Law Enforcement Yawns As Cliven Bundy’s Sons Continue Their Armed Bird Sanctuary Occupation
You might recall Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who led an armed confrontation last April between protesters and law enforcement officials over a 20-year dispute between Bundy and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over unpaid grazing fees on federally owned land. Bundy claimed at the time that he had ancestral rights to the land predating the existence of the BLM:
I’ve lived my lifetime here. My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements.”
“My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here.
Those claims were later disproven when the I-Team at KLAS-TV conducted an in-depth investigation which found that “Clark County property records show Cliven Bundy’s parents moved from Bundyville, Arizona and bought the 160 acre ranch in 1948 from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt.”
Water rights were transferred too, but only to the ranch, not the federally managed land surrounding it. Court records show Bundy family cattle didn’t start grazing on that land until 1954.
The Bureau of Land Management was created 1946, the same year Cliven was born.
It seems the apple doesn’t fall very far from Cliven Bundy’s family tree. It seems that this Saturday Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Bundy’s sons, and “about 150” militiamen have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters to protest the pending imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, who were about to by jailed for setting fires that spread to government lands.
Ryan Bundy told NBC News that the Hammond family’s case was “an example of the terrorism that the federal government is placing upon the people.” However the Hammonds’ attorney rebuffed this support, telling police that “neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond family.”
For the most part, law enforcement has taken a “hands-off” approach to the situation with the FBI releasing a statement on Sunday saying that it was working with local and state police “to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation.”
The agency said it would not be providing details of its response because of “safety considerations for both those inside the refuge as well as the law enforcement officers involved.”
NBC News reports that “there was no police presence at the site” of the occupation although “several pickup trucks blocked the entrance to the refuge.”
Ammon Bundy conceded during an interview with NBC’s TODAY on Monday that the occupiers pose no actual risk to anyone, adding that: “We’re putting nobody in harm’s way. We are not threatening anybody. We’re 30 miles out of the closest town.”
Meanwhile on social media, word quickly spread that the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was predominantly a bird refuge, a home to 320 species of birds and 58 species of mammals in desert, grassland, marsh and rimrock habitats.
As Huffington Post reports: “Twitter users did what they do best this weekend and created the hilarious hashtags #VanillaISIS, #YallQaeda, and #YeeHawd to mock the gunmen who took over a federal building in Oregon.” Huffington Post added that: “While #VanillaISIS and #YallQaeda have surfaced on Twitter before, they took off over the weekend as users ridiculed the Oregon group.”
Oregon militiamen are willing to be martyred for their cause. And if they die, they will receive 72 cousins in the afterlife. #YallQaeda
— Belvin Klopoknik (@Klopoknik) January 4, 2016
— Wade (@ginsengity) January 4, 2016
— Citizens Fed Up (@CitizensFedUp) January 4, 2016
— RevoltPolitic (@RevoltPolitic) January 4, 2016