Exclusive: Inside the Bundy Ranch and the Fight Against Government Overreach
BUNKERVILLE, Nevada—Cliven Bundy’s ranch, recently the site of a tense stand-off that started over two weeks ago between the federal government and the Bundy family, had morphed into a good old-fashioned family picnic complete with live country music, hamburgers, and hotdogs Friday.
A week after the Bureau of Land Management’s armed force left Bunkerville, Bundy and his supporters continue to make the family’s case relating to Bundy’s right to graze his cattle on public land his family has been on for many years.
Bundy told Breitbart News the only communication he has received from the BLM recently has been through the mail.
“I’ve received some certified letters that I haven’t opened, and that’s the only conversation on that, so I’m going to save those letters for maybe awhile. That’s how serious I think they are,” he said. “I’m tired of their bull. They put their guns at me and my family and these American people. How can I honor one of their letters? I might never open them,” he added.
Throughout the ordeal, which stems from a 20-year legal battle between the family and the federal government, Bundy has offered several explanations for why he's in the right, most prominently his belief that the federal government has no authority over him.
Only a week earlier, both the federal agents Bundy supporters had snipers trained on each other in the showdown. But Friday on the ranch, mothers and fathers strolled around the clay desert ground along with their children in tow wearing name tag stickers saying, "Hello, my name is domestic terrorist," a reference to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s accusation toward Bundy and his allies. Reid later called the group “domestic violent terrorist wannabes” on Friday afternoon.
“Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is valid, he believes that the United States is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t follow the law. He doesn’t pay his fees,” said Reid on Las Vegas’ KSNV.
Conservative scholar and activist Dinesh D’Souza was at the Bundy ranch on Friday and was amused by Reid’s remarks, telling Breitbart News, “For Harry Reid to be calling American citizens domestic terrorists [now]? This isn’t even the Bundys. These are just guys showing up for picnics to support the Bundys and say, ‘Listen, we want due process and equal rights in this country.’”
D’Souza, who is coming under fire from the Holder Justice Department himself, added, “I think what really rankles is the fact that justice is normally a virtue of liberalism. Liberals will say, ‘Oh we’re for social justice.’ Justice means treating people fairly and treating people who are in the same situation in a similar way. You get the sense with Obama that’s not the case. Lady justice has one eye open and she’s winking at her friends and sending the cops after her enemies.”
Thirteen Elected officials were present at the standoff in Bunkerville last week; Nevada Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore was one of those elected members present and told Breitbart News on Friday that, like Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), she was shocked by the actions taken by the federal government.
“When I started making phone calls, at first I have to tell ya’, I couldn’t believe the federal government was coming in with guns for an unpaid bill. I really did not believe that. However, that’s exactly what took place,” she said.
Senator Reid’s son, Rory Reid, serves as Chairman of the Clark County Commission and has been critical of Nevada pols who have stood by Bundy, particularly Fiore, and says that Bundy should be prosecuted. Fiore, however, says that there is discovery on both sides of the issue.
“On our side, we’re trying to figure out in 1993, when they enacted these fees, they said it was compensation for damages, without a definition so define compensation for damages,” she said.
Fiore added, “What are the cattle damaging? And are they not really saving and protecting the mountain from fires? If you think about it, the area that they don’t graze on is black because it was struck by lightning and it went on fire, so there is a lot of discussion and debate going on.”
Ultimately, the Republican Assemblywoman notes the important thing is that a spotlight has been placed on the BLM as a result of the Bundy case.
“I have literally gotten e-mails from ranchers across Nevada telling me that the BLM does the same practices when they are hurting horses. The foals are getting killed. Horses are getting killed. It’s really horrible and cruel. I don’t know any other term than cruel,” she said.
The Bundys appear to keep their spirits up by the amount of support they say they are getting from all over the country. Bundy’s wife Carol who says she is “tired of the control the federal government has over our lives today” and that “in America, we should be free” told Breitbart News, “We have support from every e-mail I get. It’s a snowball,” adding, “It keeps picking up speed. There are letters in the mailbox. The post office called and said, ‘You gotta’ come get your mail’ and it’s all been good.”