Range wars are not necessarily a thing of the past. You see, there is a very well lobbied contingent of Good Country Folk™ being manhandled by the evil liberal book-learnin’ tree-huggin’ communist government that hates everything Christmas, Free Enterprise, God, Guns, and Homeskooling.
Turns out that same evil communist government gets their panties in a wad when Good Country Folk™ take advantage of grazing permits on public lands, sold for a pittance. Such is the case of American Patriot™ Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher that wore out his grazing permit welcome to the tune of about 900 too many cattle, and has been feuding with the evil liberal communist government for around 20 years.
Bundy, 68, has refused to pay BLM grazing fees since 1993, arguing in court filings that his Mormon ancestors worked the land long before the BLM was formed, giving him rights that predate federal involvement. His back fees exceed $300,000, he says. The government puts the tab above $1 million.
Oddly, no word from the Native American contingent, that pre-dates his Mormon ancestors, but I digress…
The government agency that monitors the rangelands is the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and they’ve essentially told Bundy either manage your cattle, or we’ll confiscate them, because after 20 years we’re really super duper tired of your bullshit. And by the way, there’s a drought, competition for space, and the land cannot sustain unfettered grazing of the cattle you refuse to manage or pay for.
In Good Country Folk™-speak, that translates to:
Government won’t stay out of my business and thinks some gosh durn salamander is more important than me grazing my stock wherever I want to ‘put food on my family’ because some sciencey God-hating liberal environmentalist told them 900 extra cattle damages public land or somethin’ crazy like that.
Bundy, a millionaire, decided the best way to rally for his cause was go full metal wingnut and paint some signs.
Because it’s Good Country Folk™ vs. Communists. Always.
In the last few weeks Bundy had indicated that an “army” of supporters would protest the operation.
Mind you, the BLM’s feral cattle roundup is happening in Nevada. However, in nearby Utah, where Bundy’s son lives, red-blooded Patriots™ supporting Bundy’s cause…
…threatened the BLM that if they go ahead with the Impound action in Nevada they and their sheriff will “do whatever it takes” to control the wild horse population in their area, implying that they will start slaughtering them [in violation of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Protection Act of 1971] because they claim that the BLM has not done enough to control them on the grazing lands.
Basically, they’re saying they’ll illegally kill legally protected animals in Utah because the government has leaned on their anti-government folk hero who’s grazing more than 900 cattle illegally on public lands in Nevada. [Because, dammit, that’s what Jesus would do. //]
Yesterday afternoon (Sunday, 4/6) the first confrontation between the Bundys and Federal officials resulted in the arrest of Dave Bundy, a 37 year old son of rancher Cliven Bundy.
Don’t think such martyrdom would go unnoticed at the usual wingnut rest stops across the internet. No, millionaire free enterprise lovin’ law breakin’ Bundy is being oppressed, and it’s time freedom fighters subscribed to a 21st century range war.
First Amendment mention grabs them every time. Wingnuts are powerless to resist.
And while signs stir their loins, impassioned speeches galvanize them completely. Dog whistle: tortoises. Dog whistle: showdown. Dog whistle: environmentalists. Add guns and Jesus and First Amendment and lots of red meat “that ends up on your table.” Stir with a stick. Yes, you get every bit the clusterfuck it promises.
I’ve warned everyone about these rural salt-of-the-earth wackos, that have only become more emboldened and hostile with each day they tune into wingnut news and radio, re-affirming their victimhood. They’re armed, they’re crazy, they’re righteous, and they’re mega pissed off. This “little” range war going on in Nevada/Utah may be the first time they’ve come out from under their rocks to show America the free range freak show they truly represent.