Nevada County Commissioner Implies a Death Threat Against Out-of-Staters Who Might Come to Support Cattle Rancher in His Fight with the Feds: [UPDATED: BLM Backs Down!]


UPDATE: As of Saturday morning, the BLM has announced, ABC News reports, that it will for now cease trying to enforce the court order against Bundy and is leaving the area:

"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 concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

"We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner," he said.

KLAS-TV from Vegas reports that the BLM intends to still sell the cattle it has already confiscated, but might share the revenue with Bundy.

Original post from Friday: I blogged the other day about a still-ongoing conflict in Nevada, where the Bureau of Land Management is making good on a long-time threat, and court orders, to begin confiscating the cattle of a recalcitrant rancher, Cliven Bundy.

Bundy insists he has old family rights to the land that predate the BLM's and thus refuses to pay their fees and continues to graze his cattle on BLM land. His truculent refusal to stop grazing his cattle allegedly represents a mortal threat to the endangered desert tortoise (a tortoise so precious to the federal government that it is happy to kill hundreds of them when government is inconvenienced by them).

Even Nevada's Gov. Brian Sandoval has spoken out against BLM:

my office has received numerous complaints of BLM misconduct, road closures and other disturbances. I have recently met with state legislators, county officials and concerned citizens to listen to their concerns. I have expressed those concerns directly to the BLM."

"Most disturbing to me is the BLM's establishment of a 'First Amendment Area' that tramples upon Nevadans' fundamental rights under the U.S. Constitution. To that end, I have advised the BLM that such conduct is offensive to me and countless others and that the 'First Amendment Area' should be dismantled immediately. No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.

Bundy has the kind of attitude toward the federal government--he thinks it doesn't have legitimate authority over him even where state or local government might--that resonates with those who still hold fealty to the old "militia movement," so rumors fly of allegedly hundreds of citizen "militiamen" coming to his aid.

In response to this, Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins got very, very verbally threatening indeed, in a conversation with a Utah county commissioner named Darin Bushman, who:

called Collins about the Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy's cattle in the Gold Butte area, about 80 miles east of Las Vegas. The cattle are being seized after Bundy failed to pay grazing fees over 20 years. When the conversation ended, Bushman posted on Facebook that Collins said Utahns are "inbred bastards" and if they come to Clark County to support Bundy they "better have funeral plans."

Collins also told Bushman that they should mind their "own (expletive) business."….

In an interview, Collins downplayed Bushman's elected office, noting his county has only about 1,500 people. Census data shows the tiny rural county has just 1,556 people.

"I'm trying to do everything I can to discourage anybody who tells me they're coming here with loaded guns," Collins said. "I'm going to tell them not to come."….

Bushman said he told Collins he was heading to the protest and expected some people from his county to be there, as the issue has attracted the concerns of Utah ranchers.

"This guy was just off-the-hook weird," Bushman said. "I've never ran into a fellow commissioner who treated me like that."….

When asked if he had any regrets about what he told the county commissioner from Utah, Collins said: "I've got no regrets about what I said to that son of a bitch."

Lots of local supporters already have come to protest the BLM in person. Here's an interesting video of federal authorities standing off with citizens, including tasing them and throwing a woman to the ground for standing in the way of one of their trucks:

NEXT: Obama Administration Slapped With 'Muzzle Awards' for Threatening Free Expression

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Bundy Ranch?
    Wake me up when it's the Bunny Ranch that's in trouble.

    1. If you want to use the Taser l'amour...there's an additional charge.

  2. I still don't know what I think about the case itself, but the rampant thuggery of all of the officials involved isn't exactly surprising.

    1. It's become their default reaction.

    2. BLM stole land his family has claimed for 150 years and has tried to make him pay grazing fees, which he has refused to pay. Now, blaming an endangered tortoise (which ironically does better on grazed land)(which the government is planning on exterminating anyway because of lack of funds) BLM has sent in SWAT to kill his cattle and his family. Basically they want another WACO.

