Bundy Ranch stirs controversy

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By Thomas Scott

Since 1993, cattle rancher Cliven Bundy has refused to pay grazing fees to the federal government. In April, Federal authorities backed by a court order attempting to impound Bundy’s cattle, only to be confronted by droves of armed citizens who had taken up Bundy’s cause.

After removing about 400 head of cattle from federal land, agents from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) backed off due what it referred to as “grave concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”

The impact of liberty-movement militias cannot be ignored.  According to Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford, militiamen have “set up checkpoints where residents are required to prove they live in the area before being allowed to pass.”

The presence of armed militiamen has ruffled feathers in the local community. Members of Bundy’s church reportedly called the police after Bundy showed up to services with militiamen serving as bodyguards.

Bundy was later advised of the Mormon Church’s zero tolerance policy regarding firearms within its premises.

Yet, even though the BLM concluded its operations close to a month ago, the militiamen have yet to depart.

Meanwhile, there are fears of a potential drone attack at the ranch.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oathkeepers, who are self-proclaimed “Guardians of the Republic,” alleged in late April that a source within the Department of Defense informed them of an imminent drone strike authorized by Attorney General Eric Holder.

As head of the Department of Justice, Holder denied the legality of drone strikes against American citizens on U.S soil in a letter to Senator Rand Paul last March.

Meanwhile, a temporary flight restriction (TFR, or what some call a “no-fly zone”) that was initially placed over the Bundy Ranch was supposed to remain in effect until May 11, after the Bundy family released aerial photos of a worksite close to the ranch on their blog and Facebook page.

However, the TFR only lasted one day, despite the fact that it was originally issued for 30 days.

Several other documents were also removed from the BLM’s website, including one page documenting the impact of Bundy’s cattle’s trespasses.

Bundy also drew criticism after comments about African Americans in which he said he was curious if “they [were] better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or … better off under government subsidy.”

According to journalist Ben Swann, Bundy also praised Mexican Americans, asserting that members of that group often have “have a stronger family structure than many white people.”

He also dispelled other stereotypes regarding Mexican Americans, saying, “Don’t tell me they don’t work and they don’t pay taxes.”

Black Republican Senatorial Candidate Derrick Grayson traveled to Bundy’s Ranch and held a press conference with Bundy on Sunday. Grayson hopes to fill the seat left by two-term Senator Saxby Chambliss.

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