public land managementI am writing to express my support of the rule of law and of public land management not being turned over to state or private control.

The Bundy followers, so called “patriot” groups, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters received a dangerous message in April 2014 during the Bundy Ranch standoff in Bunkerville. At that time, the BLM and other law enforcement agreed to back away from following through on plans to round up cattle that Cliven Bundy had allowed to graze illegally for years. That being said, I am glad that restraint was demonstrated to prevent the loss of life that certainly would have occurred.  One attendee at that time, a popular speaker for these groups, and a former Sheriff from Arizona, Richard Mack, was quoted on Fox News as saying, “We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”

Unfortunately, the backing down of the BLM and federal government confirmed what these people already believed: that they are above the law. Cliven Bundy claims that he does not recognize the federal government authority. Recently, he confirmed that in court when he said, “I make no plea before this court.” His attorney clarified for the media and public that Bundy does not recognize the authority of the federal government in this matter.

The group led by the Bundys has now, on two well-publicized occasions, pointed guns at civil servants as well as intimidated local citizenry with expectations to get off without consequences. Their claims that they speak for “We the people” are at the very least deceitful and insidious.  It has led to their ability to recruit supporters from across the nation.

“We the people” work, pay taxes, contribute to our communities, and hire those civil servants to manage our land and to make sure people pay for things like grazing permits and mining operations.

Unfortunately, the Bundys and their followers have inadvertently spread their payload of misinformation about the Constitution and public lands in a way that will further the goal of privatization as Rep. Rob Bishop, Ken Ivory, Mike Noel, and the American Lands Council see fit.

Disturbingly, the Bundys and their followers have given us a glimpse of what extremist groups are willing and capable of doing to promote their ill-informed message and achieve their selfish goals.

Hopefully, rule of law will prevail through the court process, justice will be served, and “We the people” will become more educated as to the process of our judicial system and the consequences of armed intimidation and occupation.

We may all benefit from support and funding of public education programs on the following:

—The Constitution, not CW Skousen’s or others’ versions or interpretations.

—The Sovereign Citizens Movement.

—The significant rise of extremist and hate groups over the past five years.

Jaqueline Murray

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