      1. Oh Bullshit. He doesn't claim ownership of that land. If he did, he'd have a land patent issued by either the govt of Mexico (pre-1846) or the US (post-1846) - like every other landowner in the US.

        What he is asserting is that he can graze his cattle wherever he wants and he's gotten away with that because the feds own all the land in Nevada and they are the worst sort of passive-aggressive landowner out there.

        If the land had been owned locally, he and his cattle would have long ago been shot by now.

        1. Well, you clearly know nothing about real property rights. Profit a prendre, use easements, irrevocable licenses, are property rights protected by the 5th amendment to the US Constitution and every state constitution as well. He doesn't have to own the land to have an enforceable property right to its use.

          The feds may have authority to assert the interests of the tortoise, but what they most assuredly do not have is the right to use the regulatory schema as a pretext to do a land grab for a Chinese government project.

  3. Nevada County Commissioner Implies a Death Threat Against Out-of-Staters Who Might Come to Support Cattle Rancher in His Fight with the Feds

    Meh. I didn't think Bundy was implying a death threat when he said he'd do "whatever it takes" to defend his property. And I don't think this is an implied death threat either.

    Of course, he's not setting up sniper positions, so maybe Doherty has a point here.

    1. Maybe he already has pre-sighted markers set up...

      1. You mean Warty is his interior decorator?

      2. "This 'gentleman' had three pairs of trees -- each *in a straight line* -- establishing a killing field well in advance of our arrival."

  4. Maybe someone can help me here, is this because he won't pay the fees to graze or because of the protected tortoise?

    1. It's because of "fuck you, that's why".

    2. Why can't it be both?

      1. Cattle and tortoises can't graze in the same area.

        1. Bundy maybe has special cattle that graze on tortoises?

        2. Tortoises do better in cattle grazed areas for some strange reason.

      2. It can it just doesn't make much sense.

        It's really not protected if his cattle can still kill or harm the tortioses, as long as he pays a fee first.

        1. I think the fees partly pay for a sanctuary for the tortoises.

    3. It's about ENN energy that wants to put a wind farm on that land. It's about Rory Reid, a Las Vegas attorney, who represents ENN. It's about Harry Reid. It's about corruption.

  5. OK< it's Alex Jones so take it with a grain of salt, but why would the BLM have suddenly pulled this from its website if there wasn't something fishy going on?

    Reid's family ties have always been a bit...sketchy, but if this is true, we're talking about some serious corruption.

    1. Reid's family ties have always been a bit...sketchy, but if this is true, we're talking about some serious corruption.

      Move along citizen...nothing to see here!

      1. You're right, Sen. Murtha. What was I thinking?

        1. Harry Reid taught Hillary Clinton how to invest.

    2. Rory Reid, Harry Reid's son represents ENN Energy. Yeah, it's exactly what it looks like and smells like.

  6. What do these protesters think this is, America?

  7. If you are the government why would you want to force a confrontation?

    Just wait a week a month a year then arrest the guy peacefully at a gas station.

    1. Problem is, that would be the smart thing to do, and people who do smart things don't generally work in decision-making roles in the government. Besides which, let's say they just clip this dude and nape the entire herd. What negative repercussions would ensue?

      1. They arrested his son for videotaping the cattle rustle from a public road. These JBTs aren't interested in a peaceful settlement. They want his ranch burnt out.

    2. It's called "marketing". Peaceful arrests don't get you a fuckton of free press coverage. And they sure don't want to purchase banner ads.

    3. I remember seeing an interview with the sheriff just after the Waco travesty. He said he knew Koresh personally and that he told the feds if they wanted him arrested he would be glad to do it. Koresh went jogging outside the compound every morning and the sheriff said he would just pull up to him and say " hey Dave, hop in we have to talk."

      The feds told him to fuck off and stay out of their way, they would handle it.

