Like an old western, a Las Vegas cattle rancher defies the government’s laws in favor of his own, but angers African-Americans by allegedly stating that they are better off picking cotton.
In order to understand this story about how guns, cattle, the federal government, and issues about race, circling this story like a wagon train, one needs to explore the relationship between Cliven Bundy, and the government Bundy now perhaps hates.
Bundy, a Mormon cattle rancher, made headlines in mid-April, when he infuriated the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), by refusing to cease grazing on federally owned land. The BLM claims that Bundy owes them back taxes, and that they would confiscate the cattle as money owed. Bundy said no. Within a few days, citizens in the area and from surrounding areas, some armed, came to protect Bundy’s rights.
The BLM stated that Bundy owes $1 million in back fees because his cattle has been grazing on federal land, FOX 31 Denver reported. Each cattle is worth $1000.00
The BLM gathered 400 cows, but they were short of their goal of 900. Bundy’s cattle has been trespassing without grazing permits for over 20 years, CBS News reported. Since the protests and alleged physical altercations between protesters and the BLM task force, the BLM had to stop gathering the cattle and release them.
The armed coalition that supported Bundy caused highways to be blocked in both directions for three days. Bundy later went on to say that the citizens of America came to help him.
The conflict between the government and Bundy’s family has stemmed from as far back as the 1800s. Bundy, 67, stated that he does not recognize federal authority on the land; he insisted that the land belongs to Nevada. Bundy’s family has operated a ranch since the 1870s, near the small town of Bunkerville, and the Utah and Arizona lines.
Back in 1998, a federal judge in Las Vegas, first ordered Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle; the BLM was implementing two federal court orders last year to remove his cattle after making repeated efforts to resolve the matter outside court, CBS News reported.
Since the end of the standoff, with Bundy getting his cattle back, he allegedly spoke out against African-Americans. Speaking at a daily news conference on the weekend, and to 50 supporters, Bundy described the housing project that he had seen in North Las Vegas, which he claimed was occupied entirely by African-Americans.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” Bundy said, “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom,” The New York Times reported.
Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe stated that conservatives should feel exposed by Bundy’s racist comments. And, that Bundy’s comments makes him the sort of character conservatives do not want to embrace, The Washington Times reported.