Harry Reid calls Bundy supporters 'domestic terrorists'
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a luncheon crowd that supporters of Cliven Bundy who demonstrated at his ranch against the BLM cattle grab were "domestic terrorists" and their actions constituted "domestic terrorism."
The Nevada Democrat was referring to the hundreds of Bundy backers — some armed, some from out of state — who congregated at the ranch last week in a show of support as the Bureau of Land Management began seizing the family’s cattle in a dispute over grazing fees.
No shots were fired, although Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy’s adult son, was stung by a Taser last week during an argument with federal agents.
BLM officials abandoned the cattle-gather Saturday, citing concerns about public safety at the Bunkerville, Nev., ranch as the number of demonstrators grew.
More supporters are expected to flock to the ranch Friday for the Bundy family’s “Patriot Party,” a community event aimed at thanking those who have supported them during the stand-off with the BLM.
Mr. Reid had remained mum on the conflict until Monday, when he told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas that “it’s not over.” In his Thursday remarks, he criticized Cliven Bundy refusing to comply with federal authority by paying his grazing fees.
“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Mr. Reid. “He says that the United States is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”
What Mr. Bundy's personal views about the federal government are has little to do with whether he's a domestic terrorist. And by most accounts, a large majority of demonstrators on the ranch were not armed and those that were never made any threatening moves toward the more than 200 armed federal agents who surrounded the ranch last month.
It's Harry Reid's attitude that is going to get people killed. When the government sees peaceful demonstrators as terrorists, and descends on a civilian's property with overwhelming force designed to intimidate the citizen into complying with the law, the question of self defense becomes relevant. Bundy's political views may be out of the mainstream, but how does that make him a terrorist? Or even potentially violent? The BLM invited this response by their heavy handed tactics - proving the government has learned nothing from the confrontations at Ruby Ridge and elsewhere, where botched operations resulted in tragedy.
"Thumbing his nose at authority" is not a crime. Someone should tell Harry Reid that before it becomes one.