I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. The Bundy Ranch’s beef with the Bureau of Land Management is not a perfect example of government overreach. The confrontation between Cliven Bundy and the BLM over grazing rights on federal land is a complicated, long-running affair informed by Mr. Bundy’s highly combative nature. That said, the rancher’s supporters seem determined not to let the perfect be the enemy of the bad. (As in bad Uncle Sam, bad!) Over at the New York Times, op-ed writer Timonthy Egan leads the left’s charge against the BLM’s antagonists, blasting Bundy and his band of Big Government bashers with both barrels. Check this out . . .
This phony event has brought out the worst of the gun-waving far right, and the national politicians who are barely one degree of separation from them. Hundreds of heavily armed, camouflaged supporters of the scofflaw turned out Saturday in Nevada, training their rifles on public employees who were trying to do their job. The outsiders looked like snipers ready to shoot the police. If you changed that picture to Black Panthers surrounding a lawful eviction in the inner city, do you think right-wing media would be there cheering the outlaws?
I don’t suppose Egan realizes that Ronald Reagan reacted to armed Black Panthers [legally] entering the State House by enacting California’s most draconian [up to that point] gun control law. If that open carry event was intentionally inflammatory – and it was – Egan’s writing is worse. Never mind the fact that the BLM had snipers trained on the demonstrators. Egan’s claim that the demonstrators “looked like snipers ready to shoot the police” is libel wrapped in a metaphor.
With their assault rifles and threats, the thugs in the desert forced federal officials with the Bureau of Land Management to back down from a court-ordered confiscation of Bundy’s cattle. One of the rancher’s supporters, Richard Mack, a Tea Party leader who is in the National Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame, said he planned to use women as human shields in a violent showdown with law enforcement.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up front,” Mack said in a radio interview. “If they were going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot.”
Notice how Egan sidesteps the fact that Richard Mack is Sheriff Richard Mack. As for the unfortunate quote, well, there it is. It’s just one arrow in a quiver of slurs, insults and mischaracterizations Egan brings to bear in his campaign to discredit Fox News, Senator Rand Paul, the Tea Party, the Drudge Report, militia “extremists” and “armed thugs.” In other words, conservatives.
Reading between the lines, Egan is setting-up justification for a violent crack down on armed Americans. It’s more subtle than Senator Reid’s claim that Bundy and his supporters are “domestic terrorists,” but make no mistake: battle lines are being drawn. I’m not the only one reading between the lines. Here’s a comment from Bohemienne underneath Egan’s Op Ed Deadbeat on the Range:
Well, the photo says a lot about what America has become. Some scruffy, bearded semi-literate Fox News cultist aiming an assault rifle at lawful representatives of the United States government, backed up by his woman and a bunch of yahoos capturing it all on cell phone cameras like it’s a shooting gallery at the local amusement park. “Love ma country but hate ma gubmint!” type who couldn’t actually read the Constitution if you had that rifle pointed at HIS head.
I hate to say it but I’d rather have seen another Waco than yet more caving by the Obama administration to the radical right-wing lunatic fringe.
And there you have it. Or, I pray, not. But if it does happen – if the federal government decides to take on armed Americans in some dusty party of Nevada or in a neighborhood of manicured lawns in Connecticut – they will get a lot more than they bargained for. Despite the murky morality of Bundy’s “cause” his crusade against Big Government resonates with tens of millions of armed Americans. And that’s the truth.