Monday, April 14, 2014

Terrorists in Nevada

This man is very pleased with himself.  His name is Cliven Bundy, and he is a terrorist.

Last week, an interesting little game played out in southern Nevada.

A cattle rancher named Cliven Bundy has gone more than 20 years grazing his cattle on public lands without paying the very low, heavily-subsidized grazing fees the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) charges.  

Over many years, and because Bundy tends to have 900 to 1,000 head of cattle grazing on public lands at any one time, the unpaid fees he owes tend to add up.  Apparently, he now owes more than $1 million.

For reasons unexplained, the BLM simply sent letters to Bundy for 20 years, but never did anything more to collect from him.  Then, after all this time, they suddenly decided to seize his cattle.

Which was going fine, until hundreds of gun enthusiasts, black helicopter theorists, militia members, and various other right-wing freedom lovers descended on the area for a heavily-armed Ruby Ridge style showdown with federal officers.  

Wealthy cattle rancher Cliven Bundy (second from right), walking tall with young, bad-ass gun boys who came to protect him from the bill he owes, but refuses to pay.
   
Over the weekend, confronted by the possibility of a shooting war in the desert with American citizens, the BLM backed down and returned the cattle they had seized to Bundy.

Let's make no mistake.  This is a war the government would have won easily.  They chose not to win because arresting hundreds of people who are holding guns is a logistical nightmare, and they didn't want to hurt anyone.

I guess they'll go back to sending him letters now.

But here's the thing.  In a very real way, you and I own the land that Cliven Bundy grazes his cattle upon.  Our taxes subsidize his grazing.  And he owes us a million dollars that he insists he will not pay.  When pressed for the money, he resorts to gun thuggery.  

Cliven Bundy is not standing up for the little guy.  Basically, he's stealing from us at gunpoint.

Why is this okay? 

If I owed the IRS a million dollars, and they came to collect, and I pulled a gun on them, would that be okay, too?

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