Cliven Bundy needs a new hat (video)

Mr. Bundy, I wanted to believe you were the hero of this modern day Wild West standoff. I really did.


I grew up on a ranch, in a farming and ranching community. We raised, bred and sold quarter horses. Our neighbors ranched cattle, farmed squash or grew oranges. Occasionally, those animals would get loose, and whoever was handy would help catch and corral them. There was, and is, a stubborn independent streak in that community. Local matters – be they legal, personal or animal – were handled locally.


The federal government was something to gripe about and, if you were so inclined, to volunteer to serve. It was considered little more than a remote means to an end. So, the sight of hundreds of armed federal agents descending on your land raised my hackles. The news that these agents were rounding up your cattle even more so.


Early on, many honest, freedom loving and libertarian minded Americans flocked to your side. Some literally, and some armed. Others defended you to friends, in public, in newspapers and in broadcasts. Initially, my heart was with them. Was with you.


In fact, if that was all I knew about the situation, I might still be on your side. I might see you, as some do, as a modern day John Wayne, white hat and all, standing against corrupt governments and legal injustice. When you talked about guts and grit and freedom, it resonated.


But then I did some research. I learned a few uncomfortable facts, and my resolution slipped. What did I learn? Well, for starters…


#1 – The Bundy family has NOT been grazing that land since the 1800s, they have only used the land since the 1950s


#2 – The Federal Government does own the land


#3 – You initially agreed to pay grazing fees


#4 – Then you stopped the payment of fees, but not because of the price or the endangered tortoise. According to you, you just decided the Federal Government didn’t own the land. Further, you openly admit you “abide by almost zero federal laws.”


I still wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, so I did what all good reporters should do. I listened to you. Given every opportunity, in front of a very supportive and sympathetic audience, you pulled out your foot and stuck it in your mouth.


First, you said this was not about fees. It was about who you would pay fees too. The federal government, you said, had neither rights nor jurisdiction to the land on which your cattle grazed. You admitted you did not own the land, but still insisted you had every right to graze on it. All due respect, Mr. Bundy, but, in my hometown, when we wanted to use our neighbors land to graze our horses, or they wished to use ours, an agreement was struck. One party paid the other party, in cash or in goods or services of equal value.


When questioned on Glenn Beck’s radio program about your grazing habits, you insisted you “did not graze your cattle on federal land.” Here’s the video.


When Beck replied that he also had cattle and grazed on federal land, your further insisted that your state, not the federal government, owned the land. You also said you are a “citizen of [my] county and [my] state.” In other words, the US government has no land rights or property jurisdiction in Nevada.


Second, in the same conversation, you insisted that BLM thugs still held your cattle. When told about the video of your cattle being released, you insisted your sons had told you otherwise. When told your sons were at the release, literally holding the gate, you said nothing.


A few days later, one of your sons released an image of a dead cow and a hole in the ground, insisting the BLM had executed “up to 40” cattle and buried them in a mass grave. Sir, I have helped bury more than one cow-sized animal. There is no way there were 40 cows in that hole. If there had been, after so many days, the carcasses would have been, I’ll be delicate here … obvious.


And, finally, in Saturday’s press conference, which you, yourself call and hold daily, you took the opportunity to once again denounce the federal government. Then you said the following about black welfare recipients:


“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”


Here’s the video. 


Mr. Bundy, I really wanted to support you. But, knowing what I know now, I only have this to say. You, sir, do not deserve the white hat you are wearing. You are no one’s hero.


*image credit 


“I am a storyteller. Fortunately, that is also what I get paid to do.” - E. Adam Porter President of Atlas Multimedia Productions, a print and digital writing and editing service and the founder of First published at the age of 20, Adam has been writing professionally ever since. He is the author of several books and his byline has appeared in hundreds of published newspaper and magazine articles.

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