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May 06 2014

How Long Can the Bundy Ranch Standoff Continue?

Reports of what is going on at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada really have to make one wonder how long it can continue. Along with potentially violent divisions among the militias there, reports show that they are harassing the hell out of civilians and the media. This report from a local news station contains this astonishing bit:

They were equally hostile to journalists covering the story. Pistol-packing militia men have blocked 8 News NOW’s access to public roads. Some poured lighter fluid around our news vehicle while others got physical.

And this:

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has been negotiating behind the scenes with rancher Cliven Bundy for a couple of years. On the morning of the big showdown, he and Joe Lombardo drove to Bunkerville to let Bundy know that a deal had been reached with Bureau of Land Management to suspend the roundup of Bundy’s cattle.

Bundy, who has grown accustomed to media attention over the past few months, said he would only talk to Gillespie on stage in front of his crowd. Once there, he ordered the sheriff to go out and disarm every fed he could find.

“And report back in an hour. Disarm everyone working at a federal park,” Bundy told the sheriff.

“I mean, the hair was up on the back of my neck. There was the so-called militia surrounding the stage. There was a lot of firepower out there and it made me nervous. anything could happen,” Lombardo said.

That’s how completely disconnected from reality these people are, they actually think that a local county sheriff has the authority and the ability to disarm federal agents. And that they can aim weapons at federal agents executing a lawful court order in a peaceful manner and threaten to kill them. And there are other reports that they’re setting up checkpoints on local roads to harass local residents:

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), who represents the area, sent the letter Sunday to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, asking him to investigate.

“I am writing to bring your attention to the ongoing situation in northeastern Clark County which has caused many of my constituents to fear for their safety,” Horsford wrote. Residents in the area “have expressed concern over the continual presence of multiple out-of-state, armed militia groups that have remained in the community” since Bundy’s dispute with the Bureau of Land Management came to a boil.

The militia, as reported by Horsford’s constituents, “have set up checkpoints where residents are required to prove they live in the area before being allowed to pass,” the letter said.

How long can the local, state and federal governments let this go on without taking action? I know they want to avoid sparking some wider war with these right wing extremists, but you simply can’t let them flout the law like this so brazenly and publicly.

49 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    They were equally hostile to journalists covering the story. Pistol-packing militia men have blocked 8 News NOW’s access to public roads. Some poured lighter fluid around our news vehicle while others got physical.

    Oh c’mon. It isn’t that bad.

    They didn’t toss a match into the lighter fluid and burn a few reporters alive in their van. Yet.

    How long can the local, state and federal governments let this go on without taking action?

    Months at least. Wait till it gets up to 120 degrees F in a few months.

  2. 2
    raven

    I know they want to avoid sparking some wider war with these right wing extremists, but you simply can’t let them flout the law like this so brazenly and publicly.

    1. A lot of people say this. So what is their solution? No one has one that doesn’t involve a battle with dozens or more dead.

    2. I would just let them sit out there and bake in the sun. Collect data on who is there and what crimes they have committed.

    At some point put out arrest warrants. They can’t stay out there forever and you can arrest them just as well later rather than sooner. Time is not on their side.

    3. Really, this isn’t a shooting war. It is a propaganda war. It is in the feds interests to let these guys show what they are, armed thugs whose main point is that they don’t work but they do hate a lot.

  3. 3
    Kevin Kehres

    I agree with raven. Collect data on who is breaking the law and when, file arrest warrants and then wait until the deodorant runs out.

  4. 4
    D. C. Sessions

    They can’t stay there forever — Bundy will run out of cattle to feed them if nothing else.

    The key point is to get all the evidence needed to identify the ones who are there and then give them a deadline: go home, unarmed, by <whenever> or you’re in contempt along with other possible charges. You can surrender your arms with ID and they’ll be returned to you but you can’t carry them through the checkpoints.

