Rule of Law, Burns, Oregon

Be careful before always siding with the government on every issue, because governments don’t always side with God on all issues. Governments can become bullies, they can become corrupt and dishonest, and evasive. Even our local forest service here in Republic told me that they couldn’t find the information on how much it cost to close a road.

For years I have watched one large straight truck pulling a trailer with a piece of equipment on it and followed by a chase truck usually driven by a USFS employee, drive up the mainline to block access to some road. The tractor and trailer are contracted out, contracts are written on paper, but Ranger Sanchez told me, “we just don’t keep track of that kind of stuff.” That was his answer to a formal FOIA legal request, handed to him in writing. He also told me they had no record of the dozens of legal appeals filed by local and distant environmental coalitions; appeals that were used to put the local mill out of business and slow logging down to a standstill, and appeals which I can almost guarantee you are in fact still on file, as most of them were of legal status and filed according to a legal format.

The BLM agencies in Oregon and Nevada and Utah or in Wyoming are just as capable of being agenda dominated, highly partisan, indifferent (or hostile) to local ranchers, dishonest and playing for political purpose and moneyed outside coalitions. I have heard a lot of talk, very high and mighty, about the rule of law; but what happens when governments and their agencies don’t follow the rule of law?

The last thing I want to see is gun play in Burns Oregon, and bloodshed, in which undoubtedly good people on both sides could die. But keep in mind that these ranchers, not just the Hammonds, but all across the west have been dealing with government agencies that no longer have the settler’s best interest in mind, agencies of an almost all-powerful and belligerent government. There are reasons why they are frustrated. Let’s deal with them humanely and at the same time, how about a little government accountability? Can’t cows co-exist with tortoises and ducks? How much federal land do we need in the west, especially since access is becoming increasingly restricted and narrow in use.

Maybe there are more important issues; but when I see bullying, I tend to want to side with the bullied, not the bully. And don’t be distracted by all the side issues and red herrings and name calling; the issues here are land access and use issues, and my experience has shown that 99% of the time public land is becoming less and less public and more controlled by outside groups for popular urban ideologies. The real threatened species being our sheep and cattle ranchers. This is abusive governance leading to law breaking by people who are not prone to law breaking. That is the issue that I believe is triggering the other issues.

And gunning down disgruntled cowboys, no matter how we want to label them or even if they are confused or wrong in their approach, is not going to solve the problem


About notmanynoble

woodcutter from Washington State
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