Nonetheless, BLM backed off its enforcement action because Bundy managed to attract support from armed militia (aided in part by scenes like this), turning a boring grazing fee dispute into a situation fraught with the potential for violence. These militia members don't appear to have been the brightest individuals, at least based on this:
The militiamen posted a sign: MILITA SIGHN IN (sic).But while they might not be so good at that whole spelling thing, they did have guns—and as you can see in the picture at the top of this post, they appeared eager to use them. So even though the BLM was unambiguously on the correct side of the law, it decided to return the cattle it had rounded up. Although the BLM has largely remained mum on the situation, the dispute is not over. According to the BLM statement announcing the return of the cattle, the agency will "work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially," a position backed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said the dispute is "not over."
With BLM having abandoned its cattle roundup, we're pretty much back to a relatively boring grazing dispute between a deadbeat cattle rancher with crackpot political ideas and a federal agency which isn't known for being terribly popular with anybody on the political spectrum. If you're a member of the right-wing media, that's terrible news, however, because boring doesn't sell, so as you'll see below the fold, last night Sean Hannity did what he always tries to do: Create conflict by imagining a set of facts that aren't exactly grounded in reality.
Hannity began his show on Fox last night by promoting a claim from a former Arizona sheriff that federal authorities were planning a midnight raid on Bundy's ranch. Hannity misidentified the sheriff as being from Nevada, didn't mention that the sheriff had been out of office for more than a decade, and overlooked the fact that the previous day the sheriff had said he would use his wife and daughters as human shields if to protect himself from the federal government, but Hannity's goal was to entertain his audience by promoting the possibility of an armed conflict between a rancher and the federal government, so he didn't bother worrying about the details. Instead:
Sean Hannity suggested Tuesday night that federal authorities are plotting a sneak attack on Cliven Bundy’s ranch after they appeared to back away from a standoff.Alas, there was no raid on Bundy's ranch last night, so in the slim chance that Hannity actually believed there was any chance of such a raid, he woke up this morning disappointed. Far more likely, he's just going to move on to his next right-wing fantasy, because as every right-wing jock knows, you've got to keep your audience on edge to keep them dialed in. It was a pathetic display from Hannity, but I'll concede this point: Until his stunt last night, I'd actually forgotten he was still on the air.
The recalcitrant rancher threatened violence against federal agents if they dared try to arrest him on the orders of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
“First I’ve got to say, Harry, get your army out of Nevada, get your army away from my ranch and off Clark County public land – and keep it out!” Bundy said. “And if they come, we’ll deal with them tonight. That’s what we’ve got to do, we’ll just deal with you. Whether you got guts enough to do it, come on.”