First, let me say that ideology, motive, conspiracy and all such other things aside, as a Father, Husband, Son, Brother, Operator, Citizen and American I made a decision on one principle alone: I can’t STAND bullies! Not the PC shit they talk about in media, but the ones who use disproportionate force to handle a situation for any reason. That is what my wife and I witnessed on television when Ammon Bundy (Cliven Bundy’s son) was tased and Margaret Bundy-Houston (Cliven Bundy’s sister) was thrown to the ground because they wanted to make sure the cattle that were being confiscated were still alive.
I made a decision. The line had been crossed, for me, that these Rangers from the BLM were not upholding an Oath, but “just following orders” and becoming reckless in doing so. I wanted to go out there and see what the situation was, for myself, and show support for the Bundy family.
I woke up early Friday morning, donned my Crye pants, Asolo boots, tan t-shirt and my XD40 (that’s just because I go everywhere open-carrying, thank you 2A!) then for the “just in case” I put my full-battle-rattle in the trunk of my car (something that REALLY concerned my wife; I assured her that if you’re going to a fight and not sure what to expect, you don’t show up unprepared...didn’t really sit well with her, but she didn’t protest), loaded up a cooler with some protein and water and headed for Bunkerville, a little over an hour north of me in Vegas.
When I showed up at the protest site, I drove by first to do some passive surveillance and see how tense things would be and what posture to take. I circled back and found a decent spot to park, put on my combat shirt (mostly because the sun was out and I didn’t want to burn too badly), got out and made my way to where the protestors were.
While I was mingling with the protestors and starting to get comfortable, I was hearing that the day before, the BLM had taken up tactical positions with sharp-shooters and seemed to have provoked people to “get ready for anything” next. However, the mood was still somewhat relaxed and people felt just and in good spirits that we were doing the right thing. Mostly, I was running into Citizens who were tired of Government over-reach, being told that someone else knows what’s best for them and that public land was not “open to the public”! It’s hard to argue with any of this.
I had been boots-on-ground for about 15-20 minutes when two guys approached me. The first guy, Ryan, said I look like I have a background and know how to handle myself. I confirmed his observations. He let me know he and his buddy were militia and wanted to know if I was interested in helping out. I have to admit, I’ve been indoctrinated to be suspicious of militia (and there have been some historical instances to not ignore), so I was leery. I asked, “In what way?” Ryan broke it down that the guys he was with were providing security to the Bundy family and the protestors. I could support that since it’s fairly innocuous and I did want to make sure things were civil and justifiable because the Nation was waking up to what was happening there.
I went down to their staging area, sat down with another militia guy to go over my background (they wanted to see what capacity they could use me best). After the introductions and makeshift interview, I was asked if I could help make sure the protestors were looked after and to report back in with anything of concern. Sounded good to me, so back to the protest site I went and linked up with a couple of other militia guys. Most of these guys didn’t have strong backgrounds, but they had purpose and listened to me in how best to go about making sure things went smoothly and that none of the protestors got spooked by our posture.
At that point, I mingled with the crowd and kept talking with more good people and keeping an eye out with an ear to the ground. That was when a woman from California militia told me she was getting a report of inbound DHS. I asked the HQ if they’d heard anything. Nope, it was unsubstantiated but they’d keep an ear open (this would be my first of many bogus reports heard hyping everyone up). I continued to mingle and observe.
I had been at the protest site for about an hour when I was called on the radio and asked to come down to HQ. The guys said they needed calm, clear-headed guys to provide direct protection on the Bundy family and asked if I could be part of that. I said, “Sure, it’s kinda what I did in Iraq and A-stan”. I was kind of suspicious of the quick trust, but also thought that maybe I’m just that readable. I’d see how things played out.
When I got down to the ranch, I linked up with Cody and Blaine (younger guys out of Arizona) and Irish (a member of the Arizona Praetorian Guard militia). They said that Cliven was currently on a helo, doing a segment for Sean Hannity and that when they got back, we’d do a formation around him and get him back to the house. I fell into PSD mode and the rest was too easy.
