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Cliven Bundy Ranch Standoff is a long-standing legal dispute between cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada over unpaid grazing fees dating back to 1993. During a highly publicized armed standoff against the BLM in April 2014, Bundy came under much scrutiny in the news and online for his controversial statements regarding African Americans and the history of slavery in the United States.
In 1993, grazing rules were altered on in Nevada, which ordered Bundy to pay to allow his cattle to graze on BLM-administered lands. After refusing to pay the new bills, an order was issued in 1998 prohibiting Bundy from grazing his cattle on federally administered land in an area of Gold Butte, Nevada.
Battle of Bunkerville
In early April 2014, the BLM began a cattle roundup in the area Bundy was trespassing, gathering nearly 400 cattle from April 5th to the 9th. After sending out letters to various groups across the country, Bundy was joined by a number of protesters and armed militia members. On April 10th, a confrontation occurred by a convoy in which federal officials claim protesters assaulted officers and kicked a police dog, while several Bundy family alleged that they were shocked with a Taser weapon and thrown to the ground.
On April 12th, armed protesters blocked a local interstate causing traffic backups. In addition, an hour-long standoff occurred in the area where the cattle were being corralled. The situation was defused after the BLM ended the cattle gathering citing safety concerns for the public. The standoff has since been referred to as the “Battle of Bunkerville.”
Comments on Slavery
On April 23rd, 2014, the New York Times published an interview with Bundy in which he made several statements regarding African Americans and their history in the United States, speculating that they were “better off as slaves”:
“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
On the following day, Redditor antisoshal submitted an article about the comments to /r/politics, where it received more than 1,200 upvotes and 960 comments. In the United States, “Cliven Bundy” became the top trending search term on Google for April 24th, 2014.
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