What’s your response to Bundy Ranch?

By Neal McNamara | April 16, 2014
Range Showdown

What began 20 years ago as an effort to save a turtle species culminated last week with a standoff between federal agents and armed militiamen, and was compounded by a theory that Nevada U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and his son cooked up the affair to help Chinese businessmen build a solar array.

The situation at the Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nev., was certainly strange and shocking.

Talking about the affair days after federal Bureau of Land Management employees retreated from the area, KTTH hosts Todd Herman and Chris Widener wondered where the sympathies of non-militia conservatives stand.

Here’s the background: 20 years ago, the BLM began reducing the amount of grazing land near Bunkerville, supposedly to save the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise. Local rancher Cliven Bundy, 60, continued to use the land, for which the BLM charged fees. Bundy refused to pay, and now owes over $1 million. So, last week, with a court order, federal agents began taking Bundy’s cattle.

After the story was reported in conservative and mainstream media, armed militiamen began showing up in Bunkerville to fight for Bundy’s right use the land. On April 12, some 200 federal agents decided to leave the scene, facing down nearly 1,000 militiamen. They also returned Bundy’s cattle.

“This was Waco times 10; this was Waco with people willing to shoot back; this was Waco with armed combatants,” Widener said.

“I am not a big fan of Americans shooting at Americans – and I am thankful that the BLM retreated,” Herman said. “I want to go on record for saying, thanks for stepping back. If you’ve been tracking this story, where do your sympathies lay?”

Add to the imagery of armed Americans facing off against federal agents the Reid storyline. The head of the BLM is Neil Kornze, a former Reid aide. Some think that Reid and Kornze were helping Reid’s son clear the land so he could work with Chinese investors to build a solar panel array – a plan that was in the works, at least up until a few years ago.

On top of that, Reid said eerily on Monday “It’s not over” of the situation in Bunkerville. Some seem to think there will be more showdowns in the future. 

Widener and Herman took calls from listeners who seemed split on the Bundy situation.

“I think [Cliven Bundy] is kind of a jackass,” said caller Jared. “It’s the commons; it’s people’s land. If I wanted to start a 20-acre farm in the middle of Marymoor Park and reap a profit from it, would I get 1,000 armed militiamen coming down there for me? It seems pretty unlikely.”

“I’ve been watching the situation on Fox News. It’s not a question of back taxes; it’s a question of eminent domain. This family goes back generations raising their cattle on Nevada land that’s open range,” said Jamie from Olympia. “It’s about a trumped up reason for the federal government to seize state land.”

“Where do your sympathies lay and what should be our response in this?” Herman wondered.

LISTEN: HERMAN AND WIDENER DISCUSS BUNDY RANCH

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