By April 14, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

The Feds Back Down In Armed Standoff… These Are The Pictures of ‘The Battle of Bunkerville’

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It’s not about cattle it’s about civil rights… at least that’s what several signs carried by protesters supporting rancher Cliven Bundy read. Hundreds of heavily armed militia members and private citizens came out to protest what they considered the encroachment on freedom by federal law enforcement officers on Saturday.

Celebration continued throughout Sunday after the armed crowd secured the release of Cliven Bundy’s captured cattle, and federal law enforcement politely asked to be “allowed” to leave without incident.

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The Bureau of Land Management was embarrassingly forced to retreated from its high profile standoff with Bundy after they temporarily forcibly captured nearly 1,000 of his cattle.

Militia members and others organized via social media, showing up at corrals outside Mesquite, demanding that the animals be returned to the Nevada rancher.

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Bundy, 67, says that he doesn’t recognize federal authority on land that he says belongs to Nevada as a state, rather than to the federal government. Constitutionally, it seems that he is correct. But that hasn’t stopped the federal government from trying to collect an exorbitant amount of “grazing taxes” from him.

Bundy’s family has been grazing cattle on the same land since 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville near the Utah and Arizona lines.

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The stand-off was enabled in many ways by the use of social media by Bundy’s supporters. One man, who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he traveled from Idaho to support Bundy. Several armed friends accompanied him. They were far from an isolated case.

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“If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,” Scott said, in his camouflage pants and a black flak jacket. He answered questions asked by a variety of reporters as he crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an assault rifle.

“I’m ready to pull the trigger if fired upon,” Scott continued.

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But that never happened. The threat of having fire returned upon them by a huge number of Bundy’s supporters seemed an adequate deterrent to escalation. The feds never fired, and eventually backed down: something that many said could “never happen” when private citizens faced off with the State.

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In an interview Saturday, Bundy said he was impressed by the level of support he had received. At one point there were around 1,000 armed supporters who had turned out. Another 5,000 had indicated via social media that they were on their way if the BLM didn’t back down.

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“I’m excited that we are really fighting for our freedom. We’ve been losing it for a long time,” Bundy said.

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Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity said that he would sue if the federal land managers did not protect tortoises on the grazing allotment used by Bundy’s cattle. But Bundy has always disputed this claim of the federal government trying to protect tortoises on the land, saying that his cattle posed no threat to them, and that this was instead about control and obedience. Still, Mrowka expressed outrage at the end of the cattle roundup.

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“The sovereign militias are ruling the day,” said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Now that this precedent has been set and they’re emboldened by the government’s capitulation, what’s to stop them from applying the same tactics and threats elsewhere?”

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(Article by M.B. David; images via Reuters and the Associated Press)

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