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The Battle of Bunkerville

The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. on April 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jason Bean)

For 20 years Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville Nevada has claimed the right to graze his cattle on federal range land without paying range fees.

So last week federal agents finally started rounding up his herd. And when armed militia members showed up, it got pretty tense.

The federal government finally backed down over the weekend.

Sympathetic websites portray this as another case of the rugged individual up against the big bad federal government.

But is it really?

For one thing Nevada wouldn’t even exist without the big bad federal government. Nor would California, Arizona, or the rest if the southwest. If the federal government hadn’t forcibly purchased that territory in 1848, Bundy’s Ranch would be in Mexico. today.

And Bunkerville is not some remote town in the middle of nowhere.

It’s on Interstate 15, which connects Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Just down the road from the Bundy Ranch is the Falcon Ridge Golf Club, the Oasis Golf Club, the Wolf Greek Golf Club and Casa Blanca Resort Casino and Golf Spa.

There’s a reason Cliven Bundy is the last rancher in Clark County – the land’s too valuable.

I’m sure the militia’s heart was in the right place. But the way it looks to me, if the federal government hadn’t locked up the surrounding rangeland, Mr. Bundy would’ve been rounding up golf carts all these years.

And if government had really wanted to shut him down as his supporters claim, it would have just sold the public land to private developers. The falling demand for beef and the growing demand for golf would’ve done the rest.

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