Seeking more information on the Bundy Standoff, I have turned to Wikipedia. Giving the benefit of doubt, Wikipedia’s article does a decent job of pulling together some of the less talked about details that are more important than the sound-bite distortions plaguing the mainstream media. OThe account is predominantly in-line with the version of events championed by the feds. It does not even address the blatant character assassination regarding his allegedly ‘racist’ comments which were really in support of minorities. Interestingly, there are a few breadcrumbs which invite one down the rabbit-hole.
There has been a bit of chatter about how Bundy should pay the fees like everyone else. According to Wikipedia, there are currently no permits for grazing in this area. The author does not explicitly give any indication as to why this may be. There is the statement that “Bundy asserts that the terms of land use changes in 1993 reduced his allowed cattle by 90%, capping it to about 150 animals.” This is a significant impact to his operation, and may very well account for the Bundies being the last non-recreational ranchers in the county.
Later in the article it is mentioned that “The regional off-site mitigation strategies of non-governmental organizations are also delayed for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone…” The Regional Mitigation Strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone includes “increas[ing] law enforcement and monitoring activities to halt the trend in degradation of resource values; and (2) restore disturbed areas in the Gold Butte ACEC” which includes the areas Bundy and others have been grazing their cattle on.
The article and the court’s decisions clearly indicate that the federal government has owned the land since the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. What I am still trying to find out is why did the government not distribute the land among the people? Oftentimes homestead acts have been used to encourage settlement and development. In this case, the feds instituted provisions for people to stake their livelihoods on government permission to use the land at the government’s sole discretion. Now, the government wants to use the land for other purposes and these people, whose families have been producing on this land for generations, are being told to take a hike.
The question is not whether the federal government owns the land, but should they? These citizens have been reduced to pawns sacrificed for international corporatocratic interests. Of course it’s legal, but that doesn’t make it right.