Cliven Bundy’s Secret World
The image portrayed of Cliven Bundy is that he's a lawbreaker surrounded by armed militia that are taking the law into their own hands. The critics include both the left and the right. The left is mad at Bundy because he stood up to the BLM. The right is mad at Bundy for his insensitive comments on race that drew national attention. The backlash his comments made have been so intense they threaten to derail his stand against the Feds.
The negative pressure has made its way to the Treasure Valley with the attempt by individuals and organizations to attack me for covering the Bundy/BLM standoff. A local Nevada congressman has called Bundy every name in the book and alleged that 'out of state militia' have taken over the Mesquite/Bunkerville area. According to the congressman, church goers and school children have been threatened by 'gun totting' individuals drawn to protect Bundy.
The congressman is urging the local sheriff to go in and expel law abiding Americans for exercising their God given constitutional right. Hopefully the sheriff will ignore the congressman's misinformed statements and stand down. I have talked to the militia and the Bundys and here's what's really happening.
The militia folks are well armed and participating in active patrols, guard posts, and live fire exercises. My first day in Bunkerville I heard more gunfire than in my two trips covering the Iraq War. I write this not to scare you, but to give you an accurate picture without media bias.
There are three camps in Bunkerville. The first one is made up of a few RVs and two big flag poles. There are a lot of homemade patriotic signs that encourage state's rights. The people are welcoming and friendly. If you travel down the paved hill you will see the bridge where the cowboys took back the cattle and Mr. Bundy holds his daily news conferences.
The second camp is across the bridge and features a collection of well armed individuals who are from all over the country. Some of them are former military, while others have been battling Mexican drug cartels in Arizona. There are several folks from Las Vegas who visit this camp to volunteer, camp, and donate items.
The third camp is disciplined with a sentry that must get radio clearance for you to proceed. The camp is made up of former military folks, oath keepers, nine twelvers, and tea party folks. There is a huge mess hall where food is provided by donations from across the country. The men and a female or two are very committed to making sure the Bundy's are safe.
The Bundy Ranch is a few miles down the road from both camps and is located on the right side of the road. You take a right hand turn and must get permission from an armed guard. So what's it like inside the Bundy Ranch? Based on media reports, one would expect armed guards and something out of the military channel. The Bundy Ranch is exactly that, a ranch, a family ranch.
The ranch is a small house filled with children, grandchildren, and lots of dogs. The atmosphere was akin to a family reunion. I was amazed at how relaxed the Bundys were considering the media spotlight. Children were chasing each other around the small fenced in yard while dogs slept on the grass.
I thought to myself how many reporters, if given access, would actually report the truth? I can imagine the false narrative being deflated if folks just told the truth. Then again, an image of a Western Man surrounded by family runs contrary to the lawbreaker narrative that the media continues to spin.