      1. Tortoise=the children in this case

    4. If you are the government why would you want to force a confrontation?

      You just don't understand these people.

      The Takers get their rocks off forcing people to do comply. The more naked power they exert, the better. Coercion isn't a means to an end, it is the end.

      1. ^ Finally! Somebody gets it.

        There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always?do not forget this, Winston?always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face?forever.

      2. Must...make...public....example....of

        That way, the next person will think twice about defying the federal government. It's a "deterrent".

    5. If you are the government why would you want to force a confrontation?

      Fuck you, that's why!

      1. Well, the federales bought a billion rounds of ammunition in the last months, most if not all of which is hollow point. The Geneva Convention forbids using it in warfare so it must have been stockpiled for domestic consumption. Why not get ready to distribute it to the population? A recalcitrant cattleman is as good a recipient as any.

    6. Just wait a week a month a year then arrest the guy peacefully at a gas station.

      They could have done same thing with David Koresh. The US gov does nothing subtle, which is why they suck at trying to be Soviet.

    7. Just wait a week a month a year then arrest the guy peacefully at a gas station.

      Surely, Sir Corning, you haven't forgotten Waco and Ruby Ridge?

      How do you test the skills of your snipers, use the capabilities of your tanks when you just have a uniform pop him when he's buying a pack of American Spirit at the 7-11?

    8. You mean turning a house into a tinderbox and adding flammable gases is forcing confrontation? Or shooting a woman who's under seige in front of her family?
      This will not end well.

      1. You forget that the woman was armed with a baby when she was shot.

        She might have thrown the baby at the government agents so shooting her to prevent harm to the baby and the agent was the only correct move to make.

        They shot her for the children.

      2. Or dropping C-4 on a rowhome then shooting the people as they run out of the burning house killing 5 children in the process?

    9. +1 Rambo.

  8. Free Hat!
    Free Hat!
    Free Hat!

  9. Where the heck is Sheriff Taylor? Boy, they need him up in Moapa Valley big time. Did he die and somebody put crazy Barney in charge?

    Rational adults are nowhere to be found.

    1. Compared to these thugs Barney Fife is reasonable.

  10. "No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans."

    Hindu: "Aw, so its gonna be like that now?"

  11. I liked this movie better when it was called 3:10p To Yuma

  12. Bundy sounds like the kind of guy that is impossible to deal with. I could be wrong, but from the things he has said and his constantly losing in court, I don't think so. The feds could have easily come out looking like the good guys in this, but.....well...they are the Feds. I have never heard anyone describe the BLM as anything but the worst kinds of thugs and bullies.

    What does that mean, first amendment zone? Fuck you BLM, the first amendment zone is encircled by the borders of the United States. My sympathies has shifted now.

    Where is that jug eared half-wit? He was happy to stick his foot in his mouth and meddle in local affairs when his buddy got arrested for a bullshit offense. Now we have a possible shooting war brewing and we get silence. What do you want to bet he is crossing his fingers hoping the whole thing blows up?

    1. ...have shifted.....ugh.

    2. I really think this is going to end in a blood bath. I just hope they take out some feds before it's all over.

    3. He doesn't have a hypothetical son that fits any bill here.

    4. Their is a no Constitution zone 100 miles wide that encircles the US at it's borders and coasts.

      The DHS said so.

  13. If you like your cattle, you can keep your cattle.

  14. BLM, ATF, NSA: All departments of unchecked thuggery.
    This could end very badly.

    1. I'm always wondering when some retired guy out in the boonies will decide to make it end badly for the federal agents.

      It will be sure to end badly for him too, but if you retire out in the boonies, you're probably planning on being buried there anyway.

  15. "I'm trying to do everything I can to discourage anybody who tells me they're coming here with loaded guns," Collins said.

    Except, of course, the Federal agents coming to kills cows in the name of saving tortoises they plan to kill.

