TheBlaze posted a story earlier this week about federal officials who used tasers, K-9 dogs, and other means of force to subdue protestors in Nevada.
The protest was against the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management for rounding up rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from land controlled by the federal government.
Bundy claimed he has a right to use the land and has not paid grazing fees. The federal government in 1998 declared the property off-limits to all cattle so that it could be turned into a habitat for the endangered desert tortoise — and Bundy was ordered off the land.
The standoff ended Saturday, but it was quite heated leading up to the weekend.
Here's what some readers of TheBlaze had to say about the incident:
I understand that there is some controversy here about fees that the rancher was supposed to pay for grazing his cattle on public land. He failed to pay the fees. Then the BLM claimed that the rancher had to remove the cattle because of non-payment and to protect the desert tortoise.
I happen to know that the BLM owns most of Nevada and that they have absolutely no interest in environmental concerns. A lot of BLM land is under military jurisdiction, and the military leases land-use rights to private corporations to do some really destructive experiments. Has anyone really bothered to find out who is behind the push to oust this rancher and which of the big corporations, via the military, is pushing for occupancy there? There is a lot more going on here folks than some unpaid fees and a sudden interest in the desert tortoise.
Send in the Nevada National Guard and get these federal bullies under control before somebody gets killed. This is a state issue and if the Nevada doesn’t intervene soon it going to deteriorate very rapidly.
Law professor had the best quote in this story. “You don’t get to use public land for personal gain, otherwise I would drill for oil in Yosemite national park.” Hilarious. The land is not his, he has no right to it, you don’t get a right to trespass by trespassing for a really long time. And no one better say “adverse possession” because federal/state/local government land is immune from adverse possession claims.
As a cattleman, I need a LOT more information on this story before I can make an intelligent comment. Land rights are a very serious issue and besides his saying that his family has raised cattle on the land “for centuries,” we don’t know at this point. Viscerally, I take his side, simply because I don’t trust the government. Realistically, I just don’t know what to think.
It sure looks like the feds have annexed this land and levied fees that the residents in this area feel are very wrong. All of these people put themselves at risk by coming to the aid of this rancher. Sure seems like a lot of anger and resentment toward the government, probably much bigger than this one issue. It was a big mistake to send thugs and dogs to bully and abuse these residents. Also, the feds made a big mistake stealing this rancher’s cattle (at a ridiculous cost of $3 million to taxpayers). Annexing land, abusing citizens, stealing their property and charging taxpayers $3 million. I just keep hearing the guy in the video saying “This is America!” I think the Nevada government and the feds should have worked out grazing fees to suit Nevada residents before it blew up into this monster.
Besides the story itself, what really ticks me off are those so-called officials standing there pointing tasers directly at people who are not under arrest, and are simply standing up for what they believe. I cannot look at any more pictures of these guys with their dogs out, tasers pointed directly at someone. In my opinion those “officials” pointing potentially life-threatening weapons at a group of innocent, non-arrested people, should now be considered a threat to self preservation. And also the protesters should have every free right to use at their discretion what is needed for self-defense, since they are the ones now clearly being threatened.
It’s not just because of the endangered tortoise — it's more likely because of this fact:
“Bundy does not own the land, which is near his 150-acre ranch, and has not paid grazing fees since 1993, claiming that he doesn’t recognize the federal government’s claim to the property.”
But I guess that you guys don’t care about ownership and trespassing and such….
I say that we form a group and claim the rights to the Grand Canyon and just disregard the fact that it's part of the federal government's national park system. Why the hell should we allow the feds to “own” such a beautiful chunk of property? We the people should take ownership of it and turn it into the world's largest landfill!
That guy and his family may have had their cattle grazing there for generations, but that doesn’t make it right if the land was not bought and paid for by that family! That sort of thing used to be called “stealing” back in my day — what would you call it?
This is a Nevada problem and should stay in Nevada. BOTH sides are wrong here — the feds, especially the BLM, and Cliven Bundy, who had plenty of opportunity to take care of this in a non-confrontational way and legally. Instead he thought he could bully his way around the laws and use the land without consequence. The government on the other hand has tried to run the ranchers off in favor of allowing casino development by using the endangered species act as a battering ram. Calling in snipers, tasing those gathering in protest, bringing in attack-trained police dogs, and other uncalled-for actions and RE-actions. There is entirely TOOOOO much testosterone loose. The Clark County Sheriff has NOT done his job and needs to step up to the plate and tell the BLM and other government officials to back off and let his department handle any arrests.
Explain to me why Bundy gets to not pay his grazing fees on public land and my family has to pay? Why Mr. Bundy do you get do whatever you want on BLM land and everyone else has to follow the law? Others who have been grazing on public land a lot longer that you have paid the fees. You sir are nothing but a freeloader! As for your “Ancestral Right” explain to me how how land that was taken from the Mexican government by federal soldiers during the Mexican war is your land to graze? It never was in the State of Nevada’s control. The federal land predates the State of Nevada!
I sympathize with this rancher and his family, but let’s look at this realistically. In my opinion, the fight has been poorly executed. Bundy stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. There has been a back-and-forth since then. He said he didn’t have to pay because his ancestors worked the land since the 1880s, giving him rights to the land. He doesn't legally own the land. Other ranchers paid the fees or moved their cattle. The fact that his family has used the land for 100+ years doesn't entitle him to perpetual use or ownership. I don’t know the specifics behind federal-land ownership, but the area is under BLM control, whether we agree or not. In 1998 they further restricted it because of some rare tortoise.
If Bundy felt that he had a legitimate claim to the land with the county or state then he should have continued to pay the grazing fees and filed a federal suit perhaps using Doctrine of Laches and claiming Proprietary Estoppel on the land. With competent legal representation from the beginning, things might be different now. With a few militia arriving who may or may not have all the facts, I’m afraid that will only serve to diminish and discredit competent and informed state militias nationwide.
Now if the governor stood up and deployed state police, sheriffs, and the national guard for protection, that would be something. The state guard could be ordered by the governor to serve the state by protecting persons or property from insurrection or invasion.
I am former law enforcement. Much of our continued training was in classes with officers from all over. Many times there would be rangers or fed park cops (we called them). More often than not, they were the ones in the class making over-the-top comments. They were looking for trouble when on duty due to the lack of excitement they experienced 95% of every day they worked. These folks need to be careful. The Fed Parks even made the rest of us nervous.