The Bundy case is shaping up to be loads of fun. The pretrial detention memorandum for ol’ Cliven has been released, and in addition to making the case that he was a lawless, violent criminal, it explains that he was a terrible “rancher”.
While Bundy claims he is a cattle rancher, his ranching operation – to the extent it can be called that – is unconventional if not bizarre. Rather than manage and control his cattle, he lets them run wild on the public lands with little, if any, human interaction until such time when he traps them and hauls them off to be sold or slaughtered for his own consumption. He does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease; does not employ cowboys to control and herd them; does not manage or control breeding; has no knowledge of where all the cattle are located at any given time; rarely brands them before he captures them; and has to bait them into traps in order to gather them.
Nor does he bring his cattle off the public lands in the off-season to feed them when the already sparse food supply in the desert is even scarcer. Raised in the wild, Bundy’s cattle are left to fend for themselves year-round, fighting off predators and scrounging for the meager amounts of food and water available in the difficult and arid terrain that comprises the public lands in that area of the country. Bereft of human interaction, his cattle that manage to survive are wild, mean and ornery. At the time of the events giving rise to the charges, Bundy’s cattle numbered over 1,000 head, straying as far as 50 miles from his ranch and into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (“LMNRA”), getting stuck in mud, wandering onto golf courses, straying onto the freeway (causing accidents on occasion) – foraging aimlessly and wildly, roaming in small groups over hundreds of thousands of acres of federal lands that exist for the use of the general public for many other types of commercial and recreational uses such as camping, hunting, and hiking.
I used to spend some time every summer at my uncle’s horse and cattle ranch in eastern Washington, and what I remember was all the work: up early in the morning, walking the irrigation ditches and watering the fields, taking hay out to the cows, and there was this tiring ritual of walking the fields and picking up rocks. None of that for the Bundys! Neglect the animals, do nothing to care for the land, just let everything run loose until you feel like going out and killing a few cows.
Doesn’t the Bible say something about good stewardship? Maybe they should take a look at that holy book they pay lip service to — it doesn’t look good for the Bundys.
The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Isaiah 24:5
And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. Luke 12:42-46
They should count their blessings, though. Being cut into pieces isn’t a permissible punishment under federal law.