Militiamen make their presence felt in protest of BLM's livestock grab

Federal agents dispatched to scrub desert to seize cattle of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy.
MCT Regional News
Apr 11, 2014

The militiamen rolled in to draw a line in the dirt.

About 70 miles northeast of Las Vegas, they set up camp on a sun-baked patch of land next to a bend in the Virgin River, keeping supplies — like rucksacks and sleeping bags — in neat piles under the roof of an abandoned shack.

Gruff and largely unshaven, dressed in camouflage fatigues and cut-off shirts, the men kept their intentions quiet, telling news reporters the reason they pulled their trucks into this rural desert town — on one of the hottest days of the year — is simple enough: “We’re here to camp,” said one man who would not share his name.

But they were really here to protect one of their own from the perceived enemies: a band of federal agents recently dispatched to the scrub desert to seize the cattle of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy.

“They’re here to protect Cliven’s family and home,” said Lynn Brown, one of Bundy’s daughters.

A 68-year-old Nevada native, Bundy has long been at the center of a battle with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency controlling the 150 miles of desert where the rancher’s cattle have roamed for decades. A renegade when it comes to any sort of government control, Bundy — the father of 14 children — has refused to pay BLM a dime of required grazing fees for his 900 cattle, a tab that has since reached $300,000. Bundy has fought the fee, he says, because his Mormon ancestors set up shop on the land long before the BLM formed.

The problem? The land where Bundy’s cattle graze is federally owned, and the BLM now says the livestock aren’t supposed to be there. Federal agents this week cordoned off sections of land and sparked a monthlong operation to seize the cattle.

Tensions boiled over this week when a scuffle between the BLM and Bundy’s supporters ended in violence: Agents reportedly used a stun gun to subdue Bundy’s son and knocked his daughter to the ground. Though called “brutal” by some, the brawl did not land anyone in a hospital or jail.

But the incident did prompt Operation Mutual Aid — a national militia with members from California to Missouri — to visit Bundy’s ranch and set up a camp just in case things got out of hand again.

Before their arrival Thursday, dozens of Bundy’s friends and relatives gathered at a protest camp in solidarity for the recent woes that have colored his rustic ranch.

The militiamen posted a sign: MILITA SIGHN IN (sic).

Traveling from as close as St. George — and as far as Montana — a mix of characters waved picket signs at an encampment just before a bridge over the Virgin River, protesting the BLM’s campaign.

“This is a better education than being in school! I’m glad I brought you. I’m a good mom,” said Ilona Ence, a 49-year-old mother from St. George and Bundy relative who brought her four teenage kids to the ranch. “They’re learning about the Constitution.”

Ence’s 19-year-old son Kayden and his brothers shared their opinion with a sign of their own: “CONTROL OUR BORDERS! NOT OUR RANCHERS!”

“It’s crazy,” Kayden said.

As the temperature crept into the 90s, supporters drove by — beeping their horns and delivering water drinks so the protesters could keep hydrated.

Jack Faught, Bundy’s first cousin, drove his forest green 1929 Chevy truck from Mesquite loaded with water and Gatorade.

“It’s not about the cows,” he said. “It’s about the freedom to make our own choices close to home.”

Polo Parra, a 27-year-old tattoo artist from Las Vegas, even showed up with two of his friends to support the rancher. Dressed in baggy clothes and covered in tattoos, the group carried signs that read “TYRANNY IS ALIVE” and “WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?” in red spray-painted letters.

One of Parra’s friends, who would not share his name, had a pistol tucked in his waistband.

“I think it’s bull, and it really made me mad,” said Parra, who decided to make the trip when he heard about the violence that broke out on the ranch. “This isn’t about no turtles or cows.”

The land in question — the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area — is a habitat of the endangered and federally protected desert tortoise.

Harry Pappas, a 60-year-old native and “concerned citizen,” grabbed the microphone at a makeshift podium and blasted the BLM.

“It’s all a fraud,” Pappas said, arguing the BLM’s preservation of the desert tortoise was just a way to “get rid of all the ranchers.”

The BLM drew criticism for creating “First Amendment areas” — patches of land where protests are allowed. Authorities arrested two protesters — brothers from St. George — for interfering with the BLM's operation Thursday.

The First Amendment debacle caught the attention of Gov. Brian Sandoval, who ordered the BLM not to limit the constitutional rights of Nevadans.

But the governor backed off from his statement after violence broke out at Bundy’s ranch:

“The ability to speak out against government actions is one of the freedoms we all cherish as Americans. Today I am asking all individuals who are near the situation to act with restraint,” Sandoval said. “Although tensions remain high, escalation of current events could have negative, long-lasting consequences that can be avoided.”

The ordeal disturbed Jeff Voorhees, a 50-year-old resident of Toquerville, Utah, who called Bundy’s lifestyle “one of the last bastions of American freedom.”

“I’m just trying to take all this in,” he said, looking across the river, toward the militiamen and Bundy’s home.

