COMMENTARY | Cliven Bundy is a Nevada rancher whose 20 year plus long dispute with the federal government has every potential of turning into a blood bath, thanks to the ham handed actions of the Bureau of Land Management.
Bundy has been arguing with the feds for quite some time over the latter’s demand that he pay grazing fees, which he says he is not obligated to do as he owns the ranch which has been in his family since 1870. The feds claim that some of his cattle have been grazing on federal land that surrounds the ranch and therefore he must pay.
Oddly enough hundreds of heavily armed federal agents have not shown up around his property, seizing cattle and abusing protestors, for that. The excuse for the armed invasion seems to be the presence of an endangered species of tortoise near the ranch.
Whatever the legality of what the BLM is doing, it seems that the bureau has sparked a dispute between the state of Nevada and the federal government and heavily armed federal agents and local protestors, some of which claim to be militia members. Bundy has made some heated statements about a “range war” an understandable sentiment considering that he is looking down the barrels of a lot of guns. This is the same sort of toxic formula that led to Waco and Ruby Ridge 20 odd years ago.
With all of the self-inflicted headaches the Obama administration has endured, the last thing it needs is an exchange of gunfire between federal agents and the locals. It might technically “win” the resulting battle, but it would lose politically amidst the spectacle of armed troops putting down a crusty old rancher and his family. A lot of people are already paranoid at the administration’s willingness to use government power to oppress and suppress its enemies. A blood bath in Nevada would be all the proof that is needed. A reaction at the polls in November may be the least the White House has to worry about.
The smart thing to do would be for the BLM to back off and then try to find some peaceful resolution to the dispute. But the Obama regime has not been prone to doing the smart thing thus far.