Cliven Bundy's anti-government militia members are "locked and loaded" in response to President Obama's designation on Wednesday that 300,000 acres of land around Gold Butte will be deemed a national monument.
"Saddle Up!!!!! President Obama just designated the Bundy Ranch a national monument today! Get your gear ready," read a Facebook post by Jon Ritzheimer, one of the men who captured Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for nearly six weeks in 2015.
Posters on the Cliven Bundy's Army! Facebook group responded to the news with ominous comments.
"This makes me sick. The government does not know their place. Nothing can keep them in line anymore. Have we lost our republic?" whined Joshua Martinez.
"Locked and loaded ready to go. Tired of this crap and time to do something." threatened Chris Border.
When a poster named Neil Wampler wrote, "HA ! More fun and excitement ! We'll just un-designate em," Bill Goode (who originally posted the news to the group) responded, "Neil, I sincerely hope it will be that simple. It may take another Malheur." After Wampler asked how the locals are responding to the news, Goode informed him that "Locals want to wait & see what Trump will do. However, I fear the BLM [Bureau of Land Management] may round up Bundy cattle again before Trump takes office. The Gold Butte monument covers about 1/3 of the former grazing allotment used by the Bundys. Bundy herd is not as big as it was, so perhaps they can get by until 20 Jan, if BLM doesn't round up the cattle."
"So far it’s just been a lot of posturing," said JJ MacNab, an expert on American anti-government extremism, in an interview with Vocativ. "But members of these groups are looking for something to happen. They don’t really care what it is."
The designation of the Gold Butte National Monument was part of a larger conservationist plan implemented by President Obama on Wednesday. In addition to the 300,000 acres outside of Las Vegas, Obama also designated 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region of Utah as the Bears Ears National Monument. The purpose of both these designations is to protect the lands from energy development and other exploitative practices, while respecting the interests of both Native American tribes and environmentalists.
The Gold Butte National Monument will exist in the area near where Cliven Bundy led an armed standoff against federal agents in 2014. Two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, led the seizure of Malheur. Although those two Bundy brothers and five co-defendants were acquitted in October, seven people face a separate trial next year for their role in the seizure. Similarly, Cliven Bundy, four of his sons, and 12 other people are facing a multitude of charges for their actions in Nevada from 2014.
So far the Bundy family itself has not threatened another showdown, despite the rhetoric of their supporters on social media. "This is about control, pure and simple," they declared in a statement. "You don’t love this land, you have never visited here, but you love being in control of this land."
That said, the attitude of Team Bundy is probably best captured by Karl Koenigs, an Oregon standoff veteran, who posted on Facebook: "Get your gear ready, and prepare, to saddle UP Patriots... Time for another WIN for the Ninth and TENTH Amendment laws in Bunkerville!"
If nothing else, we can expect to hear more from the Bundys and their ilk next year.