Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

April 28, 2014

STUMPTALK: Right to bear arms central to liberty

CROSSVILLE — There are two popular quotations from the writings of Thomas Jefferson that have been shown to be still relevant to our culture. “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty” and “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Taken together they demonstrate why the right to bear arms is central to keeping our individual liberty.

By now everyone must be familiar with the citizen standoff of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) paramilitary in Nevada by rancher Cliven Bundy and hundreds of his supporters. It is not my purpose to discuss the legal issues involved in the ranchers’ access to use public land (the federal government owns well over 80% of the land in Nevada) for grazing … that has been going on since the late 1800s. It is my purpose to examine what that incident may tell us, although it is not yet resolved.

Had the BLM paramilitary not been confronted by hundreds of armed citizens, Cliven Bundy would have lost his herd and the federal government would never be called to account for extreme over-reach and destruction of property. As it stands, the BLM killed and buried several of the herd and broke down some of Bundy’s water troughs. They came in with snipers with assault rifles, SUVs, helicopters, airplanes and 200 troops pointing military weapons at the people supporting Bundy. They tried to restrict the demonstrators to a “first amendment zone” some three miles away. When the show of force did not work, the BLM finally had to stand down or become more aggressive.

Fortunately, the federal BLM stood down and left. There was, of course, some celebration on the part of the Bundy supporters, but everyone knows there is another chapter coming. Even Harry Reid has threatened that “this is not over. We can’t have an American people violate the law and just walk away from it, so it’s not over.”

According to Harry, those citizens are “domestic terrorists.” What people are beginning to ask is why Harry is so involved with this episode? Someone likened it to Chuck Schumer becoming involved in a rent case in New York. What is the significance of Reid’s land deals in Clark County? What is it Reid is trying to walk away from? What is the significance of the fact that this BLM assault on Bundy came just after Reid’s former senior policy advisor on land use issues, Neil Kornze, became the director of BLM? Harry Reid and his son, Rory, (who once was chairman of the Clark County, NV county commission) had been deeply involved in a $5 billion land negotiation with ENN (a Chinese energy company) for the development of a solar energy farm before the Chinese backed out. The Bundy ranch was in the way.

Oh, yes, back to the Thomas Jefferson quotes. What would have happened had the citizens not been armed? Would the government have feared them? Why should we worry about being armed? Why do “dozens" of federal agencies have their own SWAT teams? As reported in the National Review Online that includes the Department of Agriculture, The Railroad Retirement Board, The Tennessee Valley Authority, The Office of Personnel Management and The Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Thanks Harry. Had it not been for your stupid, arrogant actions in Nevada this whole subject would have remained buried. Jefferson lived with tyranny and understood the meaning of liberty. Having to learn that lesson again will be terrible.

 

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