    Who does some rancher nut think he is, letting his cows kill a few tortoises? Those tortoises are for the federal agents to kill.

    1. I swear to God progressives are born with a genetic defect that blocks all cognitive dissonance.

    2. There are no tortoises.

      Reid had the boundaries changed and he exchanged the cattle range into the boundary so a developer buddy of his could pull his land out.

  16. Why don't they just wait until Bundy rounds them up for market?

    Because, Fuck You! We won!

  17. If it walks like Waco and quacks like Waco...

  18. 20 YEARS?!? why wasn't this crook arrested in 1996? you mean i can skip out on my property taxes for 20 years, say i'm a so sovereign citizen of right-wing kookville, and then have thousands of anti-government nutcases chanting my name on my doorstep. why didn't anyone tell me about this?

    i love the article, brian. those poor right-wing demogogues got a death threat from a local who understandably doesn't want an armed band of idiots itching to have a shootout with the local police force. is now a good time to tell you that in the space of 15 minutes i find 5 comments on nutcase militia boards specifically advocating violence against blm officials?

    1. Ummm .. . your social life nust suck if you're spending a Friday night reading nutcase militia boards that you apparently hate.

    2. in the space of 15 minutes i find 5 comments on nutcase militia boards specifically advocating violence against blm officials?

      Find away Mr Socialist.

      Yet not one of those "nutcases" will actually do jack shit.

      You are confusing trolls with actual threats.

    3. Awwww, someone threatened your poor widdle fascist government.

    4. By the way why are Federal "police" involved?

      Since when are the Feds needed to enforce trespassing violations?

      Why would you want the Feds to enforce it?

    5. At first I also was under the false impression that the arrears in grazing payments was the reason for the BLMs action.

      But if you will lower your love shield for all government actions long enough to read about the Harry Reid connection to all of this you will learn that the non payment of fees is the excuse for the BLMs actions, not the reason.

      Whether or not you will be able to publicly admit that is another story.

      1. Irrelevant. AmSoc isn't interested in the legitimacy of government, he's only concerned with government maximizing its power. Like all the other pissant Marxists who got beat up in high school, he knows he can't hack it in a world where people are judged on their own merits and efforts, but he thinks that if he can espouse the right totalitarian ideals he can be a part of the ruling class after the takeover. He desperately wants to be respected and feared, and is possibly one personal setback or spurned romantic overture away from a Columbine scenario.

        So, you see, the possibility of Harry Reid taking advantage of his position for personal gain is a feature to AmSoc, not a bug. And if it takes a few jackbooted thugs killing some of the little people, well, that's what they get for not obeying their superiors.

      2. How many Congress Critter were arrears in their tax bill, but did not have the full force of the federal government on their doorstep.

    6. You're just pissed because this couldn't possibly add up to 100 million dead at the hands of the state.

    7. AmSoc is upset that a rancher is threatening violence to defend himself against armed thugs. Obviously the government is the only entity that can legitimately use force to pursue its objectives.

      Don't worry, AmSoc, if you stick around long enough somebody will post an article about a cop shooting someone's dog. Maybe you'll luck out and there'll be an ATF raid where someone's grandmother gets shot to death.

  19. The entire concept of "federal land" is unConstitutional. There is no authority for federal 'ownership' of land -- with very small and limited exceptions:
    "To establish post offices and post roads;
    "To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings."
    [Art I, Sec 8].

    There are no post offices, forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, or other needful buildings anywhere near the land in question. If this is indeed 'public land' then it is part of Nevada, and not subject to the authority of the BLM (which itself has no Constitutional authority even to exist).

    1. The BLM seems like something everybody can love to hate, too.

      I know ranchers hate it because the BLM dominates so much land in the West, and they effectively confiscated so much land that already had claims on it--like they apparently did with this guy.