    And then, after the deadline, don’t let them out without arresting them. And I don’t mean a single sheriff’s deputy sitting by the road in a car, either — I’m talking a roadblock with enough protection that they won’t be able to storm it quickly and enough firepower sitting back a ways that if they try they’re going to be:

    A) Clearly the aggressors (24/7 cameras, with Press)
    B) Toast.

  5. 5
    grumpyoldfart

    How long can the local, state and federal governments let this go on without taking action?

    They lost control back in the middle of April when the BLM caved in to Bundy. The militias have got a foot in the door and they will just keep on pushing. Even if the militias disperse, they will quickly return as soon as they see the chance for some more headlines. It’s just a game to them. They’re loving it.

  6. 6
    raven

    I’m having a hard time working up much sympathy for the aptly named Bunkerville. I don’t know that exact area at all, eastern Clark country, Nevada, not too far from Las Vegas on the Utah border.

    But I do know a nearby area well, Utah and southern Utah. It’s another world.

    1. A lot of the small towns are 100% Mormon. Everyone knows everyone else. In fact, most people are related to everyone else. They are uber rightwing Mormon Tea Party fascists and look at outsiders as aliens.

    They vote GOP. In some election districts in Utah, Obama didn’t get one single vote.

    2. Bundy and the militias are their people, not ours.

    3. All that being said, Bunkerville might not be quite that bad. They have the obligatory Mormon church but also have a Catholic church. I’m guessing the landowners go to one and the laborors, Mexican and Mexican-American go to the other.

  7. 7
    blf

    They (seem to be) terrorizing the locals. My impression is few, possibly none, of the locals support the terrorists or Bundy. A sit-and-wait strategy must protect the locals (whether they support the loonies or not).

    Also, as per my recent question in another thread, Where are they getting essential supplies (food, potable water, …) from, and Who is funding those supplies ?

    The anti-terrorist strategy of cutting off the funding is, potentially, a useful second string of sit-and-bake.

  8. 8
    dingojack

    Perhaps Sheriff Gillespie could ask Mr Tibbs for assistance.
    Dingo

  9. 9
    raven

    Also, as per my recent question in another thread, Where are they getting essential supplies (food, potable water, …) from, and Who is funding those supplies ?

    Good question.

    Probably they just buy their supplies. We know the rightwing nuts have lots of money to throw at their causes.

    If nothing else, they have lots of expensive assault rifles and can always go hunting. I hear there are a lot of cows on the adjacent BLM land.

    hey (seem to be) terrorizing the locals. My impression is few, possibly none, of the locals support the terrorists or Bundy.

    That isn’t clear. I suspect many of them did but that support might be declining with time and attention. Or not. Who knows?

  10. 10
    Orakio

    My gut feeling is that this is going to go on as long as the Bundy’s terrorist pals manage to keep from firing a shot, or disperse. If they disperse, a goodly number of them will be picked up one-by-one. If they start shooting as aggressors, well, I’m pretty certain they’ll be out-armed and out-armored very fast.

  11. 11
    Area Man

    Sooner rather than later, one or more of them will do something very stupid and/or violent, and they’ll lose sympathy from all but their craziest supporters. At that point we can drop the double-standard and treat it like we would any other armed standoff. The authorities surround the area in force, demand that everyone peacefully leave, and if they don’t, they lay siege to the area. That won’t end it right away, but it will at least draw the line in how things are eventually going to end.

  12. 12
    blf

    I’m pretty certain they’ll be out-armed and out-armored very fast.

    Indeed. Again with the Very Important caveat that I actually do not want to see this happen, it would be rather amusing to see these AK-47–armed bozos up against an M1 Abrams tank — although I suspect an actual round-up would be a more “boring” search-, surround-, and wait-and-bake. Perhaps the Big Problem would be if they take hostages or otherwise use “human shields” (as I vaguely recall some of them(?) have already threatened to do)…

  13. 13
    gshelley

    Surely they can’t get much more extreme before the lack of Federal action is seen as an excuse for attacking Obama, for being weak in the front of armed rebellion or whatever.

  14. 14
    countryboy

    Nothing here that a couple Cobras or Apaches with hellfires can’t fix. a couple rockets in their vicinity and they’ll be too busy cleaning out their shorts to aim a rifle.

