The arrest of the key members of the Bundy clan and recent action to bring an end to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were long overdue and CRS applauds the efforts of the FBI and other law enforcement personnel.
In June of last year CRS called on the Obama Administration to bring scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy to justice, along with the militants he rallied to an armed standoff with law enforcement in Nevada back in 2014. Our concern was that failing to promptly do so only further emboldens these radicals to greater extremes and more lawlessness.
That concern proved prescient on January 2nd when Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with a handful of fellow militants, forcibly occupied the Malheur Refuge.
In the CRS press statement on the occupation being brought to an end, CRS president David Jenkins said:
“We commend the FBI and other law enforcement officers for ending the armed seizure of this beloved refuge and arresting those involved. Blame for this entire episode, including the unfortunate death of Lavoy Finnicum, falls squarely on the militants who, through their lawless and irresponsible actions, endangered lives from day one.”
“Despite all of their rhetoric about the Constitution, freedom and God, in truth the occupiers—along with those who support them—are attacking our nation, its laws, its values, its history, and the democratic processes established by our forefathers.
The use of armed force and intimidation to get one’s way in a democracy is the worst kind of bullying. It undermines freedom and tramples on the rights of every other American.”
CRS also issued a statement on the arrest of Cliven Bundy, where Jenkins said:
“Cliven Bundy is not a sympathetic figure to real conservatives who respect the rule of law. He is a radical, anti-American bully who has cheated taxpayers, intimidated public officials, and broken the law with impunity for more than two decades. Any effort to defend his behavior or portray him as some kind of victim is a fool’s errand.
We hope the Obama Administration has finally learned that when dealing with a bully—be it a terrorist, a tinhorn dictator, a drug dealer or a belligerent rancher who rejects U.S. authority—appeasement never works.”
CRS is thankful that this situation is over and those responsible for the 2014 Bunkerville standoff and the recent Malheur Refuge occupation are being held accountable for their actions. Still, we recognize that the Bundy strain of anti-public land radicalism remains a threat, not only from armed militants, but also from state and federal lawmakers who share their extreme views.
Below are links to several related op-eds written by CRS staff and volunteers, along with links to additional information on this topic.
The Bundy Bunch and Obama’s Lawless West—The Stream
Protecting Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is conservative—The Hill
It’s Time to Hold Bundy Accountable for Standoff—Las Vegas Review-Journal
Bundy’s stance not in line with true conservatism—Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cliven Bundy’s crusade not conservative—Salt Lake Tribune
Cliven Bundy Criminal Complaint - Oregonian
Bundy Timeline - Las Vegas Review Journal