Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nevada Range War

                Good news came about the standoff in Nevada between the Bureau of Land Management and the Bundy Ranch.  An announcement was made that the federal officers would pull out because the situation had become too dangerous for their employees and the public.
The decision was apparently made after information came out that a company backed by Communist China wanted the land for a renewable energy farm.

                I was seriously wondering if the U.S. Government was moving towards another disastrous showdown with American citizens.  It did not sound good to me to hear that more than 200 federal officers converged near a ranch located in Buckerville, Nevada.  The federal officers were there to enforce a mandate that Cliven Bundy remove his cattle from federal lands; they began to round up his cattle to sell them.  The forced cattle roundup was causing concern for many people besides the Bundy family.  Elected officials in several states weighed in, and militia members began to mobilize in support of their fellow Americans. 

                I could not help thinking about what happened at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, when the Government used power against American citizens.  Randy Weaver and his family, plus his friend Kevin Harris, were living at Ruby Ridge in northern Idaho.  Federal officers laid siege to the property and caused a deadly confrontation in 1992.  The confrontation ended with the death of Weaver’s wife Vicki, their son Sammy, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan.

                “At the subsequent federal criminal trial of Weaver and Harris, Weaver’s attorney Gerry Spence made accusations of `criminal wrongdoing’ against every agency involved in the incident:  the FBI, USMS, the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for Idaho.  At the completion of the trial, the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility formed a Ruby Ridge Task Force to investigate Spence’s charges.  The 1994 Task Force report was released in redacted form by Lexis Counsel Connect and raised questions about the conduct and policy of all the agencies.

                “Public outcry over Ruby Ridge and the subsequent Waco siege involving many of the same agencies and even the same personnel fueled the widening of the militia movement.  To answer public questions about Ruby Ridge, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information held a total of 14 days of hearings between September 6 and October 19, 1995, and subsequently issued a report calling for reforms in federal law enforcement to prevent a repeat of Ruby Ridge and to restore public confidence in federal law enforcement.”

                The Waco, Texas, siege or massacre took place at a compound owned by the religious group Branch Davidians.  Federal and Texas state law enforcement and military officers laid siege at the compound from February 28 until April 19, 1993.  The Branch Davidians sect separated from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1955 and was led by David Koresh  They lived at Mount Carmel Center ranch in Elk, Texas, about nine miles east-northeast of Waco. 

                “The group was suspected of weapons violations and a search and arrest warrant was obtained by the U.S. federal agency Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch.  An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four agents and six Branch Davidians.  Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege was initiated by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the standoff lasting 51 days.  Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out.  During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center, and 76 men, women, and children, including David Koresh, died.

                “Much dispute remains as to the actual events of the siege.  A particular controversy ensued over the origin of the fire; a government investigation concluded in 2000 that sect members themselves had started the fire.  The events at Waco were cited as the primary motivation for the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing that took place exactly two years later in 1995.”

                Monica Morrell wrote an article suggesting that the Nevada problem could be about water rights.  Her article sheds even more light on why the government went after Bundy’s cattle. 
                “Bunkerville in Nevada is ensconced between the Virgin River and the main road, Riverside Road.  The Virgin River is a tributary to Lake Mead.  The river, along with other sources, discharges into Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States.  Both the Virgin River and Lake Mead are part of the Colorado River Basin.  In fact, Lake Mead is considered to be the largest surface water collection for the Colorado River.  Whoever controls the water controls the vast wealth that is distributed to a network of states at a crucial time during a water shortage?

                Doug Hagmann was so concerned about what might happen at the Bundy ranch that he called for the governor to send out the National Guard to protect the people.  “The current critical nature of the crisis cannot be understated.  In alleged response to a 20-year-old battle over `illegal cattle grazing,’ along with a more recent claim related to ostensibly protecting the allegedly endangered desert tortoise, the federal Bureau of Land Management has been dispatched to the Bundy ranch.  Do not be fooled by the innocuous sounding name of this federal agency, however, as the deployment now consists of some 200 heavily armed federal troops, transported by military troop carriers and equipped with sniper rifles and other military armaments.  It is an army by any other name.  [Obama’s civilian army?]

                “Meanwhile, in response to this show of force, armed members of patriotic militias are rallying around the Bundy ranch en masse to protect the rights of a rancher and his family.  Clearly, the lines of battle are being drawn.  Patriots and militias appear to be preparing to square off against this federal army who are present in numbers undeniably disproportionate to any perceived or actual threat.

                “As the scene of the battle begins to take form, the situation is needlessly and recklessly being permitted to escalate in words and deeds.  Today, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins threatened the patriotic militia members rallying around the Bundys by publicly stating that those planning to travel to Nevada in their support `better have funeral plans.’  Clearly, these are fighting words and an obvious escalation to an already volatile situation.

                “As those words were being spoken, snipers equipped with high powered rifles with scopes continued to train their weapons on American citizens.  As that threat now begins to reverberate throughout the nation, federal troops are getting into position to launch whatever offensive that is being planned by federal bureaucrats, merely waiting for the `go’ signal.  The situation is deadly and deadly serious.”

                Judi McLeod shared information about other ranchers in Nevada and how the federal government treated them.  It sounds to me like the Bundy family has a right to believe the government is coming after them!

                Americans remember the results of force at Ruby Ridge and Waco.  I thought the range war might be the “crisis” the Obama Administration has been waiting for, the one they have been planning for, and preparing for with all their regulations.  Americans are fed up with their power grabs and are stressed by the economic situation of the nation.  I thought the fuse might be lit in Nevada but am relieved to hear the Government has backed off – for now.  Was this a test to see if Americans would stand up to their Government in spite of the odds against them? 

                There are still many questions about what happened in Nevada and why.  The Blaze did a story about seven questions people are asking.  There are probably many more.  The big question in my mind is whether or not the U.S. Government was right in using force in Nevada or are we just getting paranoid because of the many strange happenings in our nation.

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