As WesternJournalism.com reported this week, a Nevada family is currently facing a stalemate with the Bureau of Land Management, which claims Cliven Bundy is violating a 21-year-old environmental law by allowing his cattle to graze on the land.
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The ongoing battle took an even more troubling turn when, as federal agents rounded up Bundy’s cattle, several members of his family decided to peacefully record the proceedings with a handheld camera. Though the individuals were reportedly on a public road, authorities demanded they leave the area.
When Dave Bundy did not respond quick enough, officials released an attack dog on him, took him into police custody, and allegedly prevented his family from contacting him or learning anything about his supposed crime. Bundy supporters, according to federal authorities, are required to remain within a hastily constructed “First Amendment Area,” which has led to understandable backlash from those who value their right to free speech.
Numerous protesters have defied the order, leaving just a selection of signs – including one that reads “1st Amendment is not an area” – inside of the two allocated spaces.
Refreshingly, it is not just Bundy supporters who have expressed outrage over the limitations placed on freedom of expression. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has joined in the conversation with a recently released statement.
“Most disturbingly to me is the BLM’s establishment of a ‘First Amendment Area’ that tramples upon Nevadans’ fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution,” he explained. “To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the ‘First Amendment Area’ should be dismantled immediately.”
Ryan Bundy expressed his appreciation for Sandoval’s statement, concluding that limiting free speech has disastrous implications.
“Whenever you designate an area, then you’re restricting it everywhere else,” he said.
The entire ordeal has turned the family ranch into a “military compound,” he said – and all in a supposed effort to protect an endangered tortoise.
Cliven Bundy maintains that he is willing to fight for his property, which likely means the standoff between the government and his family will continue. With Sandoval interjecting his disapproval of at least one aspect of the BLM’s actions, this development is one bright spot in an otherwise protracted and disheartening situation.
Photo Credit: Facebook/LisaMarie Johnson