The Bundy Affair – Answering the Most Common Question
Outpost of Freedom
September 5, 2014
One question that is often asked of me, when the discussion involves the Bundy Affair is, “Was Cliven Bundy in charge of the militia?” Though it has been addressed, to some degree, in my previous writings on the incident in Nevada, many still have not grasped it.
So, let’s look at what happened when the entire matter went public. Cliven Bundy, the patriarch of the family, went public with a request for help and support from anyone who saw that the federal government was being unfair. This wasn’t new, since back in 1993, large numbers of people had gone to the ranch in support of the Bundys, in opposition to the aims of the federal government.
In 1993, the grazing fees were raised. Bundy refused to pay the increased fees, for a number of reasons — primarily that the fees were not going back into grazing land improvements, which was supposed to be the primary expenditure for the money raised by those fees. He was, however, willing to pay the old fee rate to Clark County, though they refused to accept them. Hundreds of people went to the Ranch in support of Cliven’s resisting what was apparently an effort to terminate grazing on public lands. Among those who put out the call, at the time, was Lou Epton, a popular radio host in Las Vegas. Lou even went to the Ranch, in support of Bundy.
Two federal judges, Senior District Judge Lloyd D. George (July 9, 2013)and Judge Larry R. Hicks (October 8, 2013) signed orders enjoining Bundy’s “trespass cattle” from grazing on “new trespass land” and allowing the BLM to “arrest” those “trespass cattle” if they grazed on the Trespass land. What the judges failed to recognize is that, first, cattle don’t read very well, and, second, that if the cattle were “arrested”, for any use to be made of them, they would require both Cattle Health certification and Brand certification, both of which, by law, require the signature of the owner of the cattle. Absent Bundy’s signature, transportation into another state, auction, even slaughterhouses, would have to violate the law by receiving the cattle. This made the BLM and the judges complicit in criminal activity — an oft-overlooked consequence of trying to rustle cattle, in this modern age.
Well, what worked in 1993 might also work in 2014. So, when the BLM began their effort to “rustle” the Bundy cattle, Cliven put out a call for supporters to came, as they had twenty years before, and stand against the chicanery of government.
Among those that heard the call, were Jerry Bruckhart and Ryan Payne, both of Operation Mutual Aid (OMA). Ryan arrived on April 6 and met with Cliven. He offered his services to act as a liaison and coordinate activates of militia members from around the country, who might arrive in support of Bundy’s position of defiance against irrational federal activity. Cliven made clear to Payne that he was not calling up the militia, nor was he encouraging them to help. He was only seeking support by anyone who was willing to contribute their time and effort.
The volunteers who answered the call can be classed in four different categories: Local supporters who were concerned over the intrusion of their community by an onslaught of armed federal agents; cowboys from the area who were willing to stand in defense of Bundy’s rights; Other supporters, many from other states, who felt that the government was, once again, acting contrary to the Constitution and against the people; and, Militia members, again many from other states, being willing to stand, armed, against government aggression — though only in a defensive posture.
Each of the groups decided what they wanted to do, often coordinating with another group. On April 12, 2014, all of the groups worked in concert to achieve the now famous “cattle unrustling”. It was not coordinated from above — by Cliven Bundy. On the contrary, throughout the entire event, he was unaware of much of what occurred, until reports came back of an incident. He simply had faith that those who came to support him would do so in a lawful and peaceful manner.
This doesn’t mean that some of his children and close friends were not working with others. How could you not do what you could to help such fine people as Cliven and Carol Bundy, whether related, or not. Consequently, there was a degree of coordination between groups, as they were all there for the same purpose. And, there were members of the family that were aware of what was going on, from day-to-day, though they never sought advice from, nor apprised Cliven, of what was going on — only reported things that had happened.
So, go back to the beginning question. There were essentially two militia groups. One was off the Ranch on public lands, this group providing a defensive perimeter — to insure that the BLM agents did not enter the Bundy property — which was not authorized by either court order. The other militia unit was detached from the militia and took a role, as individuals, to protect the immediate family, at the Ranch. They were not acting as militia, rather as a Personal Security Detail. They remained on the property and near the house, wary of the government, especially in light of incidents including Donald Scott, Vicki Weaver, David Koresh, and others who had managed to bring the lethal wrath of government upon them. However, Cliven didn’t control them any more than the President controls the Secret Service. Each have their job to do, and each will do all within its power to fulfill its mission.
The method of relationship established between the militia and the owner of the proper, in this incident. resulted in the making the establishment of such a relationship a principal element of the Organizational Plan for Militia Response, as a guideline in any future incident.
So, it’s time to put to rest the idea that Cliven Bundy was the Commanding Officer of the militia. It is much more reasonable to understand that Cliven Bundy was subject to the effect the militia had on the situation. It was independent, and only had a liaison with Bundy so that each would know what the other was doing, to the degree that there might be conflict between the two. It might best be said that Cliven was relying on Divine Providence, and, the militia was, also, relying on Divine Providence.