The chaotic scene was summed up in its entirety with the shout of an enraged protestor, “This is America! This is f***ed up!”
America, this was not your usual day in Clark Country. If you were to get off of Highway 170 and onto Riverside Road on any other date than April 10, 2014, you would find a quiet, arid grounds, with the only exception to noise being the subtle chomping of Bundy Ranch cattle grazing on public fields. Yet, it was this public grazing that brought the FBI storming into Clark County in the first place. This did not come to be without more than 20 years of warnings however.
Cliven Bundy, the 67-year-old owner of Bundy Ranch, is one of many Nevada ranchers to carry the Bundy name. Since the 1870s, his family has run its ranch on the public grounds of Clark County.
Bundy’s initial conflict with authority began in 1993, when the government removed his grazing permit and charged him for his use of public property. In 1998, the government issued the Gold Butte area (where the ranch is located) as “critical” to the survival of the endangered desert tortoise population. Thereby denying any commercial use to the property.
For 21 years, Bundy’s cattle continued to graze on their usual feeding grounds undisturbed. After all that time, hell finally broke loose on Thursday. The FBI showed up to impound Bundy’s cattle, but they would not do so without first meeting a very angry group of protestors, many of which being of Bundy descent.
The FBI took 134 of an estimated 900 cattle before being run out by seething objectors. Even though much of his discontent comes from an economic standpoint, Bundy claims this is more than a matter of forced livestock removal.
“This is a lot bigger than just my cows,” Bundy told FoxNews.com. “It’s a statement for freedom and liberty and the Constitution.”
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spokeswoman, Kristen Cannon, responded plainly.
“Mr. Bundy has been in trespass of public lands for more than 20 years,” Cannon said.
Cannon also said Bundy owes the federal government over $1 million dollars in unpaid grazing fees. That payment might not voluntarily happen, as Bundy believes the land is property of the people of Clark County, not the federal government, which he also put plainly.
“We own this land,” Bundy said.
Bundy confirmed he would pay fees to Clark County, but would do no such thing for the BLM. In a televised interview on Fox News’ show “Hannity,” Bundy was asked how far he would be willing to take this matter. Again, he answered plainly.
“My statement to the American people is I will do whatever it takes to get our freedom and liberties back,” Bundy said.
(Photo Courtesy of @LukeThomason via Twitter)
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