Fearing for their safety as armed protesters gathered in the Nevada back country, federal officials on Saturday suddenly ended a controversial effort to seize hundreds of cattle that a rancher has kept illegally on public land.
The cattle ranch's owner, Cliven Bundy, and hundreds of armed supporters had threatened to forcefully keep Bureau of Land Management employees from rounding up the approximately 900 cattle. Nearly 400 of the cattle had been seized during the past week. They were being held nearby and could be sent to Utah, authorities said.
In a meeting Saturday, Bundy urged Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie to seize the federal officials' weapons and bring them back to the rancher. The demand coincided with the sheriff, who's sought to avoid bloodshed, reading a news release from the BLM to a jubilant crowd gathered near Bundy's ranch.
"Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public," BLM Director Neil Kornze said. He asked that everyone in the area remain peaceful as officials work to shut down the operation.
TVNL Comment: Lesson learned: Get armed militia gangs to come to your aid and you don't have to pay fees you owe to the federal government. Income tax revolt, anyone? Just asking....