A Nevada rancher warned local law enforcement officials on Wednesday to uphold their oaths of office or face the consequences of a people forced to “defend [their] God-given rights," an ominous message that comes just months after the same rancher led an armed protest against federal agents.
“While the [Bureau of Land Management] was willing to shoot my family over land and power, we were willing to die for our families, our livelihoods and our constitutional rights. You should have been defending these rights for us,” rancher Cliven Bundy's son, Ammon, said in a statement addressed to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie. “That’s what we elected you to do. Thankfully, the American people came to our defense. They came to our defense because you failed to do your duty. For that you should be grieved and held accountable for.”
Armed federal agents were dispatched earlier this year to remove Bundy's cattle from federal property in Gold Butte, Nev., an area adjacent to the rancher's property in Bunkerville. The decision to remove the cattle by force, and under the supervision of armed agents, came after nearly 21 years of failed negotiations between Bundy and federal authorities.
The land in question belongs to the federal government, according to the state of Nevada and at least two court rulings, and the area is closed to grazing. But Bundy, who now owes millions in grazing fees, says he does not recognize the federal government’s authority in the area, claiming repeatedly that the property belongs to Nevada. And as a Nevada citizen, Bundy said in various interviews, he is therefore entitled to use of the property, a claim that lawmakers in his state have been quick to dismiss as untrue. Nevada lawmakers maintain that the land has always belonged to the federal government.
Federal agents eventually retreated from the area, releasing Bundy's impounded cattle, after armed militia arrived on the scene to protect the rancher's right to graze for free on property that does not belong to him.
However, the case is far from resolved, as federal officials vow that they'll sort out the issues in the courts. Meanwhile, the Bundys have apparently taken it upon themselves to blame local law enforcement for the entire ordeal.
“I offer warning to you and other government personnel that lead or follow your example. The people are in unrest because of these types of egregious actions. The purpose of government is to protect and uphold the unalienable rights of the people, not to infringe upon them. It is our duty and obligation to defend our God-given rights if our government representatives fail to do so, or tries to discard them,” Wednesday's Bundy statement reads.
“We as citizens desire to live in peace and tranquility, but will defend our freedoms if necessary, in order to do so. I call upon you Sheriff Gillespie, and all civil servants, to honorably effectuate the true purpose of government, to uphold the oaths and duties of your sworn offices—to truly be representative of the people, by the people and for the people."
Strangely enough, the statement also claims that the Bundy family “never asked for armed men to come to its aid.”
“In fact, everyone who arrived at the Bundy ranch (men, women, armed & unarmed) voluntarily came to support the constitutional rights that you failed to defend,” the statement reads.
“Had you not neglected your duty to defend our rights, the rights of the very people for whom you swore a solemn oath to defend, there never would have been a standoff in the first place,” it added.
However, according to one militia member who drove all the way from New Hampshire, Bundy explicitly requested assistance in his standoff against the federal government.
From Business Insider:
They spent more than an hour on the phone. "What do you need?" said DeLemus, who was calling from some 2,700 miles away in Dover, N.H.
"I need help," Bundy told him. "I need bodies."
"I'm coming," DeLemus said.
Someone is lying. Did Bundy request “bodies,” as DeLemus claims, or is the Bundy family telling the truth when it states “unequivocally” that it never requested assistance?
Time will tell.
Oh, also, the timing of Wednesday’s “warning” to local law enforcement officials is also curious: It comes one day after Cliven Lance Bundy, the 34-year-old son of rancher Cliven Bundy, was arrested on charges of criminal contempt and parole violation, according to the Associated Press.