I’ve been wondering how the impasse with rancher Cliven Bundy will end. While the government seems to be perfectly willing to give immunity from prosecution to the one-percenters, it cracks down hard on ordinary people who violate the law, such as the outrageous case of a recent widow whose home was seized and sold because she had not paid a $6.30 interest fee that she said she was not even aware of. That is how an oligarchy maintains control of a society.
So it is clear that although the government has not enforced the law so far against Bundy, it will not give him a permanent exemption from paying the taxes that everyone else pays. Even other ranchers in the area are ticked off at him for claiming something that they feel he is not entitled to.
“You’ve got hundreds of ranchers in Nevada who pay their fee regularly,” said Tom Collins, a rancher on the Clark County Commission. “On the grazing fee issue, Bundy doesn’t have sympathy from the ranchers.”
In fact, the remote area outside Las Vegas where Bundy and his supporters made their stand is represented by a black Democrat, Rep. Steve Horsford.
The congressman said Friday that many of the people in the small towns in the region, which has drawn an increasing number of retirees and tourists seeking to enjoy its open spaces, are upset with Bundy, who “does not reflect Nevada or the views of the West.”
And yet by being elevated to heroic status by the crazies, Bundy has raised the stakes in the conflict. His weird remarks about how black people might have been better of when they were slaves may have caused some of his supporters in the media and congress to distance themselves but I suspect that it cemented his support among his more extreme followers.
So what can the government do? It clearly would like to avoid something like Ruby Ridge in 1992 or Waco in 1993. In Waco especially, the government staged their initial raid on David Koresh’s compound despite the fact that Koresh and the local media had been tipped off and even though they had opportunities to quietly arrest Koresh on his frequent trips into town. That disaster may make the government seek to avoid a similar public show of force.
They may think that Bundy cannot be permanently surrounded by his newly created posse. Presumably all the people who flocked there from far away and have even set up armed checkpoints requiring travellers to prove they are residents have other responsibilities and will eventually drift away and this would allow them to act against him without risking a firefight. (The photo gallery at the link is worth seeing.)
If the government gets a warrant for Bundy for not obeying earlier court orders, and arrests him when he happens to be alone, what will his supporters do? Will they try to forcibly release him from custody, like in the old western films?