Cattle Rancher Bundy Volunteered

When Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy thought the Bureau of Land Management was violating, or threatening to violate his Rights, he decided to start a court action to stop the BLM. Back in 1994 when this happened, Mr. Bundy voluntarily (but without realizing it) sprung the government’s trap and ensnared himself in a tangled web that led to confrontation in the Nevada desert about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

More than 200 federal agents were confronted by hundreds of angry citizens who feel the government is wrong and demanded the agents “Go Home.” The federal agents were eventually ordered to stand-down and back-off in order to avoid a situation that could easily turn violent. The protesting citizens know there is something wrong with what the BLM and other federal agents are doing, but they don’t understand how the U.S. District Court could allow the federal government to round-up his cattle and sell them at auction.

Clive Bundy, and his family, all owners of the ranch and cattle are repeatedly named as Defendants in the federal court actions. But it didn’t start that way. In 1994 Mr. Bundy believed his Rights were threatened by the BLM and he, with some others, filed a lawsuit in Federal Court. Bundy is listed as the Plaintiff and the federal government, Janet Reno, Bruce Babbitt and others are listed as the Defendants in the initial court action.

Apparently the BLM used the same trick that has been used on so many American citizens in other types of cases. They posted warnings that might be perceived as a “threat” but were not a real threat, similar to the community redevelopment (urban renewal) case of Kelo v New London. That scam was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Kelo thought her property was being threatened with condemnation and started the action in court – she volunteered!

As I explain in my book “Don’t Volunteer…”, the government’s trick is to stampede a citizen to file an action in the courts when their Rights have not really been threatened. When the citizen instigates the litigation they submit the question to the court and, if unable to show a valid threat, the court takes the question and can rule for what it perceives to be “the public good.” In this particular case, the questionable position of “public good” was the protection of the “endangered” desert tortoise.

In the initial Bundy case the court ruled that the Plaintiff (Bundy) must remove his cattle from public lands and pay the Defendant (federal government) $45.90 per day for each day the cattle remain trespassing on the land, plus other damages. In all subsequent federal court actions, Mr. Bundy was named as the Defendant as the BLM (Plaintiff) and others requested injunctions from the court to enforce the previous rulings of the court.

It is not a new or unique trick the government plays on citizens. It happens repeatedly in various forms around the nation!

My personal sympathies are with Clive Bundy, his family and supporters, and although they feel they have won a battle for citizen rights, and recovered the cattle, they have only won a battle, not the war! U.S. Senator Harry Reid publicly stated, after the withdrawal of federal agents, that the fight isn’t over.

Because the court action was started by Bundy and others, they are now on the losing end of the legal battle. Because of the court ruling, the federal government now wants almost $1-Million in “damages”. At almost $50 a day for 18 years, plus interest, the fines add up.

 It might be best if Mr. Bundy and his supporters realize this, make a deal to settle – then be prepared to fight another battle without “volunteering” for the government’s tricks and version of public good!

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