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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Claire Wolfe

Victory at the Bundy ranch

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

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.

29 Responses to “Victory at the Bundy ranch”

  1. Joel Says:

    Amen and hallelujah. I, for one, am suddenly watching with great interest.

  2. Claire Says:

    Thank you, Joel. Really just following your lead on this one.

    BTW, Michael Bane has a pretty good (and blackly amusing) take on what just happened at the Bundy ranch:

  3. Terry Says:

    Unfortunately, my take is that the feds will retreat until everyone goes home, then Bundy will end up with a heart attack or some such, and the feds will get the property rights the want.

    Just sayin’.

  4. Pat Says:

    Maybe not.

    This could go either way in the future, of course; only time will tell. But now that Reid’s politico-corporate whoring has been outed, it’s possible this may die a natural death.

    I also think that comparing this standoff with Waco/Ruby Ridge in the news did a lot to scare the feds away – they couldn’t take the chance of adding another conflagration (literally or figuratively) to their reputation. They are desperate to stay clean at a time when everything they do comes up dirty.

  5. naturegirl Says:

    People who live in NV have been hearing about this for years, as one by one over 50 fellow ranchers gave up the fight until it came down to just one. It’s not over, the feds are only replanning the next move; Reid’s continued stupidity isn’t over either.

    What was amazing about this was when people finally woke up and stood up. The amount of people who said oh hell no. And showed up. I don’t think this was as much support for Bundy Ranch as it was a loud yell about how people aren’t going to let gov shove them around any more. And it’s about time. And it’s only the beginning. This was a practice run, a successful practice run – and the hesitaters and doubters may just not do those things any more the next time something like this happens. The revolution may not have started but the Awakening is loud and energetic.

  6. Paul Bonneau Says:

    The next such event will bring even more regular (armed) folks, and the following even more. At some point the feds will decide this is not working very well. I think they have a lot more luck just beating up people and stealing their stuff through RICO laws, done before any alarm can be called. Unfortunately, their legitimacy – what’s left of it – tends to suffer from such conduct.

    Boy is this getting interesting. The Revolution is proceeding nicely.

  7. UnReconstructed Says:

    Although I applaud the efforts, and love the fact that the feddies apparently backed down, I need to point out that the feds CANNOT let we the people think that we can do such a thing.

    They will perform a quick and brutal smackdown. They have to. Its what bullies do.

    The backlash from *that* will be a further ratcheting up a notch.

    I agree with Paul Bonneau…this is getting interesting.

  8. ENthePeasant Says:

    Stunning video. They tried to get one of the apparent leaders to come to thug side of the barriers as some kind of hostage by any other name and he wisely refused. Then the SWAT minion promised he wouldn’t be arrested. Maybe, but it’s not like you could trust them. I’m also told by a woman on the scene that they had people on horseback starting to surround the BLM positions. Everyone seemed to be armed, although looking at the videos I can only see a couple of people who’s weapons were “printing” on their clothes. But apparently there were guns in all the vehicles, and according to her their were counter sniper teams monitoring the government positions. If half of that’s true then the tactical position of the BLM was compromised or becoming compromised. Listen very carefully to this conversation. The supposed leader wisely doesn’t back down one bit.

  9. ENthePeasant Says:

    BTW, am I the only one who wonders what would have happened if Obama had successfully disarmed us last year? I’m pretty sure this would have ended differently. Guns prevent bloodshed, mostly our own. Law enforcement loves to run their mouths about how, “I’m going home at the end of the day.” This is a clear example as to exactly what that means. They love to present themselves as the equal of soldiers but their entire game is based on overmatch… unlike true soldiers who frequently find themselves overmatched and fight on. In the video I posted above you hear the SWAT commander talking about “deescalation”. They’re not soldiers.

  10. zelda Says:

    Add my thanks to everyone who as Claire said had the will and the guts to go out there. Like others, I don’t believe that this is over. And I hope Mr. Bundy will be very, very watchful. We have the best government money can buy.

  11. Claire Says:

    A report from somebody on the scene:

  12. Paul Bonneau Says:

    “the feds CANNOT let we the people think that we can do such a thing.”

    I agree they are in a bind, but they clearly don’t want war either. Just think of what would happen with a crackdown: fed agents would start dropping like flies. The feds cannot let people think they can kill fed agents with impunity, either. Keep in mind that almost all murders are solved by looking at the people the victim knew.

  13. Laird Says:

    This just might turn out to be the 21st century equivalent of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The rabble took on the most powerful government in the world and forced it into ignominious retreat. Fortunately no one (on either side) was killed this time. What happens next is up to the government, but I think Paul Bonneau is correct.

    Someone needs to buy Obama a codpiece. It would save us all a lot of grief.

  14. jc2k Says:

    And then there’s this insanity:

  15. UnReconstructed Says:

    I think that somebody in the administration of the Big O realized what a PR catastrophe it would be to have provoked a shooting spree. AND they realized that they can win this time by simply using the courts and quietly grind Mr Bundy down.

    Tactically it was a nightmare for the feddies as long as they didn’t bring in airpower. Open ground, little cover. Outnumbered by what 10 to 1?

    A single huey, or A-10, or Bradley would have made short work of the standoff. And the feds have LOTS of those.

    But its an election year. Its already looking bad enough for the Dems without another Waco hanging around their necks. The NV Governor wasn’t 100% behind the feds either, and even now that does count for something.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I flippin love that the feddies backed down and gave Mr Bundy back his cattle. And I’m very grateful that so many people responded to this and surrounded the feds. That took guts, ‘specially given the history of armed confrontations with the fedgov.

