On Saturday, April 12, the federal bureaucrats backed down. Faced with hundreds of men and women on horseback and on foot who were armed with firearms and video cameras — as well as local television broadcast stations and independent media streaming live video and radio feeds across America — the Obama administration called off the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) operation to confiscate hundreds of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, the current patriarch of a respected pioneer family that has been ranching in Nevada’s Clark County since the 1800s.
Supporters from all across the United States had converged on the Bunkerville, Nevada, area in support of Bundy, who is the “last rancher standing” in Clark County, due to a decades-long campaign by federal agencies and allied enviro-activists to drive all ranchers off of the range. After a tense standoff, orders came down from above for the surrounded and outnumbered federal agents to “stand down” and turn loose the Bundy cattle that had been corralled.
On Saturday, before the resolution of the standoff, The New American talked to Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), as he headed from a meeting of public officials to a press conference at the Bundy Ranch. He was very grave and worried at the time that the situation could spin out of control, and that federal agents might open fire on citizens. He also expressed his exasperation at Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglass Gillespie. “If Governor Sandoval and Sheriff Gillespie were doing the jobs they were elected to do, they would have stopped this from getting to a dangerous point,” Sheriff Mack said. “There are lots of things they could have done to defuse this situation, including telling the Feds to ‘stand down,’ and to assert their own jurisdiction and force the federal authorities to obey the law, including the Constitution and the laws of the state of Nevada,” he noted. “I have a very bad feeling about this,” he continued, adding that he hoped the tensions would be deescalated and a peaceful outcome negotiated.
Fortunately, most likely due to the national attention that the Bundy situation was receiving, federal officials backed off, the demonstrators and supporters remained peaceful, and a violent confrontation was averted. However, that does not end the affair. Members of the Bundy family and supporters, such as Sheriff Mack, expressed concerns that the evacuation of the federal police force might be a feint, and that there may be plans for them to return the following day, or as soon as the supporters and television crews had departed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose personal financial stake in the Bundy eviction has been called into question, let it be known that he wants to see the matter pursued.
“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”
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