Head to Head: Feds’ intervention uncalled for, law unjust


So, I feel like it’s pretty safe to say that this little debacle between the feds and protesters at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada isn’t about an endangered turtle like some have claimed. It isn’t the result of a YouTube video either. (Too soon?)

In laymen’s terms, the U.S. federal government may or may not have had possession of Cliven Bundy’s property before his great-grandparents, and has required him and his family to pay “grazing fees” in order to fund the public land’s maintenance (because, for some dumb reason, it was deemed that he couldn’t do that himself) since the creation of the Bureau of Land Management.

So then, as Shiree Bundy Cox (daughter of Cliven) wrote in a blog, “They (the BLM) were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which was to be used to pay the BLM wages and to help with repairs and improvements of the ranches. My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve.”

This is confusing to me. Why would a farmer pay money to a government agency that is meant to maintain the land he works and lives on? Why does (hypothetically) Bundy need to give the BLM $30 to patch a hole in the fence, when he can pay the same $30 directly to the fence repairman? Why the need for third party intervention? Seems pointless to me. I will believe that ranchers are smarter with their livestock and land than politicians until the day I see Nevada’s U.S. Sen. Harry Reid milk a cow in overalls.

However, this argument isn’t about the necessity of the BLM (unfortunately). It’s about whether or not the recent federal intervention, in Bundy’s case, is just. Well, according to a 2013 court order, the U.S. federal government restated that it does indeed have control over the debated property.

It is stated in the 2013 court order that, “Bundy shall remove his livestock from the New Trespass Lands within 45 days of the date hereof, and that the United States is entitled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass after 45 days of the date hereof.”

I just keep asking, “Why? Why, why, why, why, why?”

Why does Bundy need to pay the federal government to facilitate maintenance on land that he freely does on his own? If the land is being maintained by Bundy’s own will, without government intervention, what is the problem? I guess if you like your farm, you can’t keep that either now.

Why, according to Bundy’s daughter, has the BLM “bought all the rest of the ranchers in the area out with their own grazing fees?”

Why are environmentalists making this whole thing about a damn turtle when the government planned to euthanize over half the species’ population last year? Meanwhile, Nevada state director for the BLM, Amy Leuders, tells media that, “In terms of the number that we’ve found, animals who are, I think, deceased on the range, or if we’ve had to euthanize an animal, we don’t have an answer to that question at this time.” So sometimes it’s perfectly fine to carelessly kill someone’s cattle, but just not the sacred turtles. Lord, help us.

Why was it necessary for the government to spend $3 million to intimidate and send in snipers to the Bundy ranch? I mean, if you want a hamburger that bad, there are much more humane ways of doing so. And it’s okay to send snipers in against an American farmer, but if you’re an American official being burned alive by protesters in a foreign consulate, that would be a bit much. But I mean, what difference does it make at this point, anyways?

But all in all, the laws may seem to be there to prove that the federal government does have just right to the property. But, simply because the government’s actions are just in the eyes of the law, doesn’t mean that the actions result in justice.

Bundy is an example of an American fighting what is just in the name of law, for justice – what is right in the name of law.

Laura Meyers is a sophomore in pre-journalism. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.