    I’m just pointing out that stand up fights with the fedgov rarely turn out well. They are bullies behind their mirrored shades and taxpayer bought equipment. And that had this not been an election year, it might well have been handled differently.

    Truly, truly, these are interesting times.

  16. Roger Says:

    I think, among other considerations, the Feds are quite aware that there are fair few large calibre rifles out there including .50 cal. Counter snipers equipped with those are very formidable opponents. Most standard light armoured body vehicles and helicopters are vunerable and body armour useless against them. Not to mention someone having some AP or incidary rounds.
    The Feds were in no good position for a firefight and getting killed or roasted by the press for killing is not in their idea of their job description.
    Coupled with the fact that unlike Waco, Ruby Ridge and others, modern media allows wide dissemination of film and audio without involving the ‘free’ press. As someone once said, you can’t stop the signal!

  17. MamaLiberty Says:

    What would make Bundy a “bad guy?” He’s a human, and I’m sure he’s made plenty of mistakes. He’s coped the best he could with the impossible and destructive government all his life, and I’m sure he is a “bad guy” mostly to those who think any government has a legitimate claim on him. But I’ve not heard or read anyone claiming he’s an aggressor…

    Some folks have said they can’t support a “rich rancher.” I suspect that
    Bundy’s bottom line is very complicated with taxes, regulations and
    probably a shit load of debt as well. I suspect he’s more “land poor”
    than rich – and I’m also sure that the governments, both fed and state,
    will leave no stone unturned to strip him of both money and land – even
    if they don’t arrange for his death before doing so. All of the other
    “rich” ranchers had already been driven out, one way or another.

    What is far more important to me… I’m really encouraged that at least this phase of the “war” turned out well. It could so easily have turned into a holocaust… one
    momentary slip of trigger discipline, one overeager drone operator
    seeing the rifles on the bridge as an attack on the feds… a hundred
    other things that MIGHT have happened – didn’t. The rag tag, leaderless
    and completely self governing people who gathered there managed to
    maintain non-aggression, regardless of their personal background,
    opinions, attitudes and so forth.

    Even the “jack booted thugs” managed to mostly behave themselves and not
    start shooting at people… they had the brains to understand that it
    could not end well for them. They knew right away they didn’t have the
    overwhelming advantage they always need and try to create. What “works”
    in Boston, doesn’t accomplish much in Nevada… hope some of them
    learned that lesson.

    THAT is the victory here, and I hope it continues.

  18. jed Says:

    Senate majority leader Harry Reid hasn’t been very vocal about the cattle battle showdown in recent days, but says “it’s not over.”

  19. Toni Says:

    What does the Revolutionary war, Warsaw Ghetto, Ruby Ridge, Waco and OKC have in common? They all happened on 4/19. Lacking sufficient info to have intelligent conversation of why this particular date is important to those who pull the triggers, it is.

    I’d be paying very special attention as this date nears.

  20. Ellendra Says:

    The most unexpected comment I’ve seen on this came from a Brit: “Now I think I understand what that first ammendment thing is all about.”

    (Anyone who has ever gotten into a gun debate with someone who drank the British koolaid can understand why that comment is so amazing.)

  21. Ellendra Says:

    I should learn not to type whem I’m loaded up on cold medicine. What they said was “Now I think I understand what that 2nd ammendment thing is all about.”

  22. KenK Says:

    Not a victory. The USG stood down the way cops will sometimes call off a car chase sometimes. But this aint over.

  23. Roger Says:

    Ellendra, some of us British have always supported the 1st and 2nd ammendments as well the rest. Once your rights go they are gone for good, we know from bitter experience!

  24. MamaLiberty Says:

    Ken K… the victory was that nobody started shooting, that the “good guys” did not initiate force, even when provoked (the tasering, etc.) The good news is the demonstration that ordinary people, of all kinds and backgrounds, can assemble like this fully armed, and not become the BAD GUYS.

    I think this is the “victory” that should be talked about, and shouted to the rooftops.

  25. Shel Says:

    Yogi Berra might have some comment on this. Nobody ever said things would be easy.

  26. Ellendra Says:

    Roger: I know there are some British who support the right to bear arms, and that number seems to be growing. But I also know that, in any online debate I’ve ever seen involving gun rights, I could peg the British participants just by the argument they used. It was always as though the very idea of a person of defending themself was a mortal sin. The British anti-gunners I’ve encountered are far more extreme than the anti-gunners I’ve met from other countries, including the US.

    I do hope my words didn’t come off as a slur against all British. That was not my intention.

  27. TXCOMT Says:

    Mama’s right, ya’ll…the best gunfight is the one you never get into (or something like that); bottom line, nobody got shot at the Bundy Ranch. Now let’s hope and pray it stays that way!


  28. naturegirl Says:

    As all expected, it’s not over. Some rather disturbing video of the white bus and big command center truck rolling in near the Bundy Ranch. Can’t find the exact link to it, at the moment, but it was attributed to

    They’re asking for all who were out there to come back. And bring some more people along with them.

    Sorry for not having more specifics but I’m on a borrowed comp at the moment.

  29. Jim Klein Says:

    That was no car chase, Ken, and it was historic. Never happened before AFAIK, not since the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791.

    Claire, like it or not, the “2nd American Revolution” DID begin this weekend, and not “almost.” Philosophy moves the world, and hopefully it’ll stay just this bloodless.

    Great minds think alike, though; hahaha. My take throughout was similar to yours. The legal, and maybe even moral, issues were extraordinarily complex, and can make for some interesting discussion. For myself, I knew one thing and one thing only, and it hasn’t left me yet—“I’m not living through another Waco and doing nothing.” That’s me alone, of course, and I don’t mean to suggest any obligation for anyone else. But for me, at this stage of my life, I just won’t suffer it.

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