The BLM also sought to seriously limit anyone and everyone’s access to the so-called public land, and persuaded the FAA to implement a No-fly Zone. The BLM also sought to seriously restrict anyone and everyone’s First Amendment Rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press.   

by Todd Macfarlane 

FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Iron County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar City, Utah. It was a grand event.  I couldn’t help but contrast the principled underpinnings of Iron County Republicans with my own county’s Republican Party. Just for starters, the Iron County Republicans brought in Ron Paul as the keynote speaker. 

They also asked newly liberated and fully acquitted Ryan Bundy to offer the invocation (opening prayer) on the whole event.  And the political candidates who spoke made multiple respectful references to the Bundys, their whole ordeal, and the recent outcome of their landmark cases. 

I couldn’t help but note the stark contrast between the sentiments expressed on that occasion, with the rhetoric of the past 2-4 years while the events were unfolding and the cases were pending, when many of the very same people – including the vast majority of politicians — considered the Bundys to be completely toxic, and were doing everything in their power to distance themselves, happy to use a whole plethora of derogatory labels, ranging from “rednecks” and “radicals” to “extremists” and “domestic terrorists” – even “The Virus.”   

But it was amazing to see how quickly some people are willing to about-face, when they are easily blown around by the wind, and it starts blowing from the other direction – and they become the epitome of fair weather friends.

Setting all the other Bundy-related issues aside – everything from public land jurisdiction, property rights, grazing fees, etc. — few have yet to acknowledge the invaluable contribution the Bundys, their supporters, and their cases have made at a very critical juncture to protection of the Second Amendment. 

For several years now, the Second Amendment has been under very serious attack, but seemingly never more so than right now.  On the liberal agenda, nothing exceeds the priority of overturning District of Columbia v. Heller, and/or completely repealing the Second Amendment.  When we now have retired U.S. Supreme Court Justices proposing repeal of the Second Amendment, we know that the pressure is seriously mounting. 

But the cases against the Bundys and their supporters in Nevada and Oregon have done more to protect the Second Amendment than anything since the Heller case was decided in 2008, now 10 years ago.

How, and, perhaps more importantly, why are the Bundy cases so important?

Although the Bundy issue(s) had been brewing for years, ultimately, the BLM and the FBI sought not only to remove and impound Bundy’s cattle, they sought to completely militarize the impoundment operation.  To that end, the BLM engaged in a number of very heavy-handed and intimidating tactics, including the deployment of a large armed security force, which included both BLM “rangers” and private security contractors (mercenaries), including snipers, SWAT teams and riot police.  The BLM also sought to seriously limit anyone and everyone’s access to the so-called public land, and persuaded the FAA to implement a No-fly Zone. The BLM also sought to seriously restrict anyone and everyone’s First Amendment Rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press.  

In response to these developments, a number of average Americans became very concerned about the BLM’s tactics, which not only resulted in a significant number of “normal” people mobilizing to the scene to protest the BLM’s actions, but also in the active exercise of the Second Amendment.  This resulted in a large protest, including full exercise of both First Amendment rights and Second Amendment rights.  Along with other factors, this armed protest persuaded the BLM to temporarily discontinue its cattle impoundment efforts, after which the protesters confronted BLM forces and demanded return of the already impounded cattle.

Something very similar subsequently happened in Harney County, Oregon less than two years later, average Americans once again rallied in support of embattled ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, which ultimately resulted in an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

In both those situations, many, including essentially everyone in the mainstream media raged about the very thought of citizens in cowboy hats and camouflage protesting while bearing arms, and actively exercising their Second Amendment rights, including visible presence of members of private militias – who are often perceived as dangerous radical extremists just looking for an excuse to engage in violent conflict. 

Ironically, however, in the end, all the so-called radical, extremist gun-nuts, exercised complete restraint, and it was only the government actors who engaged in violence, resulting in the needless bloodshed of LaVoy Finicum, and then to add insult to injury they lied about it in an attempt to cover-up what really happened. But despite situations involving major physical confrontations, they each ended up demonstrating the need for the Second Amendment, and how it can work exactly how it was intended.