After Cliven was back in the house. We stood a relaxed posture outside and kept an eye on things. Soon, I was informed that we would be departing for a press conference. I was initially told that I’d be accompanying them, but in a second vehicle. Soon after, they asked if I could pull well (well gunner/trunk monkey) in the HMMV. So, there I was, no shit, pulling “well” for Cliven Bundy.
At this point, I really haven’t been introduced to Cliven. He was made aware that I’d be helping out with PSD, but nothing more. We get him to the press conference for the local outlets covering the situation, then get him back to the truck to find out we’re standing by for an on-air interview with Sean Hannity (who wasn’t on scene). The crowd and support had grown quite a bit by this point and I was falling into watching eyes, hands and ridgelines. It was weird thinking I’d be using skills for Iraq and Afghanistan in the good ol’ USA. However, at this point, I was making sure it was the potential for nut-jobs looking for some fame-by-association than I was for Feds. I hadn’t seen a single agency/officer since I had been in Bunkerville. The interview ended and Cliven was being greeted and shown more support by passers-by. During our escort back to the truck is when that picture, with me in the lead, must have been taken.
We fell back to the Bundy ranch at this point. I staged at the gate to the front yard, watching family and family-friends milling about. Things looked good, and to their credit with all the attention, things were normal. Later in the evening, we went back out for another interview. No problems and more supporters. I don’t think I could have felt more ‘Merica than what I was experiencing in all of this.
The detail gets back to the ranch with Cliven and we have family getting us all some food and making sure we are not want for anything. These were good, hard-working, real Salt-of-the-Earth people just trying to do the right thing. The guys I was pulling detail with were all up from Arizona, so they had brought their gear to stay the night. Since I only lived an hour away, they told me I could fall back to home and get some rest. There were plans for the next day to get the cattle back, come hell or high water! They asked me if I was “in”. I assured them I was there to make sure the Bundy’s would be safe, so count me in! I went home, hugged and kissed my wife and daughters and assured them I was doing the right thing for them and everyone else.
The next morning, traffic was a little heavier than expected (highway construction) and the group of protestors/supporters had grown three-fold, so my arrival was a little later than anticipated. When I got to the ranch, they announced “Superman’s here!” I see Booda Bear (guy who was wearing the Drew Brees jersey the day prior and a solid dude; he had a good mind-set on the whole situation) and he says, “Bro, it’s so good to see you! I thought I’d lost my Blackwater guy!” I laughed and got prepared to get the cattle back. However, as I got situated, we receive a SITREP that Sheriff Gillespie is on his way to speak with Cliven Bundy, so standby. The decision was made that we wouldn’t depart until the Sheriff was at the protest/press conference site.
We arrive to much fanfare with former Congressmen and State Senators showing support. ‘Merica, fuck yeah! On our way to the stage with Cliven, Carol (Mrs. Bundy) and one of the Bundy daughters, I spot the Sheriff and about a half-dozen high-ranking Sheriff Deputies. My antennae are up for anything hinky. The good news was that there was a substantial presence of the Arizona Praetorian Guard (Official State-sanctioned militia) at the front of the stage, so our detail took up the corners of the stage. Scanning, scanning, scanning.
I hear the Sheriff make the announcement that the BLM made a press release about the stand-down. Then it was Cliven who took the podium. He wasn’t satisfied. He was pissed and distrustful, and rightfully so. What had gone from dispute to disproportionate force against his family had created a family with resolve and a nation watching. Cliven made a counter demand of action and gave the Sheriff one hour to do his duty and look out for the interests of people in his jurisdiction against an over-reaching government. The Sheriff departed the stage without comment. At that point, the cowboys reclaimed the hill, upon which just 2 days ago had sharpshooters from the BLM, with flags and cheers. There was a riderless horse, and an announcement that it was in recognition for those who’ve paid the Ultimate Sacrifice to ensure our Freedoms.