  15. 15
    D. C. Sessions

    Nothing here that a couple Cobras or Apaches with hellfires can’t fix.

    Wrong weapon. Hellfires are good at making a large hole in the terrain and anything (or anyone) on or near it. Actually, even the Apache’s chain gun is oversized for the job; a 12.7 mm would have more than enough power to deal with anything the insurrectionists might have there. Overkill is one thing, totally indiscriminate destruction is how things went wrong at Ruby Ridge.

    Of course, if they turn out to have shoulder-mounted antiair or antiarmor weapons, the rules of engagement will change real, real fast.

  16. 16
    abb3w

    My question remains whether this will require the president issue a Proclamation To Disperse before the end.

  17. 17
    smrnda

    I’m not really sure what the geography of the area is, but would it be possible to more or less confine these militias to an area where maybe the water supply could get cut off? This may not work if they are spread out too far, but hey, cutting supply lines is a fairly longstanding tactic.

  18. 18
    David Whitlock

    What they need to do is follow the money. Any donations to these people are “Providing material support for terrorism”.

  19. 19
    iknklast

    They actually think that a local county sheriff has the authority and the ability to disarm federal agents

    They’re not the only ones that think this. Our mayor threatened to arrest the EPA if they showed up to test our water. The EPA, to their eternal discredit, caved and did not come. I thought they should have come, let him arrest them, and then him realize that the US government is a bit bigger than our tiny city of 25,000.

  20. 20
    scienceavenger

    you simply can’t let them flout the law like this so brazenly and publicly.

    Of course you can, they’re white silly.

  21. 21
    Modusoperandi

    I’ve set up a counter-protest. At his house. It’s mine now. I cleaned out the pantry. And, no, I’m not paying him rent. I don’t even recognize that he exists.

  22. 22
    ildi

    I suspect many of them did but that support might be declining with time and attention. Or not. Who knows?

    May 1 town hall meeting

    “The day the militia [came] was the day I felt safe again in Nevada,” one meeting attendee said.

    The meeting was standing-room only.

    Despite reports of intimidation by armed militia, those gathered for the town hall had nothing but praise for them.

    “I want to tell every one of them militia, thank you. Because not one of our government officials, not one of our sheriffs or Metro would have saved us that day. They didn’t save us that day,” an attendee said.

  23. 23
    busterggi

    Wall the bastards in and forget to put in a door.

  24. 24
    otrame

    I was very annoyed with the BLM for backing down, but I am changing my mind. I think that the feds are being pretty smart about this. We do not need another Ruby Ridge. As others have said, wait them out, keep track of those that are breaking the law. Summer. In Nevada. Most of the pictures I’ve seen show men who have not spent a really significant amount of time outdoors in their lives. That includes Bundy. They are already self-destructing and it hasn’t gotten all that hot out there yet.

  25. 25
    Modusoperandi

    iknklast “They’re not the only ones that think this. Our mayor threatened to arrest the EPA if they showed up to test our water.”
    It takes a brave public servant to stand up pollution.

  26. 26
    janiceintoronto

    Why haven’t the feds emptied his bank account?

    The government could cut off water and power if they wanted to, couldn’t they?

    Surreal.

  27. 27
    raven

    but would it be possible to more or less confine these militias to an area where maybe the water supply could get cut off?

    It’s rural. It’s a ranch and melon farm. They probably have a well and it is on the Virgin river.

    The could cut off the power though, what they did in Montana with the so called Freemen. That area is arid and hot, just made for solar power. But OTOH, solar power is a liberal hippie thing. Without power the well pump and irrigation pumps aren’t going to work.

    Why haven’t the feds emptied his bank account?

    They could but I very much doubt he has one any more. I doubt he is paying his taxes either.

  28. 28
    chilidog99

    Summer is coming.

  29. 29
    chilidog99

    Go to google map and enter the following:

    36.716470, -114.238649

    That will take you to the center of the Bundy “ranch”

    Switch to satellite view and try to count how many junked vehicles he has on his property

    I have 27.

