Like most here I’ve been watching the standoff at the Bundy ranch. I’ve had nothing new to add to the discussion, so I haven’t blogged about it. Like others, I was just trying to figure what to make of it. I only hoped it wouldn’t end up being another Weaver/Waco massacre.
Not this time:
(Image via Sipsey Street, where Mike Vanderboegh has some spirited things to say about it.)
This time it appears that armed (with both guts and guns) Americans actually surrounded the feds and forced them to retreat.
Of course, as Joel writes in his excellent overview, this isn’t finished. The federales don’t like to be defeated and they’ll do everything they can to “get” Cliven Bundy when nobody’s pointing guns at them.
Still. Free Americans pointed guns at feds. Stopped them. And lived to tell the tale.
I’m an agnostic on the rights and wrongs of the underlying case. It’s complicated and I’m not so sure that Cliven Bundy is a heroic good guy. But then, neither were Randy and Vicki Weaver. Neither was David Koresh. All that’s clear is that the fedgov is — once again — clearly the baddest of bad guys, using an overwhelming threat of force to deal with an administrative problem — involving (of all things) critters that probably aren’t endangered by anything but the federal government.
And of course, no matter the complexities, the fedgov is still busily grabbing land.
And oh lordy, that outrageous, idiotic “First Amendment Area” they attempted to perpetrate!
But what happened in the end was remarkable, no matter how you say it. Armed Americans surrounded federal agents, even held them at gunpoint and forced the feds to stand down.
I believe people would have done this during the Weaver standoff had geography not made it impossible. (I was up there on that mountain a few months later; it was an easy place for the feds to isolate both themselves and their victims.)
Clearly the Davidians didn’t get armed protection.
However, I also believe, back then, that the feds — not having learned their lessons yet — would simply have killed anybody who tried to interfere with their murderous doings. And all but a few members of the public, ca. 1992 or 1993 would have shrugged. Or applauded.
I don’t really believe that (as the image says) a second American Revolution was almost triggered in Nevada this week. But … this was still huge. A sea change.
Twenty-some years ago when the ATF, FBI and their cronies decided they could murder men, women, and children for the publicity value, plenty of watchful people were enraged. Plenty of the less watchful believed the propaganda and blamed the victims.
Some still believe the government can do no wrong. Or that it deserves “respect” no matter how horrible its behavior. Then so did a lot of colonists in 1776.
A tide is rising.
In the darkest blue states, respectable people are resisting punitive firearms laws. In the red west, they’re showing why we must.
What happened was pretty damned remarkable. What lies beneath the change is more remarkable yet. Maybe a second American Revolution has already happened and we just don’t realize it yet.
Kudos to you who had the will and the guts to go out to Nevada and face down tyrants this week. We all owe you for that.