Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s decades-long battle against the federal government over grazing rights has heated to the point where militia groups have joined in and taken up spots against the feds who’ve circled his land — and talk is, they’re not afraid to open fire.
A spokesman for the one of the militia groups said as much to local 8 News Now: I’m not “afraid to shoot,” he said.
Margaret Houston, Mr. Bundy’s sister and a cancer survivor, said at a town hall gathering this week that the situation “was like a war zone” and that she felt “like I was not in the United States,” The Daily Mail reported.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal described it this way: “Serious bloodshed was narrowly avoided,” in a story about how dogs were unleashed on a woman who was pregnant while the rancher’s son was hit with a taser.
On Tuesday, armed Bureau of Land Management agents stormed Mr. Bundy’s property, escalating a court dispute that’s wound for two decades over the rancher’s refusal to pay for grazing fees.
Mr. Bundy’s view is that he owns his property — that it’s been in his family’s hands for centuries — and he doesn’t have to pay for his own 900-head of cattle to graze on the 600,000 acre Gold Butte property.
The government, meanwhile, says the land belongs to it, and agents have swooped and circled, closing off roadway access to the property and flying helicopters overhead the family’s home.
Following the agent occupation, one of Mr. Bundy’s sons, Ammon Bundy, was tasered by a federal official to the point that blood seeped through his shirt, video showed. Ms. Houston, meanwhile, said she was roughed up and manhandled by authorities, telling town hall attendees that she was “hit from the back; it was like a football tackle” and that “they just took me and threw me down to the ground,” The Daily Mail reported.
BLM, for its part, says the situation only turned violent when protesters who rallied to the family’s defense kicked a K-9 unit officer.
Now militia groups are on the scene, promising to help the Bundys keep up the fight.
“This is what we do, we provide armed response,” Jim Lordy, with Operation Mutual Aid, told the local broadcast station. “They have guns. We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.”
Mr. Lordy also said “many more” militia groups are coming to the site to join in the Bundy family defense.
“They all tell me they are in the process of mobilizing as we speak,” another member told the Review-Journal.
• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at email@example.com.
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