Because so few people actually understand the Second Amendment, and it is continually being brought under attack, it is worth considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s discussion of Second Amendment rights in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 128 S.Ct. 2783, 171 L.Ed.2d 637, 76 USLW 4631 (2008).

In the Heller case, the High Court made the following observations:

“One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms.”  Consequently, one of the purposes of the Second Amendment “is to secure a well-armed militia. . . . But a militia would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons. To preserve this privilege, and to secure to the people the ability to oppose themselves in military force against the usurpations of government, as well as against enemies from without, government is forbidden by any law or proceeding to invade or destroy the right to keep and bear arms.  

The Heller Court went on to say:

The first salient feature of the operative clause is that it codifies a “right of the people . . . [which] unambiguously refer[s] to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body. . . .We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans. . . . The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed. . . . This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second Amendment declares that it [is a pre-existing right that] shall not be infringed . . . .”

According to the Heller Court:

During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive in [the Federalist/Anti-Federalist Debate].  The Federalists contended that because Congress was given no power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, such a force could never oppress the people. [Consequently], it was understood across the political spectrum that the right helped to secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary to oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down.

Quoting St. George Tucker’s version of the Blackstone Commentaries, the Court also noted:

“This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty . . . . The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

Six years later, both in Bunkerville, and again in Harney County Oregon, the Federal Government demonstrated exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court had been talking about in Heller – because regardless of who you may think was right or wrong  – the BLM for seeking to remove Bundy’s purportedly “trespassing” cattle based on alleged failure to pay grazing fees — or Cliven Bundy for stubbornly resisting — if there is one word that best describes the BLM’s decisions and heavy-handed actions to militarize the operation, that word is “Tyranny.”  The BLM’s actions in that context were the epitome of heavy-handed federal tyranny.  And Bundys and their supporters tested the very core philosophical underpinnings of Second Amendment doctrine in resistance. 

On that score, it is often said (and even more often thought), that civilians who wear camouflage and pack guns, including semi-automatic assault rifles, are nothing short of radical extremists just itching for a fight, and will use any excuse or provocation to engage in violent conflict. 

If ever there was a perfect opportunity to prove this theory correct, it was the armed confrontation that resulted in the return of the Bundy cattle, in which both armed and unarmed citizens confronted and faced off with an army of BLM rangers and contracted security forces (mercenaries). 

But, to many peoples’ amazement, no shots were fired in Bunkerville.  No blood was shed.  And in terms of actual checks and balances, the presence of weapons on both sides ultimately served very well as a mutual deterrent.  

Regarding the Nevada case against the Bundys based on the Bunkerville Standoff, in her ruling dismissing the case with prejudice, Judge Navarro expressly found that the federal government and the prosecution had repeatedly lied about what happened, and engaged in “reckless, outrageous, flagrant misconduct in violating the due process and constitutional rights of the defendants . . . that was so outrageous that no lesser remedy than dismissal with prejudice would be sufficient.”

In the end, with fundamental rights and principles on trial in both Nevada and Oregon, the outcomes of those trials has only served to strengthen the foundational basis of the Second Amendment – the inherent, inalienable, God-given right to defend oneself, property, and/or others who are under attack.  

And even fair weather friends have Bundys and their supporters to thank for that.

Todd Macfarlane is a rancher in western Utah, attorney, author, owner and editor of Rangefire.us, and a candidate for Millard County Commissioner. Find out more about him, his work and campaign HERE.


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Comments

  1. Rod Class vs UNITED STATES won at supreme Court level on February 21, 2018. One cannot be held to a plea deal when 2nd amendment clearly proves a right to bear arms..read it and all of these facts prove usurpation of our un-a-lien-able rights cannot be tolerated.

