The ranching family confronted with a barrage of armed federal agents over the past week – along with scores of constitutional patriots who stood in support – has been able to breathe a sigh of relief after the Bureau of Land Management decided Saturday to back down. Unfortunately, evidence has since surfaced suggesting the federal government is merely regrouping before charging back into Clark County, Nev.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who some suggest would stand to benefit from forcing the Bundys off of the federal land on which their ranch sits, declared Monday that the situation is “not over.”
Former Graham County, Ariz. Sheriff Richard Mack, currently with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, is concerned about the possibility of federal agents returning with even more force. Hundreds of protesters – consisting primarily of cowboys and state militia members – arrived en masse to form a human barrier against the BLM onslaught.
“It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way,” he said of Saturday’s retreat. “They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here.”
When officers ultimately returned the cattle seized during the standoff, Mack said up to 800 protesters were on the scene.
“They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here,” he reasoned. “This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.”
Protesters, worried about the possibility of federal agents opening fire on the assembled group of protesters, began to put some of the most vulnerable activists among them near the front. This tactic, they presumed, would force armed officers to consider the consequences of instigating violence. Mack, however, said he would gladly stand on the front lines.
“I would’ve gone next,” he said. “I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here.”
He concluded that bloodshed is all but guaranteed should the government initiate a raid of the ranch, which the Bundy family has operated since 1877. Clark County, which was reportedly once home to 53 ranches, now consists of just the Bundy Ranch.
According to Mack, the BLM is interested in destroying the ranching industry, which was largely responsible for building the American West. He expressed frustration with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who failed to act against the federal overreach despite concluding their actions were unconstitutional.
“He could have called in the state’s national guard,” Mack said, “could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy; that’s cowardly.”
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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)