Letter Re: Bundys in Nevada

Hi Hugh,

I found your blog a few days ago and really enjoy reading it. I would like to comment on the sentiment expressed in one of the links you posted in “Odds ‘n Sods” today– Judge Openly laughs at Bundy Ranch Defendants Rights.

First, I agree that our courts are corrupt, many judges are openly undermining our Constitution and Rule of Law, and denying a defendant’s rights and then laughing about it is inexcusable.

What I disagree with is the idea that the Bundy family is a bunch of “patriots” standing up to “the tyrannical state.” In my opinion, what they are is a family that feels entitled to use public land as if it was their own. They don’t own the land; they lease it. If they won’t abide by the terms of the lease, then they can and should be given a chance to meet the terms of the lease, but if they won’t then the landlord (in this case the BLM) has the right to evict them and try to collect back rent.

I’ve had an experience with a rancher like this near Reno. I was hunting on public land (fenced but BLM) when an armed “guard” approached me and informed me I’d have to get off of “private property” as I was trespassing on a ranch (with not a cow or steer in sight). I left; I wasn’t going to fight it out with an armed “guard”, and I figured maybe I was wrong about it being BLM land. Later when I checked, it was (is) in fact BLM land, but some “rancher” thinks it’s his to use as if he owned it.

I might be wrong about the Bundy family, and if they don’t interfere with hunters, hikers, campers, et cetera on “their” public land I’ll change my mind. As long as they keep acting and talking like they own it though, it’s very hard for me to have much sympathy for them.

HJL’s Comment: The Bundys are probably not the best example nor is the whole issue the best court case. Similarly, it took a long time before “D.C. vs Heller” presented itself as the right case to bring the issue of gun ownership before the Supreme Court. SurvivalBlog has been cautious from the beginning about the Bundys, as we saw many issues with how they were setting up the conflict. However, it is the case that sits before us, and there are serious issues in the court cases where the government has stacked the deck in their own favor. If the abuses of the Feds continues unchecked, it makes it more difficult the next time the issue has to be dealt with. It would certainly be nice if a clean-cut case presented itself in the complex issues surrounding the BLM and Federal ownership of large swaths of land, but in the meantime this is what we have to work with, and we need to make the best of it. You may not like the Bundy’s and you may not even agree with their politics or their actions, but the issues are real and they are a danger to each one of us.


  1. I would be happy to discuss the “big picture” issues of the Bundy cases with you. I am a conservative Democrat not involved in the Patriot movement but was on the front lines of government overreach last year. I am a daily reader of Survivalblog. Oregon Attorney

    1. Given that I do not know the details of the case under discussion, I want to ask a broader question, or start a broader debate- – -were you ever in debate back in school? Remember you’d get a position to argue? One of you would take one side and one would take the other? Suppose I wanted to argue that ranchers in the West are actually freeloaders. We tax payers lease them our land at rates that are deliberately kept below market value, and they sell us their beef at prices that do not reflect the corporate welfare they have received? What would your response be? If there are facts of which I am not aware, please state them.

      1. A few points GD,
        1. The majority of beef you eat doesnt come from open ranges, they come from feedlots. Chances are, you dine on corn fed beef. feed corn grown on private land. “Corporate” welfare in the direction you are pointing it = tax breaks for small businesses. meaning the family farm that incorporated.. would you be as willing to give up the tax breaks you are given as an employee because of the gripes of people who have no idea of your life or livelihood?. ( take into account the parts of the country you are talking about.)

        2. The ” freeloading” problem isnt really a problem. I live in the west, and I can tell you that it is indeed a nonissue for the people who it seemingly affects…bare un-used, undeveloped land, and most of the time with no roads

        3… And really, what difference would any of it make to the Governments bottom line?, or the Taxpayers wallet? Who directly will benefit driving ranchers out of their small business operations in Eastern Washington or Oregon… what will you do with bare undeveloped land that the public has had no interest in? until the media suggested somebody might be paying rent on, that could be raised?

  2. I think the Bundys were more of an example of Governments reaction to public disagreement and less about the Bundys individual situation.
    Had the Government approached the problem with more diplomacy and tact, instead of taking the all to familiar position of brute force as their go-to response, it would have shed more light on the real problem. But instead it ended up the way it always does. They blast away at people who seemingly have a legitimate gripe, in an effort to distract the public from the real issues. Every problem of government overreach is painted as a bunch of malcontent crazies who hate the federal Government, so they must be shut down by any means necessary.

    1. @L.O., One of the issues that stands out to me is the concept of LE and/or military stating that they would never turn on the American People. Yet, with this whole issue, what we have seen is that the Feds and the media engaged in a de-humanizing campaign so that when the Bundy party was fired upon, most Americans never even batted an eye (if they didn’t outright state that Bundy’s were crazy and Finicum deserved it.) This shows that Americans will turn on fellow Americans if they are convinced that a) It is the right thing to do or b) They can get away with it.
      We live in scary times.

      1. @Hugh,
        The gauge i use to determine the effectiveness of LE’s campaign to win hearts and minds is my local county fair. The number of people stopping by their PR booths over the last few years have steadily declined. Last year I watched more folks ( and their kids ) avoiding it than stopping by for a quick atta boy. That coupled with being forced to lower the moral character, integrity bar in order to improve their chances to attract new recruits is telling the story the media refuses to tell. But they are quickly finding out that a significant portion of the population isnt buying their wares anymore and are looking elsewhere for their news.

  3. Here is the elephant in the room that no one talks about: “PUBLIC” lands are against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. There is NOWHERE in either document that authorizes the Federal Government to hold land, rent it out, decide what citizens can or cannot use said land, how that land can be used, and then use the full force of a taxpayer funded quasi military to enforce said rules. Roosevelt created the national parks fiasco and he was way out of his wheelhouse in doing so.
    Think the Bundys are out of line for sticking up for themselves? Read up on the plans that former Senator Harry Reid and his business partners & relatives have for all of the ranches in that area. It involves big money to be made from foreign sources. And those $$$ aren’t going to the taxpayers.

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