The stand off between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management continues, and the potential for deadly violence looms large.
Following Wednesday’s physical altercation, which saw federal agents shoot son Ammon Bundy twice with a stun gun, militia members are said to be descending on the Bundy ranch, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
A West Mountain Rangers militia member who arrived Tuesday told the Review Journal that groups are coming from as far away as New Hampshire, Texas and Florida and the numbers could be in the hundreds.
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“We need to be the barrier between the oppressed and the tyrants,” Ryan Payne said. “Expect to see a band of soldiers.”
Payne and fellow militia member Jim Lardy are armed and ready for confrontation, but insist they will not initiate the bloodshed.
Nevada Republican state Sen. Peter Goicoechea, a rancher himself, is worried about a violent outcome.
“This morning was the first I actually heard that there were military personnel there,” Goicoechea said, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “If, in fact, we actually have military personnel down in that area because that equates to martial law.”
The dispute with the federal government is over Bundy cattle grazing on public land, with the family claiming ancestral rights. The Bureau of Land Management says the “trespass cattle” have been allowed to graze on these lands illegally and have been rounding up the livestock.
A statement was released by federal agents on Wednesday’s incident, the Journal Review reported. The feds say peaceful protests have “crossed into illegal activity,” with Bundy supporters “blocking vehicles associated with the gather, impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees.”
In his own statement, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval expressed concern about an “atmosphere of intimidation.”
“No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans,” Sandoval said.
As tensions continue to mount, comparisons are being made with Ruby Ridge and Waco, where confrontations with federal agents turned deadly. We should hope that the current stand off turns out better, but armed militia on the ground are not a good sign.
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