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How Long Until a Government Land Manager Dies?

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The government using kid gloves with Cliven Bundy has just encouraged others in the West to step up their aggression against government land managers. First, Utah:

After two armed men threatened a Bureau of Land Management wrangler on Tuesday in western Utah, workers are removing BLM logos from their vehicles to help avoid additional incidents, the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Thursday.

The wrangler was driving on a highway near Mills, Utah when two people in a pick-up truck pulled up along side the vehicle. The occupants “told him he was No. 1 with that certain gesture,” Eric Reid, the wrangler’s supervisor at the BLM Fillmore Field Office, told the Tribune.

The men then reappeared in the pick-up truck a few minutes later wearing hoods and holding up a sign that read, “You need to die.” One of the men pointed a Glock handgun at the wrangler.

And then, New Mexico:

The water is drying up, making every stream worth a fight.

Ranchers in Otero County are wrangling with the Forest Service over a patch of land where a creek called Agua Chiquita runs.

The Forest Service says it built a new, sturdy fence to keep cattle away from a recovering river habitat, but cattlemen say the new fence and locked gates infringe on long-standing water rights.

The battle goes beyond a single stream and the single ranching family directly affected, say ranchers and county officials, and rests on the principle that even on federal land, ranchers holding water rights dating to before 1907 – as often happens in Otero County – should have access to the water, including the portion downstream of the fenced-in area.

The Forest Service says

it has a right to manage the land, including where water flows.

After the Forest Service refused to open the gates, the Otero County commissioners this week demanded the sheriff cut the locks, potentially igniting a confrontation on the order of Nevada’s Cliven Bundy, the rancher who has rallied armed supporters in a fight against federal land managers. So far cooler heads have prevailed in New Mexico.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed to mediate the conflict next week, according to Otero County attorney Blair Dunn and a spokeswoman for Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

“I really, truly believe the U.S. Attorney is going to be able to facilitate this in a fashion that prevents it from escalating to what happened in Nevada,” Dunn said. “That is where things feel like they are headed.”

Well, we will see about that.

The increased aggression of these angry white men in the rural West is quite worrisome. I know no one wants another Ruby Ridge or Waco but at the same time, government land managers are going to start getting injured or killed if it

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becomes clear to rural westerners that they can intimidate without consequence. Some sort of these people are just jokers and bullies, but a continued escalation of aggression will probably not end well.

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