Federal Employee Threatened in Utah, Spillover from Bundy Standoff?
Cliven Bundy has become something of a delightful national joke, what with his folksy racism and a video series on history that can best be described as US fanfiction. And while the Bundy story could have ended much more tragically—say with “the women” all being shot after an overzealous militia-member or BLM agent accidentally opened fire during the “standoff.”
For the BLM what ultimately happened was a lose-lose situation. They either would have successfully kept the cattle and perhaps engaged in a gun battle or, what they ultimately decided, to return the cows and send a message to every sovereign nut-job that (at least) the BLM is easily intimidated by armed citizens.
According to the Associated Press, an employee of the BLM was driving on the highway, when two hooded men in a dark blue Dodge truck and, most likely, gave him the middle finger. While reckless road behavior, it’s what they did next that is truly disturbing. They held up a sign that read “You need to die.” Then the two men allegedly brandished firearm. The license plate had been covered up with duct tape.
While the Bundy fiasco drew national headlines, tensions in Utah—where the federal government owns two-thirds of the land—are running high. Ranchers are reportedly threatening “to break federal law and round up wild horses this summer if the BLM doesn’t do it first.” The AP also reports that San Juan County Commissioner is going to drive an ATV on federal land where such vehicles are prohibited in protest.
In 2012 the Utah legislature—mostly Republicans—passed a law that state attorneys said, according to Reuters “is likely unconstitutional and could lead to a protracted but futile legal battle,” ordering the federal government to return the land it owns—save for National Parks—to the state of Utah by 2015. Now it seems as if the anti-federal animus has extended beyond the halls of government and onto the highways of the state of Utah.