In the short space of three weeks, a completely unknown Nevada cattle rancher named Cliven Bundy has been transformed into a modern-day folk hero by Fox News for taking on the U.S. government over grazing rights on federal land. One local letter writer declared the rancher his hero and wrote that if he lived closer to Bundys ranch he would be out there with him, ( Rancher Cliven Bundy is my hero, Letters, April 27).
Bundy is nothing more than a welfare cowboy who refuses to pay the $1.35 per month per animal fee that all cattle ranchers pay for using federal property. Bundy has stated repeatedly that he does not recognize the federal government. He is a moocher and thief who refuses to obey the law. He also is an ignorant racist who wonders whether blacks were better off as slaves. Here are some facts important to this story:
1. Nevada ceded over 80 percent of its land to the federal government when it became a state.
2. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress full authority over federal lands.
3. The Supreme Court has upheld this power without limitations.
The United States government cannot allow Bundy to violate federal law. He should recognize that he has a losing hand and pay his bill.
RICHARD D. CHRISTIAN