Armed protesters confused entitlement with freedom when they rallied against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over a 20-year running land dispute with a Nevada rancher. A week-long standoff ended when guz-crazed Tea Partiers pressed the BLM into abandoning their attempts to restore law.
Last week, BLM agents attempted to round up over 300 head of cattle because rancher Cliven Bundy has refused to pay $1.35 a month per cow-calf pair to graze on public lands since 1993. Bundy owes the federal government over $1 million. The debt prompted the federal government into ordering Bundy to remove the cattle for the last 20 years, but Bundy still refused to pay the fees or remove the cattle.
When the government, after decades of administrative tactics, attempted to remove the cattle, agents were met by armed right-wingers who shouted for freedom and accused the government of “tyranny.” This event goes to show that conservatives really hate paying their fair share.
Ring of Fire ardently supports the right to free speech and free assembly for all Americans, but the 1,000 protesters who showed up to support Bundy came looking for a fight, rather than to deliver a message. They wanted the government to attack them so they could justify having to use their guns against the Big Bad Government.
“If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,” said a protester who carried an AR-15 assault rifle. Another protester said he was “ready to pull the trigger.”
The federal government was well within its right to remove the cattle, and after 20 years, it’s safe to say that Bundy was given a lot of leeway. Certainly other tense situations involving large crowds and law enforcement have gone south because of overzealous police, but any escalation would have fallen onto the protesters in this instance.
Who in the right mind shows up to a protest with a gun? Someone who’s expecting to use that gun.