing lands. Let’s repeat that! A group of County Commissioners in Utah implies that it will “take hostages” in the form of wild horses if the BLM enforces the law on federal land in Nevada! Nevada – it doesn’t appear that you are without competition in the battle for the wackiest elected officials. Not surprisingly these folks blame the approximate $2 Million cost of the BLM/NPS law enforcement action on the government, not on the lawbreaker who has had twenty years to obey the law and abide by the valid court orders to remove his trespassing cattle. Are we a country of laws? – or not? Here is the foolishness – Do these folks really think that the BLM/NPS is going to bow to their threats? Do you/we/they really think this is the way that local government should work? It seems that in their local communities they are fulfilling their image of government not working! Threats and hostage-taking should not be part of responsible governance.

range war2 002 range war2 003As part of the Impound Operation much of the area has been temporarily closed. The impound operation is expected to last for 21 – 30 days. Signs are posted on many side roads because the operation necessarily includes the use of low flying aircraft and helicopters, as well as cowboys on horses and RV’s and the safety of the folks doing the work as well as the public who could end up in harms way has been a primary factor. Several people have expressed unhappiness with the BLM and NPS about these temporary closures instead of properly directing their anger to the cause – the lawbreaking rancher whose refusal to comply with laws and court orders is at the root of the problem.

range war2 006 range war2 011While the army of protesters has so far not materialized, the BLM/NPS does have a small army of folks doing the work and protecting those workers involved in the operation as well as the public to try to ensure safety and maintain the peace in the face of veiled, and sometimes “not so veiled” threats. This additional cost of the enforcement of the law is again directly attributable to the failure of Bundy to abide by the law. Yes, as a citizen Bundy is guaranteed his right to use the mechanisms of the law to pursue his interpretation of it, and he has vigorously done so – but NO COURT, and not even officials of Clark County nor the State of Nevada (agencies that Bundy claims have rights to the Federal land in question) support his position. The legalities are crystal clear – his assertions are WRONG and his actions have been ILLEGAL.

While the vast majority of U.S. citizens support the concept of living in a country where the public lands are protected from damage by private for-profit businesses there are, as always, a vocal minority whose idea of freedom is for them to do whatever THEY want on public lands. Many who loosely use the term “freedom” act indignant and as though they are “entitled” to more freedom to use public land for their businesses than the rest of us are allowed.  I have asked several of them to show me the deed where they bought the land they use, but so far none have done so.

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 4/6) the first confrontation between the Bundy’s and Federal officials resulted in the arrest of Dave Bundy, a 37 year old son of Rancher Cliven Bundy. There are reportedly a lot of Bundy’s living at the Ranch compound, and according to a report in the Desert Valley Times (see it HERE) four vehicles full of Bundy family members and supporters approached an area where armed federal agents were enforcing the temporary closure of federal lands in the area where the impound operation was taking place. The vehicles were quickly surrounded by 11 BLM enforcement vehicles and ordered to leave the closed area and directed to the designated “first amendment” areas if they wished to protest the action. There is plenty of federal law enforcement in the area largely because of the continuing veiled and “not so veiled” threats of violence from Bundy and his supporters over the past couple of years. All of the folks began to leave as instructed except Dave Bundy who failed to leave the closed area and stayed behind and continued to take video. The federal officers reportedly then arrested him. Ryan Bundy, another son of Cliven, reportedly said “We wasn’t doing nothing but filming”, as quoted in the Desert Valley Times that you can see by clicking HERE. That story further details that Kirsten Cannon, a public affairs specialist with the Southern Nevada District Office of the BLM, verified that an individual is in custody, but no details about the arrest would be disclosed “until and unless charges are filed”.  .

In a follow-up related ISSUE in the next few days LetsTalk will examine the true economics of grazing on public lands. Watch for it.

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Comments

  1. Doug says

    First, let me say thank you to the LTN for discussing this issue. Make no mistake, multi-millionaire Bundy is trying to provoke a violent confrontation. He has made it perfectly clear. If an innocent cowboy, or government employee or bystanders is killed, the blood will be on Bundy. Even the top leaders of the Mormon church like Kraig Hafen and Theron Jensen won’t stand with him. This is truly a black eye for Bunkerville (again) and he has caused it all.

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  2. Gary Brewer says

    The excuse of the desert tortoise is a bunch of BS. I say this is a excuse to close off the public lands for those of us who love to go out riding in the back hills. Thank you very much Harry Reid for another one of your classic stupid moves.

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    • Bon Kruder says

      Gary,
      Too bad you can’t play with your toys on account of a law breaking Mormon.
      Tears are coming to my eyes in sympathy…. For your pathetic mind set.

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    • Vegas Vixen says

      Gary, the rounding up of these ILLEGAL and DESTRUCTIVE cattle will help ensure that you, your children, and your children’s children get to enjoy this PUBLIC land for generations to come. I think that’s worth the inconvenience of the temporary closure, don’t you?

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    • King Curmudgeon says

      I could have told you this would happen. As in California,The left started with anti-smoking movement(As here in Mesquite).When they got away with that,then it went to environmental issues. It’s not about health or keeping up the land,it’s is and always has been about control. They find sheeple to follow them,lie to them,weak minded people believe them and they become activists. As you can see here.
      “OOOH! But Bundy is breaking the law!” He wasn’t breaking the law until the federal government seized the land.His family wasn’t breaking the law 100 years ago when this valley was being settled.The only mistake Bundy,the Hafen’s,and every other pioneer family did was sell their land that allowed a bunch of OUTSIDERS to eventually move here and try to tell others what they can or can’t do and how we all should live our lives.

