Armed Confrontation Between Rancher and Feds Looms in Nevada

“They have my cattle and now they have one of my boys. Range War begins tomorrow.” That’s yesterday’s deeply worrying prediction from one Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who ran afoul of the feds. abcnews.go.com reports that “Bundy’s beef with federal land management officials dates back to 1993 . . . when Bundy’s allotment for grazing his cattle on public land was modified to include protections for the desert tortoise. Bundy, who told the Associated Press his family has been ranching this part of Nevada since the 1870s, continued to let his cattle graze anyway.” So the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) took his cattle. And then, according to mynews3.com, arrested his son . . .

A son of Mesquite rancher Cliven Bundy has been arrested by Bureau of Land Management rangers.

Dave Bundy was arrested at 4:30 p.m. Sunday as he was in a car parked along State Route 170 near Mesquite.

“He was there to do some filming when about 11 federal agents pulled up and arrested him,” Clive Bundy told News 3. “They said he was outside of the First Amendment area and they took him down. We don’t know where he is now.”

The BLM confirmed the arrest in an emailed statement:

“An individual is in custody in order to protect public safety and maintain the peace,” BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon wrote. “The individual has rights and therefore details about the arrest will not be disclosed until and unless charges are filed.”

Yeah, that ought to de-escalate the situation. From examiner.com:

“He was doing nothing but standing there and filming the landscape,” Ryan Bundy said of his brother Dave. “We were on the state highway, not even off of the right-of-way. Even if they want to call [the area that we were filming] federal land; which it’s not; we weren’t even on it. We were on the road.” . . .

“They also had four snipers on the hill above us all trained on us. We were doing nothing besides filming the area,” Ryan added.

This is looking increasingly like the stand-off and federal assault at Waco. Back to ABC:

Bundy compared his situation to citizens’ confrontations with the federal government at Ruby Ridge and at Waco, Texas.

The station quoted him as saying, “They are the same agents who killed that kid over at Red Rocks,” referring to the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man by two BLM rangers on Feb. 14, near Red Rock Canyon, outside Las Vegas.

Asked by ABC News about that shooting, Cannon said the incident was still under investigation, and that BLM could not comment until the investigation was completed.

Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy, reached by ABC News, said the family and their supporters intended to hold a rally today “to show that we are not standing alone. People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power.”

By noon today Nevada time, about 300 supporters had assembled, a Bundy spokesman, Dwayne Magoon, told ABC News. So, too, he said, had local and federal law enforcement officers. He described the federal agents as being heavily armed. He said that on his way driving to the Bundy ranch, he counted 12 law enforcement vehicles in the course of six miles.

The BLM has described Bundy’s use of the phrase “range war” inflammatory. “We support everyone’s right to exercise their freedom of expression,” Cannon said. But when threats are made, she said, federal authorities have an obligation to ensure safety. She estimated the number of Bundy supporters as being closer to 100.

No doubt gun owners in Connecticut, New York and Maryland are watching the story with interest. As Sgt. Patrick Hayes pointed out in a recent editorial, confrontation with government agents over “assault weapon” and “high capacity magazine” registration is likely to be Federally-instigated. Meanwhile Mrs. Bundy knows what it’s like to go up against the feds. “We’re not pointing guns at anyone but we’re sure getting a lot of guns pointed at us.”