The Bundy Affair - April 2014

Past Operations

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The Bundy Affair - April 2014

The Bundy family homesteaded the region around what is now Mesquite, Nevada in 1877 when a massive migration of Mormon families westward was taking place as they sought to escape religious persecution in the mid-west.  The family ran range cattle in an area about 90 miles by 90 miles undisputed until, over 100 years later, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began its first attempts to force the Bundys and their cattle off of the Public Land, claiming control of the land by the Federal Government.  Over the following 30 years, the efforts of the BLM increased in their forceful nature.

The BLM's efforts were pursued through a combination of shady judicial filings and rulings, backdoor manipulations of local government entities, targeted media demonization of the Bundy family, and culminated in a display of force designed to intimidate the Bundys into submission as government contracted cowboys rounded up their cattle with the intent of selling them at cattle auctions.  The BLM claimed that the revenue from selling off the stolen cattle would alleviate the debt that it said the Bundys owed to the Federal Government for grazing fees it had imposed upon ranchers grazing cattle on public lands; fees which the Bundys refused to pay to the Federal Government, refuting the government's claim to the land, asserting instead their own officially documented and never relinquished, sold, or ceded grazing and foraging rights.  Maintaining the legitimate argument that the Federal Government stood on no foundation of jurisdiction in the matter the Bundys opted instead to pay grazing fees to Clark County, Nevada, which entity has proper jurisdiction on the land.  Clark County refused the fees and the Bundys maintain those moneys in a trust account awaiting a day when the proper authority will accept them.

In late March of 2014 the BLM and its contract cowboys, using a Federal Court Order to justify their actions, began to rustle the Bundy's cattle, destroy watering and corralling infrastructure the family had maintained for over 130 years, kill expensive and difficult to replace breeding bulls, kill numerous cows and calves, along with stressing entire herds, in an effort to intimidate the Bundys into compliance and inaction.  The BLM was able to proceed on all avenues unabated except the last; the Bundys are a resilient and sturdy clan, morally grounded by their faith and physically strong through the rigors of the ranching lifestyle.  They began immediately to resist the BLM's efforts by defying closures of the public lands which they have grazing and water rights to, and exposing the Government's actions via social media.

Ryan Payne, now Response Coordinator for Operation Mutual Defense (OMD), was the Advisor/Coordinator for the foundational predecessor to OMD, Operation Mutual Aid (OMA), from 2012 to mid 2014.  Mr. Payne became aware of the situation in Nevada through social media after the Bundys posted a picture of the snipers positioned on hilltops overlooking their home with sights trained on the family, which included their children and grandchildren.  Contact was made between Mr. Payne and Cliven Bundy, the Patriarch of the family, to ascertain the situation and offer the services of defense that OMA was founded to provide.  Less refined than OMD, OMA was strictly a network of militia's and individuals from all over the union with administrative duties divided between its two founders, Ryan Payne and Jerry Bruckhart.  Mr. Payne informed Mr. Bundy that activating the OMA network with a legitimate alert would summon numerous armed and well-trained individuals and groups intent on defending the Bundy's lives, liberties, and property.  Mr. Bundy was acute in his assertion that he would not particularly request a specific form of response, but made clear that the family needed the assistance and support of anyone that would lend it.  The OMA network was alerted immediately and Mr. Payne was headed towards the Bundy Ranch from southwestern Montana within hours.

Upon the arrival and the presence of armed militia, the tone of the situation changed drastically.  After a couple of initial pushes to maintain the momentum of their operation through force and intimidation, the BLM and contract cowboys hired to rustle the Bundy's cattle halted their efforts completely and retreated to an operations base they had established on the Bundy's range, 5 miles from the Bundy Ranch.  As more and more citizens responded to numerous call-outs and alerts, or having witnessed the atrocities being committed through social and main-stream media, the Ranch became more armed with the many arriving to perform the specific function of the militia in defense of The People, their lives’, and their property.  This resulted in the abandonment of the BLM operation, as BLM stated, for the safety of the base and people.

The only threat of force rendered by The People-gathered against the government agents was in the form of public objectives developed by OMA which were completely defensive in nature (along with additional assistance in repairing the Bundy's damaged infrastructure), but were maintained with firmness, demonstrating that any further actions towards the Bundys, their supporters, or their property would be defended against.  The fact that the Federal Government decided to halt the operation due to "safety concerns" for its agents as a result of the stated intent of defense and the actions to affect that defense by Patriots from across the Union should highlight the illegitimacy of the Federal Government’s rulings and actions, and clearly demonstrate a perversion of the intent for which that government was formed; from defending lives, liberties and property to infringing completely upon them.  Such perversions also highlight the necessity for The People to maintain their own defense separate from the government's presumed responsibilities.

Prior to the cessation of the BLM's operations, the contract cowboys hired to rustle the Bundy's cattle were able to corral approximately 400 of the cattle at the BLM's operations base.  Although there was not direct cohesion between the planned efforts of the Bundy's to retrieve their cattle and the defensive forces gathered, the objectives of the defensive forces were developed in such a manner that protection of the Bundy's and their supporter's could be rendered to assist them in the recovery.  Another key element, which created the facade of direct cohesion in this effort, was the awareness of the Bundy's intents by the militia through the utilization of a Militia Liaison, provided by OMA and approved by the Bundys, and the militia leadership, which allowed the efforts to proceed under separate authority but with coordinated intent and implementation.

The Bundys never exerted command or direct influence over the forces gathered in their defense as each volunteer was left to pursue the course which settled well with their conscience, but as long as the two entities maintained an alignment of morality and purpose, and each was aware of the other's intended actions and capabilities, their efforts become naturally aligned.

On April 12, 2014, the Bundys and their supporters moved to retrieve the stolen cattle from the BLM operations base and the militia maintained a defensive posture at all times to protect the lives of all involved, including the government’s agents.  After a tense stand-off at an entrance to the BLM compound where the agents had formed a barrier composed of vehicles and agents armed with anti-riot non-lethal weaponry, military arms (government issued M-4 rifles and pistols), riot shields, and dressed in military-style uniforms, along with sniper positions emplaced at a distance, the Sheriffs Department of Clark County, recognizing the dangers of the situation, developed and for the first time since the start of the operation exerting their authority in their jurisdiction, instructed the BLM to vacate the area immediately. Over 200 Federal Agents left the compound in 107 vehicles within an hour, and the Bundys released their cattle to return to the ranch and their range.  A major victory in the defense of lives, liberty, and property had been achieved.

After the Unrustling of the cattle, there were threats from an elected representative to the Federal Government, namely Nevada State Senator Harry Reid, directed at the Bundys and their supporters that the issue was not over and would be pursued until the government had obtained restitution for the grazing fees it believed it was owed.  Senator Reid also labeled the Bundys and their supporters as "Domestic Terrorists.”  Given the stated fact that the government does not negotiate with those it labels as “terrorists,” and the examples of their efforts to kill and disrupt those so labeled, a rigorous defense was maintained for the Bundys well after the Unrustling.

That defense was strategically drawn down over the following months, but a reserve force of quick responders was formed from local volunteers to ensure a rapid defense, and a personal protection detail comprised of individual volunteers maintains a close proximity to the family to this day, at the family’s request.  The protection detail is not directly affiliated with OMD but maintains communication with OMD for the sake of situational awareness and alert in the event that a greater defensive effort becomes necessary once again.  We would like to thank them for their continued service and selfless sacrifice in this endeavor, and extend that gratitude to all of the volunteers that responded when they were called upon to perform their duty as militia; the first line of defense for The People.