The Bureau of Land Management obtained a federal court order to have about 908 “trespassing” cattle owned by Cliven Bundy, who is the last rancher in Clark County, Nevada, removed.
Bundy has lost in court multiple times. The federal government believes he owes somewhere around $1.1 million for allowing his cattle to graze on public land. It is clear that the government has authority to take some kind of decisive action, but is the show of force necessary?
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval accused the federal government of creating an “atmosphere of intimidation” by setting up a “First Amendment Area” for family, friends and protesters to demonstrate against the removal of cattle.
Family members of Bundy have allegedly been beaten or roughed up by police. His son, Ammon, was apparently tased yesterday. It left a “wound on his neck.”
Another son, Dave, was reportedly roughed up by “heavily armed federal agents” who arrested him while he was demonstrating on a state highway in northeast Clark County.
It is difficult to verify the presence of FBI agents. That has not been confirmed by any other news outlet. But this photo clearly shows armed agents setting up a staging area for some kind of military-style operation.
Cliven told The Washington Times, “The government has brought everything but tanks and rocket launchers.
“They’re carrying the same things a soldier would,” he added. “Automatic weapons, sniper rifles, top communication, top surveillance equipment, lots of vehicles. It’s heavy soldier type equipment.”
According to Cliven’s wife, Carol, helicopters have been circling and the airspace and nearby roads are blocked. The family feels surrounded and thinks they are being subject to total surveillance.
It probably is very difficult for any news organization to get near the area to confirm the presence of certain government agencies.
In the meantime, the National Park Service denies that there are any armed guards there to remove cattle. However, it admits that “security” is in place to protect contractors.
National Park Service spokesperson Christie Vanover said, “As you know, we have received threats and the contractors have received threats,” and, “BLM have received threats, as well. So security is in place to merely protect the contractors so that we can complete this operation.”
The question is whether any of these militarized police forces are necessary. Doesn’t this senselessly escalate the situation and invite more protest?
The Bundys and their supporters believe they are fighting a battle for states’ rights. If the federal government surrounds them with hundreds of armed agents and places everyone under massive surveillance, doesn’t this run the risk of creating a worse situation when this should be resolved as peacefully as possible?
Of course, these federal government agencies have all this equipment and they cannot miss an opportunity to show off their strength and power.