A standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and supporters of Cliven Bundy, the rancher at the center of a public land debate, has temporaraily ended when Bundy supporters met armed federal land managers with weapons of their own.
Bundy has been in a 20 year dispute with the BLM over grazing on public lands. Bundy owes over a million dollars in back grazing fees and as a result, the cattle grazing on the public land were confiscated.
Typically if you don't pay your bills your service is shut off. If you don't pay your rent, you're evicted. In this case, if you don't pay your grazing fees, escalate the situation until guns are drawn on both sides and you'll be just fine.
Bundy not only owes $1.1 million in grazing fees, his grazing rights were revoked in 1993 in order to federally protect the Desert Tortoise.
The BLM has backed down since the armed standoff and Bundy's cows have been returned. Fox News has been championing Bundy as a symbol for the token American cowboy standing up to Washington bureaucrats. Tucker Carlson claimed the federal agents exacerbated the issue by showing up with snarling dogs, behavior that should be reserved for a drug cartel, not an elderly rancher. But are the ranchers not members of the grievance industry, who seek handouts from the government (free land to graze cattle who will eat grass, gain weight and grow into profitable beef)? Should the ranchers not be responsible for purchasing their own land and raising their own equity through free market channels to support their businesses? Isn't Bundy a system-sucking criminal?
Western ranchers have long fought with the federal government over land rights, usually stemming from the protection of wildlife or natural resource on land used for raising beef cattle and over the years several wild species have been forced off their habitats by herds of invasive cattle.
For now, Bundy appears victorious in his unlawful fight for free land. The fact that the protesters drew weapons on federal managers and not only forced their retreat and were not punished for threatening federal officers leads me to believe that environmentalists should simply up the ante when protesting against environmental grievances. Short of money, firepower is the loudest voice in the country.