  30. 30
    chilidog99

    There is a better view if you go to the Clark county tax assessor site and enter the parcel number

    034-00-001-034

    His crap is spread out onto government land as well.

  31. 31
    chilidog99

    One more post.

    http://mesquitecitizen.com/viewnews.php?newsid=5989&id=6

    The above is a synopsis of a water rights scandal that cost the local communities over 10 million dollars in inflated prince gouging

    John Lonetti I’d Bundys next door neighbor to the south

    The water rights involved were associated with Lonetti’s meadowlands farm.

  32. 32
    chilidog99

    That should read: “John Lonetti is Bundy’s next door neighbor.”

  33. 33
    Modusoperandi

    chilidog99 “Go to google map and enter the following:

    36.716470, -114.238649

    That will take you to the center of the Bundy ‘ranch’”
    Hey! That’s where Osama was hiding!

  34. 34
    bachalon

    On the subject of how they are sustaining themselves financially, am I the only one who thinks it’s funny in a way that these same people who accused the crowds at Obama rallies of not having jobs, are the ones who have the time to spare to make the journey to Nevada and spend weeks in the desert? I wish I had that kind of mobility.

  35. 35
    DaveL

    Sooner rather than later, one or more of them will do something very stupid and/or violent, and they’ll lose sympathy from all but their craziest supporters.

    My money is on the target of that stupidity/violence being somebody within the Bundy camp.

  36. 36
    jimnorth

    The street view on google maps shows a typical desert domicile. Not a very good strategic location being in the bottom of the river valley. If I were an army ranger sniper, this would be like shooting . . . well, hopefully it won’t come to that.

  37. 37
    fentex

    they actually think that a local county sheriff has the authority and the ability to disarm federal agents.

    Not to suggest agreement with lunatics at all but I seem to recall reading somewhere that a local sheriff does have an ability somewhat like that – I don’t know if it was relevant to a particular state or not and I’m not sure how accurately I’m remembering this but IIRC a sheriff somewhere refused permission to the ATF to operate in his jurisdiction and it stuck.

    I vaguely recall it had to do with a need for federal officers, in the absence of exigent circumstances and when not on federally controlled property, to obey properly authorised instructions of the local authority.

    I have no idea how well I recall this or if I was misled, but it doesn’t seem impossible.

  38. 38
    colnago80

    Time to stop farting around with these miscreants. Time to take a leaf from the Hafaz/Bashar Assad playbook and apply Hama Rules to these clowns.

  39. 39
    savagemutt

    Are there kids on the ranch? If so, the feds will continue to tread lightly. I think the best strategy is to just wait them out. Turn off the power and just let them come out of their own accord when it gets hot.

  40. 40
    Modusoperandi

    I’m with colnago80. I mean, who wouldn’t want the peace and serenity of Syria?

  41. 41
    democommie

    It seems to me, from a reading of Ed’s post of yesterday and some links that the BLM did NOT back down. The decision to release the cattle and quit the vicinity was made by the Assistant Sheriff (or Undersheriff or whatever title they used). If they were on Bundy’s land the sheriff might have jurisdiction. If they were on the BLM land, the sheriff overstepped his authority.

    I think that the BLM’s people were in a untenable situation, through the fault of their bosses and the local and state LE folks.It is quite possible that the local authorities did the right thing, but it’s not clear that they had the authority to do so.

  42. 42
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    I wouldn’t want to see another Error of Enormous Proportions, and I think it would be good for all law enforcement agencies to learn something about not forcing the issue when it isn’t necessary, but once these folks are off the ranch and acting like they are enforcing martial law, they need to have a net dropped on them and be hauled off somewhere.

