I have been watching with interest, and with growing concern, the chain of events as they unfold in Clark County, Nevada with regards to Cliven Bundy’s fight with the Federal Government. The back story is this: In 1993 the Bureau of Land Management, a federal government agency, declared public grazing land, owned by the State of Nevada, was now under control of the Federal Government. A decision made allegedly to protect a species of land tortoise that lived in the area. Consequently, ranchers who had been using the land for over 100 years were ordered to pay fees to the Federal Government to use lands owned by the State of Nevada. When Mr. Bundy refused to pay this fee to the Federal Government, he was sued by the Federal Government, in Federal Court, and he lost the case. Mr. Bundy’s contention is that the federal government has no authority to collect fees on lands owned by the state. In essence, he is claiming this is a constitutionally protected states rights issue. He has further stated he is willing to pay the money to the state, but not to the federal government.
Now, after 20 years the Federal Government has decided to enforce the court order. Since Mr. Bundy refused to remove his cattle from the land, the Feds, specifically the Bureau of land management, are utilizing force to accomplish this end. This force includes a large number of armed Federal Employees, helicopters, armed snipers, and other tactics to enforce the order. As a law-abiding citizen, the first impulse is to think that an individual should follow the order of the court. But, if the court does not have legal jurisdiction over the disputed land, is the order legal, or legally enforceable. That is the part where I start to have a problem. In my opinion, this is another over reach of the Federal Government. The same federal government who regularly disregards constitutionally protected rights, such as we have recently witnessed with abuses of the IRS and the NSA. As evidence of the contempt the Federal Government shows for the Constitution, the Bureau of Land management has declared two “1st Amendment Zones” in the area of the protests. These zones are 200 by 200 feet areas that citizens are allowed to use to exercise their right to free speech. The zone rules mandate that only 25 people are allowed in a zone at any one time, and only one zone at a time can have an active speaker. This concept is ludicrous and frightening. The last I knew, the United States of America is a Free Speech Zone. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” obviously, there is no language in the text restricting these rights to “zones”. Are American citizens legally required to follow illegal orders issued by an authority that has no right to issue the order? I think not.
At some point “We the People” have lost authority over the Federal Government, and the Federal Government has assumed the authority over the people. This whole scenario is very disturbing. The American People, by virtue of being an American, are willing to stand and fight for their rights. The Constitution of the united States authorized them to do so. Apparently the Clark County, Nevada, Commissioners are afraid of the might of the Federal Government for they are unwilling to take a stand on behalf of the citizens of Clark County. Apparently, the Governor of the State of Nevada is afraid of the might of the Federal Government, since the Governor is not willing to take a stand on behalf of the Citizens of the State of Nevada. What choice do the Citizens have but to stand up and fight for themselves. The ranchers in Nevada are fighting for their livelihoods. What is the federal government fighting for, a turtle’s right to exist? Common sense indicates there is more at stake here than a turtle. I think there is something to be gained by the State of Nevada that is not obvious. And of course, money is always the big motivator. This is an assumption on my part, nothing more.
The American people need to realize that this is bigger than one rancher in Nevada, bigger than the needs of a turtle. America is supposed to be the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, not the land of the oppressed and the home of the meek. Was nothing learned from Waco and Ruby Ridge? We are a nation of laws, and that should be a two-way street.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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