On Friday, brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy were arraigned for felony charges for their alleged role in a 2014 confrontation with federal authorities who had come to the family ranch to confiscate cattle. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) alleged that 85% of the state of Nevada belonged to the federal government, including the land surrounding the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, where the Bundy family had grazed cattle since the 1880’s.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy have both refused to enter pleas, prompting the judge to enter “not guilty” pleas on their behalf for charges that accuse the Bundy brothers of violently conspiring against the government and assaulting and threatening law enforcement officers. Other alleged co-conspirators similarly refused to enter pleas, claiming that they have been mistreated while in custody and have had their rights violated. Fellow defendant Brian Cavalier offered prosecutors a pocket copy of the Constitution.
The Bundy Family patriarch, Cliven Bundy, was arrested when he landed in Portland to visit his sons who were already imprisoned for their alleged roles in occupying a wildlife refuge in Eastern Oregon in protest of the federal government’s inequitable relationship with Western states and the federal government’s claim to the land therein.
The two brothers were at the Bundy ranch in 2014 as patriots from all around the nation came to support the family to resist the government seizure of cattle. Videos soon surfaced showing militant federal agents corralling protestors into a so-called “free speech area” where protests were allowed to be and videos also showed brutal tactics by federal agents which included throwing peaceful protesters to the ground and assaulting those who protested.
The standoff reached a fever pitch when the BLM conceded that they could not win the fight, but still refused to release the already-seized cattle. Armed protesters stormed a nearby wash that was the base of operations for the militarized federal force and an armed standoff ensued.
Ammon Bundy soon emerged as the voice of reason and brokered a parley with the federal agents and returned to the frontline with news that the federal agents would release the cattle.
This author was on the bridge directly overlooking the wash and though Ammon Bundy has been charged with supposed insurrection, it is this author’s unwavering belief that Ammon’s brokering saved many lives that day that could have been lost or forever altered if a single shot rang-out on either side.
The Bundy brothers have already been charged with conspiracy charges in Oregon, but they were transferred to Nevada to be arraigned so that they may stand trial in two states simultaneously. Defense attorneys for the accused have alleged that it is a rigged prosecution as authorities are forcing the men to fight for their freedom in two trials simultaneously in two different states, a situation which may prevent them from mounting adequate defenses.
Mike Arnold, Ammon’s attorney in the Oregon case, noted,
“These guys have the right to a speedy trial and the right to a fair trial. The timing of the federal government charging them in the Nevada case is very suspicious. They waited two years and they chose to do it at a particular time that is going to make defending them in Oregon very difficult. There are mountains of discovery to look at, and they can’t be in two places at once.”
“[Ammon]’s really disappointed that he can’t effectively defend himself,” Arnold said.
The federal government has coordinated across state lines and more than 30 patriots are behind bars awaiting prosecution for their role in defending the Bundy ranch from the federal government.
If convicted, the Bundy brothers may spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Meanwhile, bloodthirsty murderer Leslie Van Houten was approved for parole last week. Van Houten was a Manson Family cult member who joined in the slaughter of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Leno LaBianca had “war” carved into his stomach with the hopes that the senseless murders would start a race war.
However, the Bundys may never again breathe free air.