Thoughts on the Bundy range war
April 18, 2014
The Bundy range squabble in Nevada has been educational. Only our federal government would decide to gather cattle while they are calving. The fact that cattle that have not calved would be easier to handle, would not require keeping the cows and calves paired up, and would be easier to sell at a sale ring was entirely overlooked by the professional managers at the Bureau of Land Management. Probably there were delays to their plan when they discovered that they were behind on diversity training and the need to revise their Earth Day celebration website. Cowboy logic is a little scarce at the BLM.
I was astounded at seeing the BLMs First Amendment zone. You could build your own free speech area at home with a little plastic snow fence. All this time I thought the Constitution was the supreme law of the land but now I see that it is a very small place designated by the federal government. Maybe I will write the BLM and ask them where the Second Amendment area is, as I would like to visit it this summer. The Tenth Amendment Area was lost around the time of the Civil War. If the BLM archeologists ever find it, I am certain they will let us know where we can visit it.
The sight of the BLM having a dump truck and backhoe on the gather was disturbing. While the BLM claimed it was to repair resource damage, a mass grave of killed cattle was later discovered. It is no wonder the BLM wanted the First Amendment area far away from what they were doing. Equally troubling were images of heavily armed federal agents facing ordinary Americans. Tasers and police dogs are ugly symbols of brute force.
Mr. Bundy is probably wrong on most of the legal issues except the largest one. The existence of public land states and private land states in itself is unconstitutional. There cannot be two classes of states in our Union. New states were to be admitted on equal footing with the existing states. In the entire West, every other acre still belongs to the federal government. The process that transferred federal lands to private individuals was stopped by executive order of President Roosevelt in 1934. Since that time the federal government has returned vast amounts of private land to public land. The founders of our country never envisioned public land states. They would not have created the District of Columbia had the founders not wanted to limit the amount of land controlled by the federal government. That pit full of dead cows in Nevada is now a monument to what federal land brings to all of us.