Like I always say, I am no more afraid of big government than I am of vigilantes, who might go under the name of or carry the banner of militias or the Tea Party. To be clear, I realize government can get so big and powerful that it can destroy our personal freedoms (spying on our every move via cell phones and the internet, and drones?).
Out in the wilds of Nevada an outlaw rancher who seems to think he can graze his cattle of federal lands without paying the required fees has gained the support of that vigilante-type fringe. And some opportunist politicians and ratings-driven right-wing talk show hosts have joined the cause and elements of the amorphous Tea Party have given him their backing — I mean if it’s against the government, they’re all in.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, though, has come out against the rancher’s actions, calling his supporters “domestic terrorists”. And if he is referring to the extreme element I would agree.
One fairly reasonable right-wing talk show host (I know a kind of oxymoron) said that some of the protestors in the rancher’s favor seemed to be every-day people. And that may be true. It also may be true that they are the kind of every-day people who are swayed by propaganda. That host conceded that the rancher was breaking the law.
I mean isn’t the right-wing all for law and order?
This rancher, and sorry, I should write his name, Cliven Bundy, is breaking the law and has been all through the courts and continually lost. He has wild claims that the land does not belong to the federal government, that it belongs to the state (is he paying the state?), and that he has special rights, well because his family has been there for a long time.
Now to be fair, as I understand it, part of the beef (intentional play on words) he has is that the feds keep reducing the number of cattle allowed on federal lands, sometimes using the excuse, among other things, that the desert tortoise habitat needs to be preserved. And I wouldn’t know, maybe it does. I mean killing off a species just so we can have more hamburgers does not seem wise to me.
Things change. The world has moved on. Bundy is said to be the only cattle rancher left in his area.
I could probably work up some sympathy for him. But it seems to me, he, as everyone else, is obligated to work within the law.
Things got ugly the other day when federal officers tried to round up his cattle trespassing on federal land. A group of supporters stood in the way and reportedly assaulted some of the feds, and there were reports of Tasers used on Bundy and the citizens. In the end the feds backed off and have reportedly resolved to try to work things out peacefully.
And one story going around is that Sen. Reid, remember? who called the mob “domestic terrorists”, actually wants federal land used for solar projects, which his son in involved in, or at least that his son is involved in some solar project and there is some kind of connection, and furthermore, the question is asked: don’t solar projects endanger the desert tortoise? So the solar thing about the Reid father and son may or may not have any validity, but time does march on and we change our ways of doing things. It may or may not be that in the long run solar poses more advantages for the people as a whole than allowing cattle ranchers to graze on public lands — I don’t know.
But what I do know is that I prefer a government run by democratically elected officials to be in charge, not the mob.
Down Mexico way local vigilantes have taken on the drug cartels with some success that the Mexican government has not had — problem is in some cases the local vigilantes have turned out to be as lawless and as dangerous to the safety of the people as the drug cartels.