There are so many things wrong with last month’s BLM “roundup” it’s difficult to even know where to start. As anyone in businesses will tell you, to effectively negotiate a deal, both parties must begin with the same premise.
Clive Bundy was operating under the premise that the government works for him. The government, however, was working under the assumption that Clive, and all citizens, were subjected to them. Clive was right and we should all be thankful for his courage in standing up to an overreaching government.
Make no mistake, the government’s actions were not prompted over concern for the desert tortoise. Had that been the case, instead of spending millions of dollars trying to put Bundy in his place, they would have allocated that money to find a solution to the over crowding of wild horses in our state. A national research council predicts the population of wild horses in the West will be 145,000 by 2020 if left unchecked. This begs the question, which step on more turtles, a few hundred cows or thousands of mustangs?
So if not for the desert tortoise, they why? While there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there about powerful politicians having other agendas for the use of the land (none of which should be discounted), perhaps it’s just a matter of putting Bundy in his place. But what the government seemed to forget in this instance is that this country was founded because men like Bundy refused to be “put in their place”. At the end of the day, having underestimated the resolve of Bundy and like-minded Americans, the government was clearly put in its place.
However, in the overall scheme of things, this is a small squirmish in a much bigger battle. The fact is our government has gotten too big, too intrusive, too intimidating and way too powerful. The only thing capable of keeping them in check is the people, whose only credible source of information is the media. Imagine how the Bundy case would have ended up had the media not gotten involved.
When the government imposes restrictions on media access (such as the FAA declaring a “no-fly zone” in the Bundy case), they are trying to keep us in the dark, minimize the ramifications of their actions and maintain power. The media is the most important tool we have for transparency in government and we must protect all our rights by insisting on media access.
Speaking of shedding light, the Bundy case served as a spotlight to reveal the character of a few of our elected officials. Our governor demonstrated quick decisive leadership by calling out BLM’s attempt to silence protestors. Sheriff Gillispie negotiated a peaceful settlement to a volatile situation that could very likely have resulted in casualties. Both our governor and sheriff did their jobs well and we should be proud of them.
But what about our County Commissioner, Tom Collins, who allegedly called our Utah neighbors “inbred bastards,” who “should turn their a***es around and mind their own f*****g business?” While I’m sure the commissioner never dreamed his comments to Utah commissioner Darin Bushman would end up in the media, his words are shameful and an embarrassment to the people he represents.
To our friends in Utah, and on behalf of the Nevada business community, we apologize for the lack of class demonstrated by Collins and assure you, he does not speak for us. To our friends in Nevada who have the power of the vote, remember, when you cast your ballot, not to put Collins in a position where he represents us ever again. And to commissioner Collins, shame on you. As an elected official you should know better than to insult our closest neighbors and expect it to go unnoticed.
Rest assured, we have noticed. And, like the BLM, Mr. Collins you work for us … at least for now.