Federal land managers explained that "escalating tensions" forced the release of roughly 400 head of cattle that had been corralled on public land in southern Nevada. The cows belonged to rancher Cliven Bundy, who had refused to relent to federal authority over rights to land he doesn't legally own. Hundreds of Nevada states' rights activists, as well as various militia members congregated around corrals outside of Mesquite, demanding the return of Bundy's animals. Some protesters were armed with rifles and pistols, prompting the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hand the cattle over, to prevent any bloodshed.
Bundy's dispute with the government began in the mid 1990's after he refused to pay the bill for his herd grazing on federal land near Bunkerville, Nevada. After a United States District Court for the District of Nevada trial in 1998, known as the United States v. Bundy, the rancher was prohibited from allowing his cows to eat government grass. Bundy failed to comply, and after years of multiple violations, the BLM rounded up Bundy's trespassing cattle.
With the "Bundy Standoff" looking to be ready erupt in violence, the BLM let Bundy's stock go free on April 11. Bureau of Land Management Chief Neil Kornze stated, "Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public." Kornze's statement came after Bundy promised to "do whatever it takes" to protect his herd.
No injuries were reported, though U.S. Senator Dean Heller, R-Nev. said in a statement, "The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict. I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference."
Various Twitter intrigue concerning the Bundy Standoff:
— middle class slave (@FedUpTrucker104) April 12, 2014
Nevada has open carry, don't go to the ranch unarmed for your own safety.
— John Doe (@ultraconcept) April 12, 2014
NEVADA RANCHER BUNDY AFFAIR IS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG TO WHAT’S COMING http://t.co/aJ7VSO5mej
— Patriots Billboard (@PatriotsOrg) April 14, 2014
Bundy, 67, has claimed that he has ancestral rights to the federal land under contention. Kornze on the other hand commented, "After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially."
Image via YouTube