Cliven directed the media to go report on the situation with the cattle and BLM and for those who support him, to set the cattle free. Some of the militia went with the supporters and media to oversee the cattle release and departure of the BLM, while we stayed behind awaiting the results of Cliven’s demands.
An hour had come and gone. There was a standoff between the cowboys and supporters with the BLM. More time had passed when Cliven decided it was time to escalate. We left the stage, loaded up and headed northeast of the Virgin River. We go off-road and stop just short of the banks of the river. I get out and see a bulldozer to our right. Cliven starts adding diesel fuel to it and it hits us. He’s getting them damn cattle back, now! Booda pulls us aside and says, “This is it, guys. Last chance to head back or find out how this plays out.” We’re all in. Just as Cliven is at the river, he stops, turns and we get orders to pull back. The bulldozer is now put back in place and we get word that the BLM are pulling back! We fall back toward the protest site, then make our way down to the Virgin River. The family and supporters left take off their shoes and socks and wade into the shallow waters. Cliven recognizes a small victory and decides we’ll wait there to watch the cows come home. You really can’t make this shit up! After some time, a few interviews and pictures and we see the first cowboy make his way to us. As we see a few cows, we pull out of the river so we don’t spook the cattle after their ordeal in captivity. The cowboy lets Cliven know that there were some dead cows and some that are crippled. All of them look malnourished.
We get back to the protest site, welcome back the cowboys and supporters then load up to head back to the ranch. We make a detour just short of the ranch. We’re at an overlook of the river, near the Bundy ranch. We can see the cattle pen and watch the cows being corralled by the cowboys. Some are stubborn and still confused, but we get a chance to watch the cowboys work as the sun is setting. It’s beautiful. It’s Americana.
The next couple of days are relatively uneventful. Many, many unsubstantiated rumors and conjecture are thrown around the airwaves and Internet with complete irresponsibility. Is it Government PsyOp? Is it possible? Is it asshole bloggers trying to inflate their following? Is it militia looking for a fight that isn’t even there anymore? I was asked to go check on the situation and make sure the Bundy family is at ease.
I break from my birthday celebrations with my family without hesitation. I didn’t get involved to do something half-assed, no matter what’s going on in my personal life.
I get to the protest site (traffic worse than ever, as it turns out the Clark County Fair ended that day and it wasn’t Gov’t checkpoints or any such BS). The protestor crowd is much smaller and seems to be restful. I get to the ranch where I find a few militia guys pulling ECP (Entry Control Point) duties. They don’t recognize me (but hell, I didn’t expect them to), so they mention they have to “ok” me with Ryan before I can pass. I get the ok, but while I’m waiting I’m listening and observing. Nope, no Feds pulling ninja ops. No storm troopers staged anywhere at all. I get to the house and get inside. Mama Bundy looks at me confused. I apparently look a LOT different when I’m sporting jeans, t-shirt and no hat. Then it hits them that Superman is back (their words, not mine). I let the family know about all the rumors. They know and are a bit concerned. I put their minds at ease. It makes NO sense to pull a “bait’n’switch” on the American public. There are no legal grounds for there to be a raid and it would completely blow up in their face if they did. I also get word from Booda that he’s on his way to further put the Bundy’s at ease. I inform supporters that all is quiet on the ranch. The family learns of my birthday and proceeds to sing me ‘Happy Birthday’. I was hugged by all and told to get back to my wife and daughters. I couldn’t have felt more humble and loved, in that moment. They were safe and felt better about my insight.
The Government has been put on notice. Not everyone is asleep or willing to assimilate. We sidestepped what could possibly have been the 2nd American Revolution, on April 12th, 2014 and favor goes to We the People.
About The Author
Voodoo is a seasoned veteran of both the United States Military and the Private Contracting Community.