by Ramona Morrison
The first sacrifice of rancher blood has been spilt.
For everyone who comes from ranches comprised of only private land, the western rancher has been at the tip of the spear in an effort by federal agencies to clear title to the so called public lands. As Angus teaches so well, we are not squatters or welfare ranchers who simply want to avoid paying grazing fees to the government. We have private vested rights, protected by the laws of Congress, dating back to the first settlers which the Feds are attempting to eradicate.
Private land ranchers better take note of how the BLM and USFS use their administrative powers to target and destroy ranchers by loading a grazing permit with impossible and arbitrary conditions not based in law. Or they take on the powers of a prosecutor by issuing administrative decisions based on mere unsubstantiated allegations which the rancher then has to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend and disprove in their kangaroo court of administrative appeals, or worse in federal district court. These are the tactics and weapons the EPA is preparing to employ on the rest of agriculture who have been missing out on our little war in the west. And when you all walk a 1,000 miles in our shoes and give up the bulk of your spare time sitting in bureaucrat meetings trying to talk bureaucrats into respecting your property rights, then come lecture us in the West how to handle these issues.
I for one disagreed with the armed refuge take over, although it turned out to be a peaceful act of civil disobedience. However, I totally empathize with the reason for it and admire their amazing courage and faith. When you see 200 BLM snipers who have no authority to be playing cops, no police powers, surround one family's ranch, as we did in NV, it changes things. Don't forget, EPA, which also has no police powers, is pretty good at running raids too. In the end, we better remember who was pointing the guns and doing the shooting. It wasn't the protestors. I have a friend in the white collar crimes unit in Nevada who said he saw pictures of the protestors at Bunkerville in 2014 with red laser dots on them. The BLM had orders to shoot to kill. Remember the protestors and militia showed up AFTER the BLM surrounded the Bundy's with 200 snipers!
I recommend the rest of agriculture pay very close attention to what is happening in the west because federal Administrative tyranny is coming your way. I have long advocated we do everything lawful thing in our power in the public arena to put these bureaucrats back into their proper role. So far, the courts, the castrated Congress, and certainly any president since Jimmy Carter has been unable or unwilling to do so. We don't need the laws such as ESA and CWA reformed as much as we need federal employees to actually follow the law! If the next president doesn't significantly reign in his army of lawless employees, I am very concerned about where all this will lead. The first sacrifice of rancher blood has been spilt.
Ramona Hage Morrison
Ramona Hage Morrison