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

jacqui_84765@yahoo.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. The Malheur Occupation started as a protest against the harsh 9th District Court of Appeals’ treatment of Steven and Dwight Hammond, two Eastern Oregon ranchers. Michael R. Hogan, Oregon District Court judge of Eugene refused to sentence the Hammond’s to the full five year minimum sentence required under the Terrorist Act. Judge Hogan stated: “I am not going to apply the mandatory minimum and because, to me, to do so under the Eighth Amendment would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here…it would be a sentence which would shock the conscience to me.” The BLM and their prosecutor appealed to the 9th District Court of Appeals where the case was remanded for re-sentencing to the five year minimum. A Writ Cert. was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition with thousands of signatures to free the Hammonds was ignored by all the officials involved. A petition signed by thousands asking the Obama Administration for Clemency was shut down. The Bundy’s and supporters protested the Hammond’s second imprisonment only after all other avenues had been pursued.

    However, most all protesters would agree that BLM lands would be administered in a more fair manner in the hands of any other level of government. There are many instances of auctions of the timber, mineral and other rights that have smelled of sweetheart deals, many with foreign companies being the beneficiaries. Our local ranchers, timber industries and environmentalists have may reasons to call the management practices of the BLM as overreaching and even tyrannical.

    Take the case of Tim DeChristopher, an American climate activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising. In December 2008, he protested a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction of 116 parcels of public land in Utah’s redrock country by successfully bidding on 14 parcels of land totaling 22,500 acres for $1.8 million. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents and taken into custody, eventually serving 21 months in prison.

    Time and space considerations prevent me from going into the Finicum killing and legal status of the Bundy Grazing Rights at this time.

  2. The point is the BLM is auctioning of public lands to multinational corporations, bankrupting local ranchers and using very harsh prison sentences on the people that get in their way. The standoff is being misrepresented by media. It was open to all until the government closed off access and the only violence was from the policing agents.

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