———

By Ed Komenda - Las Vegas Sun (MCT)

©2014 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)

Visit the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.) at www.lasvegassun.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

truckin

With the info i have heard..
Right or wrong??
jury's out
Federal Government declaring against it's own with definite over reach?
YES
I mean they haven't even arrested him for anything.. So really the way i see it, the fed's really don't believe they have a "real" case, but a definite a act of power/control.
It's just amazing the fed's can surround this man with firepower, snipers and confiscate cattle.
Yet an illegal alien????? "can't really do anything about that"..

Ehovemom

So if whoever originally farmed the area around city parks, reservoirs, etc has a descendant that wants to all the sudden set a bunch of cattle loose to graze for free - that's cool?

truckin

you really have a false sense, of what has been going on in western states for years..
With desert conditions and so much vast open land (100's of miles without a sole) one could not possibly own enough land to feed the cattle which feed us and keep the prices reasonable.
As far as federal land, it is state land that the feds, decided they want and now are using an endangered turtle for the excuse.
Which mind you, they kill 1000's a year of due to over population..
So i am not saying all this is clear.
But what i do realize, this is not the first time the Federal government has flexed it power and (forced) citizens, cities, counties, states. To do whatever they feel is important thru EPA..

I realize we as American's have never known a dictatorship government and feel we live in this Mayberry, it will never happen to us blend.
But look outside the box at how tightly your every move is squeezed and the spying on your every move also. How often you have to ask permission, thru inspection, permit, licensing, etc to do anything! Whether thru card transactions, camera's everywhere, you every move is being watched calculated and controlled.. We just don't see it because we chose not to..
and because this has been such a slow process of control, we just have gotten used to it little by little..
Till all are choked.
Not saying some things aren't great ideas..
But why is every idea the fed's come up with FORCED on us..
if they were so good, wouldn't we just do them?

I thought our forefathers created separate states within a country, for the sole purpose to NEVER allow a one world ruler to do exactly what our fed's are trying to do..
Why even bother having separate state governor's, elections, if you are bound by one ruler on the Potomac?

..look beyond this one intense situation at the broader picture.. How often does the people of a state vote for something or against it, just to have the power of the fed to come in and either thru threat of funding (which is stupid for the states to turn over collected tax money in the first place, just to have to beg for it back) or thru some judicial system, one size fits all ruling mentality.
I for one do not want some ruling class folks 100's or even 1000's of miles telling me what is good for me..
This is my opinion... it's much more than free range options. Right or wrong........MUCH MORE.

Lil DAB

CostOfFreedom

We are not talking about a few dozen acres of city and county land, we are talking about thousands of acres of dessert. He is not trespassing, he is homesteading.

hit the road jack

If you really want to get the skinny on this go to infowars.com and read or view the videos he has of this ordeal,its a over reach of the feds. on a rancher gone awry.

betrump

If he would pay for the permits like all the other ranchers, he'd be fine. But it's been twenty years now, and he still refuses to pay. He's basically stealing our tax dollars and stating that because his great granddaddy did it, he can do it, too. Again, the gov't has been very patient with him for twenty years. I have no sympathy for him at all. What he's doing is criminal.

Ehovemom

Totally agree. Very sad to hear that "militias" are gathering to help him. These ranchers are lowering themselves to the level of street gangs organizing illegally to protect their turf. If you disagree with the government, back a candidate who supports your views. America was not founded to be a lawless country.

CostOfFreedom

Germany was not founded to be a lawless country either. Hitler broke no laws, he simply had new laws written to fit his actions. This example seems extreme, but when BLM comes in with SNIPERS, helicopters, and attack dogs, to protect a tortoise that is scheduled to have 700+ euthenized near the end of the year anyway, there is something else going on.
These ranchers have been regulated out of business, heavy fees or limits that make their business imposssible. He is the last of the 53 ranchers who used to work the land. This is not like releasing your cattle in central park, this is homesteading a wide open dessert, and his family has worked that land for over 100 years.

rbenn

Actually that 's is not true, and your misguided opinion is based on erroneous information put out by the leftist lame stream media.

Rancher Bundy is no bum, but is rather protesting the constitutionally
illegal changes of the conditions of his lease (which predates the
formation of the BLM) to illegally and unconstitutionally force him off
his land.

You state that all other ranchers pay, that too is
patently false. There are no more ranchers in that area, the BLM forced
them all off the land, the Bundy's are the last to go.

Your specious charge that Bundy is a moocher is also indefensible. You call him a moocher as if he's been taking something that does not belong to him, as if he's what? Say enrolled in some federal entitlement program, like food stamps?

Fact is, Bundy made a series of valuable improvements to the land, including putting in and maintaining fences, gates, wells, water pipes and stock tanks and the like. The govt, illegally ripped some if not all of that out behind Bundy's back. He was required to put that stuff in.

Harry Reid and the BLM have been trying to kick all ranchers off of that land to begin a land use mitigation process, in order to begin proceedings to transfer the land to the Chinese and other energy development companies. One of the conditions for the mitigation is there can be no grazing cattle on the land at the time of mitigation. Cattle means the BLM can't release the mitigation funds and Harry Reid does not get paid.

