Why a robust response to Bundys at Malheur is important
The immense damage I see to public lands in southern Utah caused by private livestock grazing motivated me to start Torrey House Press. The public would not put up with current land management practices if they knew about them and I want to get the word out in literature. The land practices are absurd, and I will get to that, but what concerns me even more about the Bundys taking siege to the public buildings at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is how it makes a mockery of the American principle of equal justice under law. Cliven Bundy has twice been convicted in federal court for illegal livestock grazing and for failure to pay grazing fees. In April 2014, after 20 years of illegal grazing, Bundy and his sons, along with numerous heavily armed protesters in cowboy hats, held the federal government off at gunpoint from rounding up the trespassing cows. Yet Bundy and his sons remain free, free to continue illegal grazing, free from paying grazing fees, free from paying court fines, free to take siege of the public visitor center at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge where, as of this writing, these gunmen remain free to come and go as these please. In the meanwhile, public schools in the surrounding county are closed in terror.
In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher was arrested for interrupting an energy auction of public land located in Utah’s red-rock country. DeChristopher was armed not with guns but with a bidding paddle. He was an out of state, non-LDS, college student at the time of the auction. Even though the auction was later ruled to be illegal because of insufficient environmental and scientific review, which was DeChristopher’s point, that fact was not allowed to be heard in court by ruling judge Dee Benson and DeChristopher was convicted, sentenced and served two years in federal prison.