What I learned about this Bundy militia by asking locals
So last time the Bundys were in the news I got to talk to people from the area of Nevada where they had their standoff and got their take on the issue and since they are in the news again now in Oregon, I thought I would share what I learned back then. (caveat emptor: I’m just reporting the opinions and hearsay of locals, take with grains of salt)
The factor that doesn’t get in the news is that the Bureau of Land Management are (or at least according to everyone I talked to) corrupt and cruel bordering on Snidely Whiplash cartoon villainy. The sort of department that comes by and says, “Nice ranch, would be a shame if something happened to it. Maybe you should sell it to me at 1/10 it’s value, you know to protect it from ‘accidents.’” (‘Accidents’ here is metaphorical, they actually use the power to revoke water and grazing permits to run people who wont sell out of business) Those grazing rights really is the huge factor for a cattle state like Nevada but hard to describe to us city folk. It can best be summed up as Land Management is hostilely antithetical to the local culture*.
Now you might think these locals I’m talking to are on the militias side and making the other side out to be a villain, but no. Every one I talked to agreed that the militias really are as crazy as my liberal media makes them out to be. Everyone felt the militias cause was just, but they also felt that ranches closing and families being forced to move to the city was just a sad fact of progress. Not right but also not worth shooting people or being shot over, and the sort of person who thinks otherwise has an unhealthy interest in shooting people and being shot.
The general sentiment I got to sum the whole situation up was, “I sure hope no one gets hurt but if they both started shooting and wiped each other out that wouldn’t be so bad a thing.”
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*Ok I’ll try a very simplified explanation: basically in Nevada cows roam free, if you don’t like it then you make a fence to keep them out but no one makes a fence to keep them in. Anything that isn’t fenced off is free for cows to lunch on. Except Land Management land (which locals can all remember was sold at terrible deals under some duress). Instead that land has some guy from the east coast coming in to say, “Everybody need to stop living your life the way you have and build me a fence. The whole damn state of Nevada needs to build me a fence but you can’t have your government build me a fence because I am the government and I don’t wanna. No the whole population of Nevada individually needs to give me a fence. And if for some reason that doesn’t work for you then instead you all just pay me money for all the grass your cows ate (or at least that I say your cows ate because no one pays that close attention to their movements until it’s time for a roundup) on that land that used to belong to your family for generations but is mine now.”