By Jeremy Bloom
It took more than a year, but Cliven Bundy is finally facing charges for the armed standoff he initiated against Federal officials at his Nevada ranch in 2014. At his bail hearing Tuesday, we learned quite a few things – from the reason it’s taken the Feds this long to act, to the fact that when it comes to ranching, Bundy is more of a crazy cat lady than a cowboy.
First, as to bail… the Feds found the idea of letting this guy out on bail to be pretty much laughable.
- Bundy is lawless and violent.
- He does not recognize federal courts – claiming they are illegitimate – does not recognize federal law, refuses to obey federal court orders, has already used force and violence against federal law enforcement officers while they were enforcing federal court orders, nearly causing catastrophic loss of life or injury to others.
- He has pledged to do so again in the future to keep federal law enforcement officers from enforcing the law against him.
- As of the date of this hearing, he continues to violate federal court orders and continues to possess the proceeds of his illegal activities.
Bundy is currently charged with crimes of violence including using and brandishing firearms in connection with crimes of violence under Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c). As such, the Bail Reform Act presumes that there are no conditions or combination of conditions that will ensure the safety of the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3)(B). Here, no evidence has been adduced during the investigation of the instant charges that even remotely hints at a rebuttal to that presumption. In fact, all the evidence suggests that Bundy will continue to act lawlessly, will not abide by court orders, and will use violence to ensure that federal laws are not enforced as to him.
Bail denied. “I agree with the government,” said Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart. “If he’s released and goes back to his ranch that will be the last the court will see of him.”
That’s in large part because he has turned that ranch into an armed camp. The feds explained it had taken them this long to arrest Bundy because they wanted to avoid a confrontation with the highly-armed gang of crazies currently stomping around down there in Nevada.
“The presence of many gunmen in and near the area of the Bundy Ranch, the armed checkpoints and patrols, the presence of assault weapons in the militia camps, including (by some accounts) a .50-caliber machine gun, further increased the difficulty of conduct a physical investigation of Bundy Ranch or the impoundment site,” the detention memo said.
But when Bundy flew up to Oregon to visit his boys at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation, he flew alone and, thanks to the Patriot Act, unarmed. So the Feds simply picked him up at the Portland Airport.
And… what was that about being the Crazy Cat Lady of ranchers?
While Bundy claims he is a cattle rancher, his ranching operation – to the extent it can be called that – is unconventional if not bizarre. Rather than manage and control his cattle, he lets them run wild on the public lands with little, if any, human interaction until such time when he traps them and hauls them off to be sold or slaughtered for his own consumption. He does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease; does not employ cowboys to control and herd them; does not manage or control breeding; has no knowledge of where all the cattle are located at any given time; rarely brands them before he captures them; and has to bait the minto traps in order to gather them.
…At the time of the events giving rise to the charges, Bundy’s cattle numbered over 1,000 head, straying as far as 50 miles from his ranch and into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (“LMNRA”), getting stuck in mud, wandering onto golf courses, straying onto the freeway (causing accidents on occasion) – foraging aimlessly and wildly, roaming in small groups over hundreds of thousands of acres of federal lands that exist for the use of the general public for many other types of commercial and recreational uses such as camping, hunting, and hiking.
So yeah. The only difference between Cliven Bundy and a crazy cat lady is the firepower.
And that’s not really all that comforting.