A group of militants led by Ammon Bundy have occupied a nature reserve. They present their story as one of injustice projected upon them by the federal government. The Bundy and Hammond families, among other ranching families, claimed they have lived off them for generations. This, as you can imagine would create a strong affiliation of with the land for those families. Republicans have been known to support previous actions by the ranchers and this one is no exception. This could be primarily to undermine the Obama administration, as opposed to any true affiliation with the Rancher cause.
The Ranchers activism, it is said, is for the cause of protecting their heritage and livelihood, with many refusing to sell their land to federal authorities. These frictions have caused a certain amount of distress among ranchers. However, their response to take up arms and occupy with the threat of using force if challenged is certainly one to be questioned. Political activism by the people is always something to be admired. But this should always be a peaceful venture, otherwise any positive cause is undermined. If a group of people stand against the powers that be, and are made victims of unrelenting force then the people’s natural sense of justice will rally to their cause. The presence of guns and violent actions of tearing down fences makes the line more blurred and truth harder to access.
The Federal Government, rightly or wrongly, charge ranchers to let their cattle graze on public land at a highly discounted rate compared to privately owned land. The Bundy family have failed to recognize that the land is publicly owned and refused to pay in the past. They also protest against the imprisonment of two ranchers who lit fires that spread to public land. Some attribute the need to burn fires as a cautionary measure to avoid larger fires, as the ranchers have had to reduce their cattle numbers, leading to larger amounts of greenery. The government’s intention is the conservation and protection of the land. However, some of the land is available for lease for agricultural uses as well as oil and mineral extraction.
The bottom line seems is money. Who profits from the land, the ranchers who claim to have heritage and affiliation to it or the federal government who claim to have the protection of the land at heart? It seems that only through an honest and thorough hearing in a court of law can these disputes be settled fairly. It is the obligation of both parties to entertain this idea and see it through. If the ranchers are truly the victims of injustice then their armed occupation only served to dissolve some of the potency of their injustice. Fighting fire with fire is never successful. It is crazy that the original occupiers of the land, native Americans, did not acknowledge or understand land ownership. Centuries later, those who claimed to be more civilized are fighting over just that.