      Remember,only the government can kill the protected Desert Tortoise.

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      • PT says

        Ohhhh. Thanks KC. Here I thought this was about rule of law, land management, grazing leases and court orders. Nope! This is about weak minded sheeple/activists all full of themselves over success in anti smoking and environmental measures in California leading a band of OUTSIDERS who bought up land in Mesquite so they can tell Mr Bundy, whose family wasn’t breaking the law 100-years ago, what to do.
        Now I get it. Thanks for clearing this all up. Still a little unclear about why the government kills turtles though.

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  3. John Williams says

    Mr, Brewer, please cite your credentials as a wildlife biologist and explain your position. And also please explain your “blaming” of Senator Reid for protection of the Public Lands by the BLM/NPS, specifically telling us what role if any he has had. Until you do, I will consider your statements to be uneducated ramblings. There are hundreds of scientific studies regarding endangered wildlife species.

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  4. Bob says

    Cliven Bundy is a millionaire with a ranch, 14 kids, 53 grandkids, an airplance, a helicopter, multiple water rights and have left junk scattered all over Gold Butte, like broken PVC pipes, barb wire, sheet metal, old tires and he is a menace. He is pretty much like Warren Jeffs, the polygamous prophet of the FLDS church who gets these crazy ideas and lives in a world of delusion.

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    • King Curmudgeon says

      The truth comes out. Bundy is a millionaire and you people can’t stand success. GOOD for him!

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      • dave mcnall says

        Can’t stand success? On whose dime? (hint that’s me and you, assuming you pay taxes) this is the definition of scofflaw. I can’t understand how anyone (well at least a patriotic American) could condone just making up your own non-citizen rules because it fits their own personal circumstances. My hope is that every last penny of this needless waste of taxpayer money is retrieved from those who have profited from it.

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  5. Terry Z. says

    Please people, let us not stoop to his level and remain level headed! PLEASE!!!!

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  6. Terry Z. says

    Follow John’s sensible advice! I understand how the situation can anger, but let us be the better folks during the insanity among us!

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  7. Doug says

    I’m with Terry. Let us stay positive and let them act like the fools they really are. This will show what they are really all about.

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  8. Willy says

    People on this site are great in their research. They have facts and figures for everything. Could one of these experts please tell me where in the Constitution, the States gave the federal government the right to control State land?

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    • John Williams says

      Hi Willy. Here is my understanding of the history. If you or anyone has different information please post it. When Nevada became a State the citizens voted and approved giving most of the land to the Federal Government. In fact, unlike many other Western States who took the option of reserving for themselves 2 sections of land per township, Nevada didn’t want that land to oversee or manage these trust lands so it gave it all to the Federal Govt – willingly, by a vote of the people. Bundy and most “settlers” were given huge sections of land – free – and also water rights – free. That wasn’t enough for Bundy so he legally and properly leased additional acreage for cattle grazing. All was fine until he decided he didn’t like the rules that the owner of the land p had for using it for grazing so he stopped paying and his lease of the right to use it for his own profit-making business was cancelled. Years later he cam up with the fiction that it was somehow not Federal Land. Let’s think about that – for a long time he acknowledged the federal ownership and paid rent to the Federal Government, then quit paying and then …….. decided that they magically don’t own it anymore because he has come up with a new theory? His “new theory” has been rejected by every court he has argued it in – EVERY TIME. In addition to illegally use it, he has ABUSED it by expanding his unlawful grazing activity to 5X amount of land as he EVER had any rights to use and growing the herd to 900 when only 250 max head were allowed. There ya go!

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      • Kccoleman says

        Here! Here! John!! Well said!! It’s never been state land! My understanding is that federal territory’s, and the state did not want it when they became a state…in 1864? Or so?

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  9. Xposit says

    Every time some knot-head decides that the rules don’t apply to him and proceeds to repeatedly ignore the law and thumb his nose at all attempts to peacefully resolve matters it ends up in tragedy, usually for more than just a few. John Singer, David Koresh and Warren Jeffs come immediately to mind, there are many others. If any of this ends up with someone getting hurt, or worse, Cliven Bundy should be held directly responsible and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If, as most all of hope, this ends up with all his cattle in impound and everyone returning home safely Cliven Bundy should be billed for all the associated costs and forfeit whatever assets necessary to reimburse the American people.

    The unity of this country relies on our system of due process and everyone of us, as U.S. Citizens, should have equal access to those processes. The U.S. Government has given Mr. Bundy every opportunity to complete those due processes and Mr. Bundy simply responds by ignoring court orders and making threats against anyone who attempts to uphold the law. This will not end well for the Bundy clan; we can only hope that this freeloading scofflaw doesn’t end up getting somebody hurt during the process.

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    • ForTheHorses says

      Agree 100% with Xposit! I had almost the exact same thing written out, so I’ll let you say it for both of us. I’ll just add this…I don’t know why Cliven Bundy was allowed to get away with this for so long. After he lost his first Court case, they should have filed a lien on his property, then foreclosed, then sold it to satisfy the back payments on the grazing leases. Enough Bundy!!

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    • King Curmudgeon says

      “knot-head decides that the rules don’t apply to him and proceeds to repeatedly ignore the law”

      Question.Does this way of thinking include obama?

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