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Conflict & Tragedy

Nevada rancher vows to stand ground against armed federal agents; ‘First Amendment Area' declared for protesters

Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy said that he is "prepared to be killed" as dozens of armed federal agents close in on him amid allegations that Bundy illegally allowed his cattle to graze on protected government land.

Federal authorities were dispatched Saturday to enforce an order to remove cattle from a section of land Bundy claims has been in his family since 1870. Officials from the US Bureau of Land Management said that Bundy violated a 1993 modification to grazing rights on the land that was put into effect to protect the desert tortoise. The BLM alleges that Bundy has repeatedly ignored the ruling.

Bundy acknowledged his refusal to obey the order, saying, the government has no authority over the reported 600,000 acres surrounding his home. He has also refused to pay tens of thousands of dollars in grazing fees accrued over the past 20 years, since he asserts that the disputed land is rightfully his.

Even as authorities moved in with helicopters and hired cowboys to remove the cattle, Bundy promised fight back if authorities encroach any farther onto his land.

“With all these rangers and all this force that is out here, they are only after one man right now. They are after Cliven Bundy. Whether they want to incarcerate me or whether they want to shoot me in the back, they are after me. But that is not all that is at stake here. Your liberty and freedom is at stake,” the 67-year-old Bundy told reporters.

Bundy and his family accused the government agents of trespassing and said the move represents a showdown between big government and American farmers, while federal officials said it is about enforcing the law and protecting the endangered desert tortoise.

While the two parties continues its war of words in the media, federal law enforcement agents are gearing up for the potential confrontation that may take place.

Mike Paczesny of therundownlive.com wrote, “Armed agents are forming a military-like staging area to prevent anyone from approaching the area.”

Additionally, authorities reportedly set up a "First Amendment Area" for the more than 100 supporters who have shown up to protest what many call a gross abuse of government power. The roped-off area has been ignored by the protesters who left signs which read “1st Amendment is not an area” and another that states, “Welcome to Amerika – Wake Up” alongside a hammer and sickle logo, according to Infowars writer Paul Joseph Watson.

Opinion

While the feds are saying they are protecting the desert tortoise, Bundy claims that his cattle are beneficial to the tortoises because they feed on the cow manure. If this is the case, then why all the fuss? Apparently this is about the thousands of dollars in grazing fees the government claims Bundy owes, but if its really his property then he shouldn't owe the government anything.

It looks like the government could be flexing its “eminent domain” muscles here.

Eminent domain is “The power to take private property for public use by a state or national government,” or, to put it another way, “The Lord giveth but the government taketh away.”

Eminent domain is just the government's way of reminding you that you own nothing. Regardless of whether you bought it with your hard-earned money and/or your forefathers nurtured and protected it for generations, it is all for naught when Uncle Sam comes calling.

Sadly, Bundy would likely lose any challenge in federal court concerning this land and the seemingly police state-inspired moves it is taking to secure it. Despite this, it is still a matter for the courts, and unless Bundy can come up with a deed or something proving ownership, he certainly won't have a leg to stand on in court.

Grazing cattle and tortoises aside, the thing that raises my concern is the declaration of that so-called “First Amendment Area.” This concerns me as a citizen and journalist because it is a direct assault against the First Amendment. Since when is there a restriction on where in public you can have free speech if you are not interfering with others?

The restriction of free speech is one of the first steps toward tyranny.

There is no doubt that a systematic dismantling of our Constitution is now taking place. We are living in a time where executive orders have all but trumped the Bill of Rights. We now reside in a state where craftily worded statutes have eroded away the very foundation of the Constitution itself.

We watch as open war has been declared upon our rights and freedoms. The powers that be have seemingly abandoned all pretense and subtlety as they push closer toward the fruition of their agendas.

Paranoia? Conspiracy theory? Take a look around you. Take a moment from the monotonous day-to-day grind we face to keep our heads above water. Take a moment from that same grind that also makes some of us oblivious to the things happening around us and pay attention.

For years now, we have lived under the threat of terror in our own backyards, with the promise of government protection, yet we are no safer now than we were all those years ago. We look for the threats from without but neglect to see the threats from within. When we do focus inward, where does this threat really lie?

Is it with a soldier whose wounded mind lead him on a deadly rampage or deranged individuals who kill our children and loved ones en masse? Or, is it something more insidious, more pervasive and more deadly than all of the terrorists and mass shooters combined?