The story of Cliven Bundy and his battle with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been going on for a long time. Since 1993, Bundy and his family have been fighting with the federal government over his claim to grazing rights on public land that had been worked by his family for over a century, long before the BLM ever existed. The government decided to change the rules in 1993, ostensibly to protect the desert tortoise. All the other ranchers in the area have been driven out of business. The last man standing is Cliven Bundy. Bundy has maintained that the federal government has no claim on the land, and that it belongs to the people of Clark County, Nevada.
The dispute escalated last week when federal agents from the BLM descended on the land and the cattle 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Several hundred agents, fully armed, showed up with helicopters, backhoes, dump trucks, and a fleet of shiny SUVs from the federal government’s motor pool. Immediately, they began rounding up Bundy’s cattle. They intimidated anyone who attempted to stop them, which included using tasers and police dogs, and arresting one of Bundy’s sons.
By late in the week, it became clear that the BLM agents believed they had they firepower on their side to impose their will on the Bundy family. That’s when I, and thousands of like-minded patriots, decided that enough was enough. I had been covering the story and spoke with Cliven Bundy on the phone on Thursday. It was then that I decided that I would take the Walsh Freedom movement to Nevada to join the fight.
Hundreds of patriots had already arrived in Bunkerville, Nevada. They were camping out near the Bundy Ranch, showing support for the cause and marshaling an army of citizen patriots against the tyranny of big government. By the time my boots hit the ground on Saturday morning, the number of patriots had swelled to several thousand. The message was clear: the federal government couldn’t simply impose its will on a free people.
There may be some places in the world where tyrants can use a show of might to intimidate people into complying with their wishes. But I’ve always believed that America is different.
As I was en route to the Bundy Ranch on Saturday morning, we received word that a deal had been brokered between Cliven Bundy and the BLM. That deal had been in the works for weeks and was largely the work of Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie. It’s unclear what the terms of the deal are, but shortly after a meeting between Gillespie and Bundy, the BLM issued a statement:
Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.
We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner.
It became clear that the federal government had overplayed its hand, and as the crowds had grown in the past 24 hours, any continued effort to seize cattle from Bundy would be met with resistance. The voice of the people was heard loud and clear, and the feds backed down.
When I arrived at the Bundy Ranch in the early afternoon, I was met by a throng of patriots. These were men and women from across the country who were gathering together to support a single rancher in his battle with the BLM, but they were supporting the larger ideals of individual liberty, personal freedom, and limited government. I met families who were waving American flags. I met a group that was giving away free food and water along with copies of the Constitution. I met ranchers from across the western states who had been driven their lands by government regulation and intimidation. We were all standing with Cliven Bundy as he awaited word on the fate of his impounded cattle.
In the meantime, several miles away a group of several thousand patriots waited behind a hastily erected fence as the BLM slowly packed up their operation and departed. The hours dragged on as we waited for the promises of Sheriff Gillespie to com to fruition.
Then, a call came into the ranch, and Cliven Bundy was summoned to a meeting with Sheriff Gillespie. Bundy departed the ranch, and I joined him as we awaited the the resolution to this standoff.
Finally, just before 1pm local time, the cattle that had been impounded by the BLM were released, under the authority of the Clark County Sheriff. It was a true honor to be with Cliven Bundy at that moment, as he awaited the return of his cattle. I could tell by the look on his face and the stress in his voice that he knows what all of us must acknowledge — this isn’t truly over.
Today, we won an important victory in the battle against big government. We won using the tactic that has won us many victories. We joined together and let our voices be heard. As talk radio, social media, grassroots activists, and boots-on-the-ground patriots joined together, we could not be ignored. The will of the people overcame the tyranny of big government. But we should be smart enough to know that this isn’t the end.
The BLM could easily show up again tomorrow, next week, or next month. They’ve already spent millions of taxpayer dollars in their crusade against Cliven Bundy. At some point when the crowds disperse and the television lights go dark, the BLM may very well return, with their guns, their helicopters, and their shiny white SUVs.
We must be vigilant.
We cannot allow this singular victory to turn our focus away from this fight. The liberals and progressives are already smearing this victory. They are claiming that it was the, “scary armed militias,” that forced the government to back down. They are painting the crowds in Nevada today as kooks on the fringe. They’re painting Cliven Bundy as a deadbeat and a freeloader. They are doing all of this because it opens the door for more government regulation, intervention, and intimidation.
We must be vigilant.
We must continue to focus like a laser on this fight, and fights like this, wherever they may be fought. This week, it was in Bunkerville, Nevada, and this is where it may return. This week it was a fight over property and grazing rights.
Next week the fight will be somewhere else. It may be about education, or health care, or taxes. Big government casts a long shadow. We must be prepared to take the fight wherever it must be fought.
We must be vigilant. Are you ready? It’s time to grow up and be free.