      On the other side of the fence, environmentalists hate the BLM because it seems to exist for the benefit of large scale ranchers. It's ostensibly to protect public land from people like ranchers, but it seems to mainly serve to protect the interests of huge scale ranchers from environmentalists.

      See the recent scandal regarding the BLM, effectively, shipping off thousands of wild mustangs to be slaughtered in Mexico as an example.


      Should be an easy entity to go after on both sides of the aisle.

      1. You have no fucking idea what you are talking about.

        1. Care to be more precise?

          I'm just going by what I've read.

          1. Do ranchers not resent the BLM?

            Do environmentalists not resent the BLM for, supposedly, siding with the ranchers?

      2. From the B.L.M. website:
        "On December 27, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13562 establishing the Internship Program and the Recent Graduates Program and revising and reinvigorating the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. These two new programs, along with the PMF Program, collectively form what the President called the Pathways Programs. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the final rule for the Pathways Programs on May 11, 2012 (77 FR 28194) and it was made effective July 10, 2012. The Pathways Program requirements are found in part 362 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The appointing authorities for the Pathways Programs are found in 5 CFR 213.3402(a), (b), and (c)." - Where do you think these people get their education?

        1. I know where there are "wild" cows on the Aleutian Chain but nobody gives a shit about them. And they don't even taste as good as "nonindigenous horse".

          1. So, you're saying that wild horses are something people shouldn't care about?

            Are you saying they don't really slaughter horses for food (or dog food)?

            That wasn't my point.

            I was saying that the BLM is unpopular with both sides. Whether the environmentalists should care about wild horses is your issue, I guess. The fact is that the environmentalists DO about the horses--whether they should or not--and the BLM is unpopular with environmentalists.

            Meanwhile, the BLM controls so much land, it's incredible, and ranchers resent it. It looks like the only parts of Nevada that aren't managed by the BLM are part of a military base.


            The solution, which both environmentalists and ranchers really should support, is to privatize that land. If the environmentalists want to buy that land and let the Nature Conservancy take care of it, then those private charities would do a much better job of protecting wild horses, wolves, buffalo, and whatever else the they care about than the BLM does.

            Meanwhile, if those ranchers really don't want to contend with the BLM, then they should be given the first opportunity to bid on the land they've been leasing.

            Regardless, the solution is to privatize that land--for both groups. amiga was right. They have no good reason to control that land--and there should be plenty of support for privatization on both sides of the aisle--each for their own reasons.

            1. The fucking BLM are environmentalists, dipshit.

              1. They didn't look like environmentalists with all those guns drawn and the snipers on the hill. Environmentalists would have surrounded the ranch with a drum circle singing we are the world

    2. You must have gleemed that post from some old dead document you found waiting it's turn in the outhouse to be used in a productive manner.

    3. That's all fine in theory. In FACT, however, the feds actually have to transfer the land ownership to someone else via a little piece of paper called a land patent.

      And since they have quite deliberately failed to do that, the land remains federal - the West remains depopulated - every pissant dispute in the region becomes a federal case - govt jackboots get their rocks off playing petty tyrant - and most people outside the region are the very definition of clueless enablers of all this.

  20. The Oath Keepers are getting involved:

    "LAS VEGAS, NV, April 10, 2014

    Washington State Representative Matt Shea in organizing a delegation of current serving Western state legislators and Sheriffs to travel to the site of a tense stand-off between Bunkerville, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The delegation is traveling to Nevada to support a coalition of current serving Nevada legislators being organized by Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, of Las Vegas, to stand vigil at the Bundy ranch to prevent Federal Government provocation of violence resulting in another Ruby Ridge or Waco type incident."


    Sic the dogs on them? Use their tasers? It'll be interesting to see the BLM try something like that on camera with some off duty Sheriffs and various state legislators.

  21. I find it very ironic that someone whose entire profession can be described as 'professional busybody' can feel that people poking their noses into his business is somehow unjustifiable...

