Nevada Today

Nevada Today is a nonpartisan, independently owned and operated site dedicated to providing up-to-date news and smart analysis on the issues that impact Nevada's communities and businesses.

News and information

As Relevant Now As It Was Back Then: “Armed Madness”

In light of this month’s mass shooting attacks in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, we must acknowledge some very uncomfortable truths, not just on gun violence, but also on who we are and what we’re allowing to happen underneath our noses. Building upon our reexamination of past writings that now read as warning signs of what was to come, we’re revisiting two more stories I wrote in 2014, stories that feel eerily prescient today.

We’re starting with this story I wrote on May 1, 2014. Notice anything (and/or anyone) familiar here? Just like last week, I made a few edits to fix any broken links and clean up some language.

Oops. Did we speak too soon? Have Cliven Bundy and his merry gang of “outlaw cowboys” just figured out a way to extend their 15 minutes of infamy? 

Just when we thought the national media were done with them, Bundy’s outrageously extreme militia “support crew” decided to make even more outrageous statements. And this time, they’re gunning for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). No really, they’re threatening Senator Reid again. And this time, they’re specifically targeting his private parts.

But wait, there’s more: Remember the Oath Keepers? Sharron Angle is a member. And the Southern Poverty Law Center has quite the thick dossier on the Oath Keepers and their extreme xenophobic anti-Constitutional pro-anarchy conspiracy theory charged agenda.

Is this a “blast from the past”, or a glimpse into our present and future?

Apparently, the Oath Keepers were the “reasonable” ones at Bundy Ranch. They were kicked out of the “Range War” last week by the other wannabe insurrectionists. And two Oath Keepers were physically assaulted by the other Bundy Ranch militia. And the other militia were threatening a major gun fight.

The Oath Keepers actually believed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had authorized a drone strike on Bundy Ranch. We can’t make this stuff up. And Jon Ralston has something to say to (then) U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R) about his recent support for this (until it was no longer politically convenient).

And frankly, the same applies to (now former Rep.) Cresent Hardy (R-Bunkerville), (now Las Vegas City Council Member and Mayor Pro-tem) Michele Fiore, (U.S. Senator) Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), (U.S. Senator) Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and all the other far-right politicians who oh so quickly hopped on the Bundy bandwagon (before he became a political liability). And the same applies to the  NRA, the #1 gun industry cheerleader that never hesitates to encourage the kind of armed madness we’re now seeing at Bundy Ranch. So who’s the “good guy with a gun” stopping the “bad guy with a gun” here?

Right now, we just see a bunch of bad guys with guns. And we see a whole lot of Mesquite and Bunkerville residents who are sick and tired of the armed madness. What were all these far-right politicians and gun lobby interest groups thinking when they endorsed this armed madness? 

Next, we’re moving to something I wrote on July 21, 2014. Once again, there’s always been a clear connection between the militia movements that sided with Cliven Bundy then and the anti-immigrant movement that’s reached the heights of power in our government now.
Photo by Andrew Davey

On Friday, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) penned an op-ed for The Washington Post explaining exactly why it wasn’t a good idea for the far-right echo chamber to celebrate Cliven Bundy‘s illegal “Range War“. And yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun published an editorial on the issue. Basically, both detailed what we’ve been keeping track of since April. Need we go over that history again? 

Perhaps we should revisit current events. Remember Murrieta? Remember Oracle? It’s happening again. Ironically, they’re complaining about the lack of “enforcing the law“. Yet when confronted with current anti-trafficking law, they scream in horror. 

Photo by Andrew Davey

But then again, they didn’t seem to care about the law when Cliven Bundy broke it. Rather, far-right politicians and pundits celebrated the culture of lawlessness at Bundy Ranch with reckless abandon. They only began to abandon the Bundy Gang when they became politically inconvenient.

However, they haven’t actually abandoned the dangerous “Patriot Movement” behind Bundy Ranch. Instead, they’ve moved over to its current cause celebre. Now, they’re waging a war against refugee children.

Why does this feel so eerily familiar?
Photo by Andrew Davey

On Saturday, a group of anti-immigrant protesters assembled just above the 215 Freeway in Henderson. Some were carrying signs relaying (misleading) messages that could have easily come directly from John Tanton himself, while a couple were wearing Oath Keepers paraphernalia. And this event was part of a “national day of action” organized by ALIPAC, the anti-immigrant political outfit run by notorious xenophobe William Gheen.

Cliven Bundy‘s “Range War” is rooted in the same fascist ideology as this latest anti-immigrant campaign. Both have reached out to the same anti-government militia groups to further their shared “war”. And both have attracted an alarming amount of support among supposedly “mainstream” right-wing politicians and media personalities. 

This should be considered common sense. This should be a “no-brainer”. Yet for some reason, we’re back on the range (war). And once again, we’re having to remind some irresponsible political “players” that they’re playing with (“sovereign citizen” fueled) fire.

Postscript: “Even though I’m a citizen now, I’m still afraid they’re going to walk through that door and tell me I’m not a citizen any more, just like they told that 14-year-old boy at the border who is a U.S. citizen.”
– Yesenia Moya Garay, at the #ElPasoFirme solidarity vigil on August 7, 2019
Photo by Andrew Davey

As we’ve noted in recent days, as immigrant rights activists lamented outside the Las Vegas ICE office earlier this month, as Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas) acknowledged while speaking with us at a Back to School event yesterday, and as Rep. Steven Horsford noted at Everytown’s August recess rally last Saturday, the Trump administration has done little to address the growing threat of extreme-right, white nationalist terrorism. Instead, President Donald Trump is continually ramping up his own extremely hateful rhetoric with actions meant to harm immigrant communities. Not only is the White House doubling down some more on the prison camps where they’re housing refugee children, but the Trump administration has finally formalized its long-threatened “public charge” rules change that aims to penalize immigrants with work permits and green cards who utilize social safety net programs that they’re legally entitled to access.

To add further insult to injury here, the disgraced Virginia politician Trump tapped to head USCIS joked about revising the message inscribed on the Statue of Liberty while Trump himself continues to promote the kinds of conspiracy theories that fuel QAnon and other extremist movements. Meanwhile, Trump himself continues his social media attacks on progressive women of color in Congress and continues to absolve fascist militia networks of any responsibility for the violence they provoke with their “protests” by targeting leftist groups for “terrorist” designation instead.

Photo by Andrew Davey

As Rep. Lee described the recent mass shooting attacks in El Paso, Gilroy, and elsewhere that can be traced to white nationalists, “This is domestic terrorism, and it needs to be treated with the same vigor that we apply to foreign threats. […] The rhetoric that has come out of this administration has been full of fear and division and hatred, quite honestly. I think the American people have woken up, and they will continue to put pressure on this administration to have some more tolerance.”

Yet thus far, the Trump administration has shown no interest in showing any tolerance towards anyone other than the extremists within their own ranks, just as they’re showing no interest in pursuing any kind of meaningful gun safety legislation. As we continue to make sense of this growing threat at home, we’ll continue to dig deeper into this “Web of Hate” to see for ourselves what they’re saying, why they’re saying it, and how such hateful words translate into such terrifying actions.

About Author

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.