Owning the Violence, Mister Bundy

Howdy, Pardners…

Cliven Bundy can say anything he wants to about race and slavery. He’s an American, and he has every right to speak his mind on any subject. I don’t agree with him, but that’s my right. Am I gonna jump in with the bullies of the Politically Correct Shaming Squad? Nah. All of my people were from the South, so I’ve heard this kind of language since I was born. For me, this is just another thing that gets thrown into the mix that we so lovingly call “America”.

That said, I can get pretty hostile about his war against the Federal Government. It is the nature of grazing cattle that the owner of the cattle must pay a fee for grazing his cattle on someone else’s land. It is the way that grazing rights work. Mister Bundy, through some magical thinking that I genuinely don’t understand, decided a number of years ago that he shouldn’t have to pay to graze his cattle on public lands (my land – your land – our land). So… he stopped paying… in 1993. The government took him to court, beat him, and demanded that he remove his cattle from public lands and pay back the legally required fees that he hadn’t paid in over a decade. He told them to shove it.

Then came the party….

The government finally decided to forcibly remove Mister Bundy’s cattle from the public land. All hell broke loose. Heavily armed federal officers showed up. Heavily armed “patriots” showed up to protect Mister Bundy’s “rights”.  A standoff ensued, and the federal officers decided to back off. They didn’t do so because they were intimidated by the armed patriots. They didn’t do so because they felt that Mister Bundy might have a valid point. They backed off because they didn’t want things to get out of control. They didn’t want another Ruby Ridge or Waco on their hands. It was a good decision.

But it ain’t over.

And here’s a very real message to all of the armed patriots who think that they can control this situation… The state owns the violence. Owning the violence is what makes a state a state. If you look at any failed state, you will quickly see that the state failed because it no longer owned the violence. Once you openly engage and begin shooting, the state will beat you. It will only take a couple of Apache helicopters to turn you into grease spots in the desert. Of course, you know this. You know that you can’t possibly win or even draw. All you can do is get killed. Checkmate.

So I must suspect that your plan is to knowingly get killed and become martyrs for the cause.

Good luck with that. Personally, I’d like my life to mean a little more than that, but I’m an odd sort of duck. Damned right cowardly when it comes to taking a rubber knife to a machine-gun fight.

And Mister Bundy… the blood will be on your hands.

Have a day.


primum vivere, deinde philosophari.


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