KLAS-TV in Las Vegas is reporting that the FBI is now conducting an investigation into the armed standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s supporters and local and federal law enforcement. The confrontation, which occurred nearly one month ago, centered on Bureau of Land Management officials attempting to confiscate Bundy’s cattle due to his refusal to pay grazing fees for over 20 years. Bundy and his nearly 400 supporters confronted the BLM officials and refused to comply. Bundy’s supporters, most of whom are from extremist groups and militias, were armed and reportedly aimed guns at both the BLM agents and local law enforcement.
Now, Bundy and his supporters have repeatedly and adamantly stated that they did not point guns at any police officer or BLM official. However, local law officers at the scene tell a different tale. Per Metro Police Sgt. Tom Jenkins:
“It is not a rumor. When we first got out there and made a left to divide I-15, that is all you saw. You saw kids and women and horses in the backdrop and then men with guns, laying on the ground, in the back of pickup trucks. We’re going, ‘wow, this would never happen in Las Vegas,’ But it was there. That is not a rumor. It is reality and I saw it with my own eyes.”
Numerous members of the Metro Police force that were at the scene have confirmed that they’ve spoken with the FBI and that an investigation is definitely underway. It is against federal law to point a firearm at a federal officer. The local law enforcement that was at the scene that day state that the main reason they convinced the BLM agents to release Bundy’s cattle back to him that day was to avoid a violent situation, since there were numerous men surrounding them with heavy artillery. Since Bundy’s supporters had guns aimed directly at them, they decided to allow Bundy to have his way at that point rather than have a deadly eruption of gunfire occur.
Police officers and BLM agents that were there feel pretty confident that the FBI is going to be able to find clear evidence of several members of Bundy’s posse aiming loaded weapons at them. Considering that local news stations ended up filming and covering a good portion of the standoff means that there is probably ample video coverage of the event. Not to mention surveillance cameras or cell phones that might have gathered footage. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Bundy and many of his armed fanatics will be seeing heavy jail time in the near future.
For many residents of the area, that will be a welcome relief. Bundy and his group of gun toting idiots have pretty much worn out their welcome in Bunkerville, NV, which is 75 miles north of Las Vegas. After the standoff with the BLM, the militia members decided to take up residence at Bundy’s ranch and ‘patrol’ the surrounding area. Playing soldier, they set up checkpoints and asked residents to produce IDs to prove they lived there. This led to complaints from local residents. State Sen. Steven Horsford then appealed to the state of Nevada to have Bundy’s group of supporters removed as they made the citizens in the area feel unsafe.
Hopefully, the FBI’s investigation will lead to serious charges filed against Bundy and merry band of seditionists. It is one thing to be passionate about your beliefs and protest against what you feel is an unjust system. It is quite another to take up arms against law enforcement, claim that you do not recognize the law and threaten bloodshed simply because you don’t want to pay your bills. That is terrorism, pure and simple.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).