KURTje

First name Cliven........that alone speaks volumes.

JACKEL

Another Ruby Ridge, Riggins Idaho, Waco. The government under the direction of the crooked DOJ. You can bet your sweet butt if it were The Black Panthers no one would have shown up. By the way Kurt, Clive Owens is a good actor, has a son named Cliven. What is your name so we can make fun of it ?

KURTje

Yeah...saw many like these at the peripheral when in military functions. Most of those self-centered non-serving tea-bag types, hence my point. Dillard-Hillard. Arlie-Harlie.

rbenn

you do realize that its state land that he does have water and grazing rights? He also had sent checks to pay the fees but kept getting returned. So because this man defends himself against tyranny you find that a bad thing. Also this is more than just a cattle issue, it has been reported that harry reids stench is all over this, like corp interest in that land. Yep harry reid the same guy who had a bridge and highway built through his property to make him rich, and yes the same guy that funneled money illegally by the way to his granddaughter. So before calling people tea baggers and other stupid names, you might want to sit back and see the crimes the left has committed day in and day out

betrump

Building a highway on your own property is illegal? Interesting...

rbenn

research it he didnt build it he was instrumental in where it ran. hence sky rocketing his property value

hit the road jack

betrump: Why do you think this thief Harry Reid gets away with the crap he does,maybe because his constituants are in Clark Co. Nevada? rbenn is giving you a sample of the thievery this guy has pulled off!

sorryhog

Is the government declaring war on its citizens?

JACKEL

Soon, Bozo is replacing all Military Leaders that won't fire on you with one's that will. They will be coming after your guns.

hit the road jack

Jackel: If these spineless worms ever found out how many Chinese and Russian military personel were already in this country and would shoot their stupid @ss they would crawl under their beds and hide.

somescrewyname

I want to know why is the government willing to kill over some grass? Cattle are grazer, we are talking grass here. And someone needs to explain how your name tells others if your intelligent or not. What I find is when some have to side step and issue with insult it's usually because they have nothing to stand with to argue their side of the issue with. To me it seems simple enough the man thinks the state should supersede the federal, and he would have been willing to pay the state for use of the land , but not the feds.

KURTje

Or ...as much as I detest paying taxes I do. Every year. What would happen if I had not paid since 93? (Like Cliven) Also be glad you don't have Amish for neighbors like my relatives. They have the same mindset as Cliven too.

betrump

I can do whatever I want, and if I wave a gun around yellin' 'Murica, then there will be many that come to my defense, claiming tyranny of the Government. It's laughable.

CostOfFreedom

What is laughable is your misrepresentation of this rancher and the militia men, there is no evidence to your ridiculous claims. Although I can hardly blame you, the average American doesn't have the attention span, drive or patience to sift thru the media BS to find the grains of truth.

betrump

This is no misrepresentation. I know the facts of this case well enough. Perhaps you should double your efforts. He is breaking the law, plain and simple. He has had twenty patient years to fix it. He refuses to. He has no right to the land whatsoever. Just because he says he doesn't believe the United States Federal Government doesn't exist, doesn't make it so.

rbenn

You really need to educate yourself more. Your name should be berump cause your a a$$

betrump

Pot, meet kettle.

rbenn

this is the smoking gun. Read the BLM document entitled Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone Technical note 444. Everything is spelled out in detail. The real story here is how the BLM is intending to destroy the ecosystem of the Dry Lake zone so they need to find another area which has the same plant and animal life as the zone. They chose Gold Butte and mention the need to get rid of the cattle in order to go ahead with the mitigation zone. The mitigation area does not need to be near Dry Lake only contain the same ecosystem. This document is dated March 2014 so clearly they are moving ahead with plans not as the Blaze stated that it was scrapped. Is it coincidence that only a few weeks after the BLM finalizes this document they are trying to get rid of the cattle after 20 years of letting them be? Please, read this document it is very enlightening as to what our govenmentt is doing. Connect the dots people. http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/me...

CostOfFreedom

Talk about breaking the law, can the federal government even own such land?
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 is known as the Enclave Clause. The clause gives federal control over the “Seat of Government” (Washington D.C.) and land that has been purchased by the federal government with consent of the state legislatures to build military posts and other needful buildings (post offices and other structures pursuant to Article I, Section 8). Nothing more.
State permission being a requirement, state authority was explicitly emphasized while drafting this clause. The founders and respective states insisted (with loud cries) that the states must consent before the federal government could purchase land from the states. Nowhere in this clause will you find the power for Congress to exercise legislative authority through regulation over 80% of Nevada, 55% of Utah, 45% of California, 70% of Alaska, or any other state. Unless, of course, the state has given the federal government the formal authority to do so, which they have not.
taken from http://benswann.com/lofti-who-ac...

betrump

Do any of you wing nuts know, by the way, who created the 'law' that this rancher has violated? It was an executive order, and the President in question rhymes with Dragon...
Oh, I can see the heads spinning now!

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