How will the Cliven Bundy story end?

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?


  1. raven says

    So far the feds are trying to avoid a Ruby Ridge or Waco. They can easily win the battle and lose the propaganda war.

    Apparently, it isn’t much fun for people living in the area.

    h ttp:// http://www.rawstory. com/rs/2014/04/29/nevada-lawmaker-cliven-bundy-supporters-are-settting-up-checkpoints- against-residents/ edited for length

    A Nevada congressman contacted law enforcement saying supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy have set up checkpoints for drivers’ “residency” before letting them pass, KVVU-TV reported on Monday.

    “We must respect individual constitutional liberties, but residents of and visitors to Clark County should not be expected to live under the persistent watch of an armed militia,” Horsford wrote. “Residents have expressed their desire to see these groups leave their community.”

    Horford also stated in the letter that, according to constituents, members of militia groups have also “established a presence” on both highways in the area and churches and schools.
    But first-person accounts from the camp posted on the Daily Kos suggest a rift has developed, with Oath Keepers members reportedly being barred by individuals identifying themselves as the Bundy camp’s security leaders.

    “This man and the gentlemen that obeyed that order violated my personal creed,” one leader was quoted as saying. “You don’t f*cking walk in and say “I’m sorry’ and you’re back in brother. You can walk in and say you’re sorry and you’re lucky you’re not getting shot in the back because that’s what happens to deserters on the battlefield.”

    1. How do you establish a presence on the highways, churches, and schools by armed militias? The highways I can see, the churches and schools not so much. If armed men are patrolling the schools, they usually shut them down, send the kids home, and call the police.

    2. The wingnuts at the Bundy ranch don’t seem to be having fun either. One group called the others deserters and threatened to shoot them in the back.

    Wait until summer comes there. It can get up to 120 degrees in that area. This weekend it is supposed to be 98 degrees F.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Do you remember the Freemen episode in Montana, ca 1996? The government handled that episode very well. They brought in, one after another, prominent representatives of the “patriot” movement to serve as go-between in negotiationg with the Freemen. And one after another, they stated that the Freemen were not heros but common criminals. Within a couple of months, the Freemen had lost most of their popular backing, and when the government cut their power lines, they folded quickly and without violence.

  3. raven says

    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…

    A lot of people wonder about this.

    Don’t these guys have jobs, families, and lives? I can’t go out into the Nevada desert for months on end and wave a rifle around. Because of numerous responsibilities including cats to feed.

    The feds can afford to play a long game. I’d just let them bake in the sun for a few months. If they get hungry, well, they have expensive assault rifles and could always go hunting. I’ve heard there are lots of cows on the adjacent BLM land that would make great barbecues.

  4. says

    Wait them out. A government can wait forever and just keep accruing interest on what Bundy owes. There is no need for violence; boredom will do the job – those guys who are there are taking time off work and staying in hotels, etc. There’s a significant financial drain on them that’ll eventually bleed them out. The same could easily have been done with the Branch Davidians and the Weavers. It’s a sign of incredible stupidity (and the militarization of policing in the US) that anyone would even dream of meeting them with force.

  5. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    How will the Cliven Bundy story end?

    Badly I fear.

    I hope I am wrong.

    Of course I am also hoping Cliven Bundy loses as justice and law is against him as well as the fact that Cliven Bundy is a repellent racist thief who has selfishly and thoughtlessly created the whole mess.

  6. smrnda says

    I agree they can wait this out. Bundy’s 15 minutes of fame will expire and he’ll have fewer and fewer supporters willing to tote around guns protecting him from paying the bills.

    On the idea that these armed thugs (I see no reason to use the term ‘militia’ – one person’s militia is another person’s street gang) are acting as if they have a right to question people on their residency status, this is why I think the idea that the 2nd amendment protects civil liberties is bullshit; the thugs with the guns, rather than fightingsome statist tyranny, can simply throw their weight around and violate civil liberties on their own.

  7. busterggi says

    It will end when Bundy has to leave to attend the Republican convention where he will be named Joe the Plumber’s raunning mate for the POTUS.

  8. Mano Singham says


    For some reason I do not recall the Freemen episode, maybe because it did not end in a bloody mess that became rallying cry for ‘patriots’. But the way they were waited out seems to be likely the way things will play out here too.

  9. NitricAcid says

    I like how they are holding a sign reading “NO MORE WACOS”. Because, of course, I parse that as “NO MORE WHACKOS”

  10. PauloOne says

    Something like this makes absolutely no sense to me. I’ve seen many times situations like this but in war ridden countries, were who has the biggest gun wins. In places that are suppose to be civilized it makes absolutely no sense.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    Don’t these guys have jobs, families, and lives?

    I suspect a lot of them are retired or living on disability or some other form of government check. Which is, of course, deliciously ironic.

  12. kyoseki says

    have even set up armed checkpoints requiring travellers to prove they are residents

    … because nothing says “freedom” like stopping everyone and demanding to see their papers.

  13. lorn says

    As I understand it anyone not a member of law enforcement or deputized military using force, display of weapons is certainly sufficient to show that, interfering with your free transit of the highways is guilty of kidnapping. I suspect that if you were to drive through the roadblock, wrecking their barriers and injuring people attempting to stop you you would face no charges.

    Court would go something like this:
    Why didn’t you stop?

    Because they are not law enforcement, they had no legal right to stop me, and they looked like thugs with guns. No good could come from stopping. I figured if I just drove through they might shoot me but they would have to hit a moving target. If I stopped I was a much easier target.

    Why did you strike several of the men with your car?

    Because I was trying to flee the area and, despite every attempt on my part to steer around them, they stepped in front of my vehicle like they wanted to get hit.

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