  22. Can I get a "Wo Bundy"?

  23. The point that Mr Bundy is trying to make is that there is no such thing as "federal" land, save say the national parks. He contends that once a State has been created and becomes part of the Union all lands not titled to an individual are State property, not Federal property. As such, the BLM has no role or authority save that granted to it by the State.

    The issue has far reaching consequences that go well beyond this particular situation. I would like to see the State of Nevada exercise authority under the 10th amendment and arrest the BLM managers who are directing this operation. Other States should also coordinate their efforts with the action Navada takes by informing federal officials in their states that if they attempt to take similar action within their State they too can expect to be arrested.

    Not only should Navada exercise its sovereignty by declaring ownership of all "federal lands" and clarify what support they expect from the federal government; all other states, particularly those west of the Mississippi, where "federal land ownership" is disproportionately high, should do the same. The Federal government is the agent of the States, not the reverse.

    It is time to restore the Republic and the concept of federalism, and this issue provides the vehicle for doing so.

    1. No it doesn't.

      The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States - Constitution Art4

      The problem is a POLICY issue - not a constitutional one. Bundy is merely a clown.

      While I agree that it is long overdue for Congress to 'dispose of' federal land, it is only Congress that can do so. And the problem in Congress is that neither party wants to do anything about it. And there is no public discussion of the actual issue anymore. And there is a huge conflict of interest as long as the size of congress is fixed at 435 (and additional pop in that region will eliminate incumbent critters). And any individual critter who does want to 'dispose of' federal territory is usually only interested in corrupt cronyist transfers (which is one reason that critters from the region are hesitant to push for land transfers - because they know they won't have the power to prevent a cronyist transfer that harms their own constituents).

  24. As well as a corruption issue of A US Senator this entire issue is going to be blown up as high as possible as a flase flag of the administration.

    This issue will push Lois Lerner + Cummings and the Holder + Fast and Furious off the front pages for a few days.

    1. Reids may wind up a sacrificial lamb for Holder.

      We'll get to see who the Prez cares to protect the most. Reid has been a major supporter of the Prez but we see it's only a quid pro quo for Reids self enrichment.

      Holder on the other hand is the Prezes shield.

      My guess is that Reid may be sacrificed to keep Holder out of the line of fire.

  25. Will Griggs at Lew Rockwell on what is going on with the ranch in Nevada:


    Nutpunch summary from article:

    "The BLM's revisions were imposed during the reign of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who in a letter two years earlier (written while he was head of the League of Conservation Voters) declared: "We must identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion."

    ... an Interior Department memo surfaced which revealed that Babbitt wanted "to use price increases as a straw man to draw attention from management issues." While ranchers fought the grazing fee increase, Babbitt and company created "Range Reform '94," a cluster of proposed federal land use and environmental regulations which Pendley describes as "A Thousand and One Ways to Get Ranchers off Federal Land."

    ... Of the 52 ranchers in his section of Nevada, Cliven Bundy is the only one who has refused to go back to the reservation. So the heirs to Sherman and Sheridan have mobilized an army to protect hired thieves who have come to steal the Bundy family's cattle with the ultimate purpose of driving him from the land."

  26. I think you need to take the actions of the BLM in other cases involving ranchers into account to understand what is going on at Bundy's. The Bundy's are ranchers, have been for generations, they may not articulate their position slickly and therefore are disregarded. It is SOP for the BLM to continue to fight the individual even after Federal Judges rule against them. There is always the appeals process which the Federal Government uses to force the individual into the bankruptcy. This is exactly what happened to the Hages in Washoe County another BLM case that has been ongoing for 20+ years.

  27. Surely I can't be the only small-l libertarian who thinks this Bundy guy and his fan club are a buncha grandstanding asses who only embarrass the rest of us by association. As long as there is a First Amendment and a court system, the right place to fight this battle is in the courts, the legislature and the marketplace of ideas - not on the streets, waving guns like an idiot.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.