  2. As an old retired analyst, a note: The Western States have been treated as prisoners to the Federal Government. This began in 1858 or so + -. Since history is not an obligorty
    educational piece, lets jump to 1980’s and the” Brundtland Report”. Created at the request of the United Nations Director, and created by Geo Harlem Brundtland, vice President of the “World Socialist Party”. The report was presented to the world as the “Rio Accord”, signed by President Bush. “First shell of the Walnut shell game”.
    The Senate, seeing the report & devistating subsequent demands, would not obligate the United Sttates. So, in 1993, Clinton created the “Presidents Commission on Sustainability”. ” This is the “second Walnut Shell” . The “Third Walnut shell”, was placed on the table with the signing of Ex Order# 12858, requiring alignment by Federal Agencies with the demands of the United Nations. So, the games began: “Wildlands Project”, fee ratcheting, water rights disruption etc. All in the guise of saving the world.
    Then came “United NAtions Environmental Report”, 1100 pages of demands. The included powerpoint I built, from historical vetted material, and the UNEP report, is below. Avail yourself, while if frustrated by the material not aligning with what you have been taught, simply go to slides #’s 8 & 13.
    http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/28345505
    A quote for you, from me, a Grandfather with 9 Grandchildren: Political concepts are not Humanistic in nature, while humanistic concepts are not political in nature.

  3. Several points to add, hopefully not just at the choir, but to those who truly seek to understand. First, the Truth is very simple and very black and white – any grey between black and white of Truth is the human mind trying to rationalize the Truth to justify its own selfish desires! No man likes to be told he is WRONG and all men know right from wrong (the inherent “knowledge of Good and Evil”).

    The original intent of government was to create the Force of Law to citizens the Natural Right to protect their lives and their property. This was because (and is still true today) all men – humans – were created equal. That is; we are all equally human – no more, no less – with an equal share in JUSTICE. Governments were indeed instituted among men many millennial ago by the very CONSENT of those who were to be governed! No man was born a king and no man born a slave. Human Nature HAS NOT changed one bit since that time.

    The Federal government does NOT have the constitutional authority to have a BLM or an FBI or DHS, ATF, IRS – or any other National Police Force! In Fact, it does NOT have the authority for a Standing (perpetual) Army (as it DOES have for a Perpetual Navy!). In Fact, except for military concerns, the Federal Government does NOT have the authority of the Constitution to BEAR ARMS AT ALL!!

    The fact that I cannot buy a Thompson Submachine Gun (since 1934) without the government’s permissions is an abomination to my RIGHT to keep and bear arms. IF I so desire, and can afford it, I have the right, as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, to buy a Nimitz Class Carrier!! That demonstrates to the extent the 2nd Amendment was intended to its purpose to preserve the FREE STATE !

    There is NO radical RIGHT! The twist and manipulation of words is the twist and manipulation of the uninitiated human mind. ALL of the Radicals are on the so called left – from skin-head Neo Nazis and Alt-Right to the blatant militant communist Black Panther Black Lives Matter!! We who stand for liberty – of all human beings – are the Right that opposes the WRONG! … and I see no good reason to “exist” in the post modern “feudal estate” that is Socialism. Give me liberty or the death of struggle against Tyranny!

    I am deeply grateful to the Bundys and all of the freedom fights from 1775 to this very day!

  4. The writer, and the commenter’s, could do a better job running the country than ALL the politicians in Washington. Really.

  5. While I will be forever grateful to the Bundy’s and the militants who sought their freedom from a tyrannical government, the fight will never be over until either the NWO/OWO globalists and elitists have been brought to their knees or every Patriot have vanished.

  6. “…the federal government and the prosecution had repeatedly lied about what happened, and engaged in “reckless, outrageous, flagrant misconduct in violating the due process and constitutional rights of the defendants . . . that was so outrageous that no lesser remedy than dismissal with prejudice would be sufficient.”

    No. Dismissal is NOT sufficient. If a citizen had done in court what the prosecution did, he/she would be charged and convicted of perjury, and be doing prison time. The prosecution in the Bundy case needs to be prosecuted, convicted, disbarred, and sent to prison. THAT would be sufficient.

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