Two recent events produced the opposite reactions from industry, versus what ought to have occurred. From this perspective, it appears that people’s anger was directed at the wrong event.
Two recent developments made headlines last week, and the reaction to both was telling.
First, the drama.
According to multiple news sources, a Nevada cattle rancher got into an ugly confrontation with Bureau of Land Management agents who tried to conduct a controversial roundup of his cattle. The rancher, Cliven Bundy, along with family members and what eventually became as many as 100 protestors, clashed with BLM officials over the removal of hundreds of head of his cattle from federal rangeland, where they were grazing illegally, according to a statement from BLM.
Bundy claimed his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, Nev., about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since the 1870s. When federal officials attempted to remove the animals for non-payment of grazing fees, Bundy threatened “a range war” on his website after one of his sons was arrested.
“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy told news media members. “I was paying grazing fees for management, and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers, and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”
Government officials countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million” in unpaid grazing fees — actually, they’re fines, since BLM bought out the area permit holders, including Bundy, more than 20 years ago to protect the habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.
Following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, BLM obtained a court order to remove the cattle, but when officers tried to enforce the order, a clash between Bundy family members and some 100 supporters soon turned violent. Cell phone video showed people being tasered, including Bundy’s son, Ammon. Two of protesters were arrested but later released, according to BLM officials.
The agency then backed off and BLM Director Neil Kornze issued a statement that read, “Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gathering because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public.”
As tone-deaf as BLM’s statement might sound, the comments from Bundy’s family and supporters were even further afield.