  43. 43
    Jordan Genso

    @28
    [slow clap]

  44. 44
    dingojack

    chilidog99 (#31) – those Federals are bastards! Imagine gouging out big hunks of those hyper-inflated sons of kings. (Did they fly around the room crazily like balloons?)
    ;) Dingo

  45. 45
    leonardschneider

    I haven’t followed this story closely. It intrigues me, as the overall mindset where I live could best be described as “minarchist.” People around here have little patience with “the government,” yet are also contemptuous of militia types and survivalists: really, we just want to be left the hell alone.

    Very little law enforcement around here. Call 911 for the cops, you’re looking at a 45 minute wait, minimum. The sheriffs will drive through town maybe once a month, usually to put their head in the door of the bar and talk to the owner for a few. The only other “law enforcement” would be Department of Forestry…. Yeah, the friendly park rangers? These days they’re just another bunch of fucking cops. I have no mining claim so I don’t deal with them, but their primary purpose would seem to be harassing people working claims, no matter the technique used. Dredge mining is a hot topic around here, with DofF assuming anyone with a claim on water must be using a dredge, which are currently banned for no good reason.* Some people are working the same claims their families have had since the 1850s: DofF will confiscate equipment — any equipment — from miners, whether there’s evidence of dredge usage or not. That equipment isn’t cheap, the people working claims are making subsistence earnings, and miners have lost their equipment to DofF by the simple fact that they didn’t have enough gasoline to get down the hill for a court date. Gosh, it’s almost as if they didn’t want people mining their own gold….

    No one around here is about to shoot at a DofF putz, though. Anyone doing that would be viewed as off their rocker, a genuinely dangerous person. Anyone arrested by DofF for working their own claim, though, would get a lot of local support. The hat would routinely be passed at the bar, a donation can would show up at the market, and someone would organize a spaghetti feed and bake sale. The kids at the local school would send the miner hand-made postcards to cheer him up.

    It really is that kind of town. Imagine if Lake Wobegon had a mild drug problem and a fierce contempt of authority, and you’d have where I live.

    So we may be dope-growin’, anti-gummint hillbillies up here, but we’re not gun-toting, creepy, unbalanced dope-growin’, anti-gummint hillbillies.
    _____________________________________

    *As I understand it….
    The state of California claimed that dredge mining on the Klamath river was stirring up mercury left over from the bad old days of mining, threatening the salmon spawn and population. The miners disagreed: every dredge miner usually came away from their claim at the end of the season with cans of mercury they had collected. The miners were doing a better job of removing the crap than anyone else had.

    Nonetheless, dredging was banned in the entire damn state — not just the Klamath — and regardless of fish stock or even the presence of mercury. (FYI, dredge mining involves using a powered dredge to suck up sand from a river or creek bottom and running it through a sluice. Beats the hell out of spending all day shoveling wet sand out of a river.) California told the Department of Forestry of this ban, and asked them to enforce it. Forestry replied, “D’aah, we’ll shur do that thing, a-yup, a-yup!” and began bullying anyone with a sluice in the water and confiscating equipment.

    And that’s why, where I live, you can see 75 year old women roll their windows down to give the finger to Department of Forestry employees as they drive by.

  46. 46
    gshelley

    I wonder how the people cheering him on would react if he was a muslim? If he said that he didn’t accept the validity of the Federal government because of his religious beliefs.
    I can’t help but suspect the enthusiasm would be less, and the open crticism much more

  47. 47
    shripathikamath

    Drones. Send in the drones.

  48. 48
    Crudely Wrott

    I’m fully in the “wait ‘em out” camp.

    That is, do pretty much nothing except stand off a bit, kick the sand and whistle nonchalantly while glancing over at them from time to time. Chew a stalk of grass. After a while they’ll get bored, hungry and very, very warm.

    It will be an object lesson answering the question, “What if they gave a revolution and nobody came?”

    Too bad that most of the “militiamen” won’t have the wit to feel really, really embarrassed as they trudge home . . . we’ll have to do that for them as well as ponying up for their unemployment and disability checks.

  49. 49
    Bryan Leger

    Do fly-overs in helicopter with machine-guns and irradiated his cattle. No more cows to graze. And he ends up paying financially. The do it with wild hogs in texas, why not cows on public property?

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