This week Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid commented, "Those people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists. I repeat: What went on up there was domestic terrorism.” Reid is describing last week's scuffle between the U.S. Government's Bureau of Land Management and supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Supporters of Bundy met force with force, which is what many view as what the Founding Fathers had in mind when creating the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution when government attacks citizens. Yesterday, April 18, 2014, Reid doubled down on his comments while appearing on KSNV’s 'What’s Your Point?' Reid said during the program, “600 people came armed, they had practiced, they had maneuvered… they set up snipers in strategic locations… they had automatic weapon[s].” Reid did state during the program that he was specifically talking about the Bundy supporters and not Bundy himself.
Cliven Bundy has been involved in a long running battle with the U.S. Government over ownership of land nearby his ranch and grazing fees. Before there was a federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bundy family had cattle grazing on the land in dispute since the 1870s. Over time, Cliven Bundy chose to begin paying grazing fees to the BLM, however he felt the land he was paying for was not being managed well and stopped paying. This culminated to the point the BLM gained court orders for Bundy to pay what is now slightly more than $1 million in grazing fees. Then a week ago, federal, state and local law enforcement descended onto the Bundy Ranch to round up his cattle with the intent to sell them at auction to recoup the $1 million owed. The overreaction by the federal government caused a firestorm within the patriot movement causing hundreds of supporters to come to his ranch to document the actions of the BLM and National Forestry Service and offer general support. What did not get much press is that the BLM estimated it was going to cost approximately $3 million of taxpayer money to round up all the cattle to auction them off in order to satisfy the $1 million debt.
Ultimately the BLM backed off and returned the 350-400 heads of cattle to Bundy they had rounded up, due to the reaction of his supporters. It was this defeat of the federal government when Reid felt it necessary to rename patriots as 'domestic terrorists.' One could easily argue, the label of 'domestic terrorists' could have been used for our Founding Fathers as they rose to defy the government in charge at that time. This is why the Second Amendment was created, so that militias could be maintained to defy federal government tyranny over the states and citizens, however Reid does not see it that way. He is of the mindset the government should have a strategic advantage over its citizens.
The use of disparaging and inflammatory language is not foreign to Reid however, as he has about the same to say about the Koch brothers. He recently used the U.S. Senate floor bully pulpit to call them un-American for their influence in politics, however saved any such negative comments about similarly positioned billionaires like Tom Seyer and George Soros. The Koch brothers support Republicans while Seyer and Soros tend to support Democrats - Reid is a Democrat. Interestingly, when you look at the facts, it is the 'left' which has the most influence in politics.