The Bundys walked free in January 2018, but the story is far from over. The family has drawn large crowds on a multi-state speaking tour. Ryan Bundy is running for governor of Nevada. The national debate over public lands has tilted decidedly to the right. And in other forgotten corners of the West, momentum is building for another armed standoff.
United States


00:00:01what do we do that that is the question that we bring before this office today at some point this is all going to have to be resolved with this opportunities come here and stand at this point you know almost everything about the bunnies that I know about their
00:00:25followers the trials their long family history of clashing with the government and so you're probably thinking the same thing I am what the hell's going to happen next at the Bundy trials there is a sense I got that the family was done for they'd hang up their cowboy
00:00:43hats and go to jail game over but then Cliven Ryan and am and walked making it seem like their ideas had merit and so from far away it's probably really easy to think the bunnies are fluke but I'm sorry if you beat the government twice in their own
00:01:01courts something's up I think the Bundys were a bell weather at the anger and resentment building in America toward the government nearly two weeks after a jury acquitted Cliven sons in Oregon Donald Trump was elected president on the anti government platform I remember thinking it was like the
00:01:25storm had been gathering and everyone just ignored it thinking these rural people were just a fringe piece of the tea party they faded from the spotlight when those people are self righteous group like the Bundy they don't just ride off into the sunset never to be heard from
00:01:41again if someone reads in Oregon public broadcasting this is bunny fell and we essentially go to Nevada and you start seeing this phrase everywhere battle born it's the states unofficial motto there's a battle born gastro pub battle born personal injury lawyers battle worn ammunition and firearms LLC trademark
00:02:13USA and now there's a battle born candidate for governor Ryan Bundy because instead of fighting against the government the bunnies next tactic is to become the government starting with the state of Nevada which is kind of problematic because if you remember Brian buddy subscribes to sovereign citizen ideology
00:02:37which means he considers himself to be his own nation so like I said even work can a country be governor when Ryan announced he was running he started tweeting with the hashtag battle born Bundy you might remember in that Magnus from a couple of episodes back she said
00:02:59the progressive political group battle born progress which is actually on the opposite side of the political spectrum the candidate Bundy so I asked her what's up with battle born we have I've noticed this battle boring things up with you guys and we we noticed it with Brian but
00:03:16he's yelling at battle born Bundy yeah it's precious so what is the that award is actually on our state flag is one of our state mottos and it's because we were created as a state during the civil war as she tells us how one Nevada became a state
00:03:32part of the deal was allowing the federal government to control the majority of the land there it's actually written into the state constitution and so it's funny that he's using that piece of our heritage which is on our flag which was the creation of our state %HESITATION because
00:03:47that's actually how we became a state was giving over that land to the federal government so he clearly does understand our history as a state but the origin of the phrase probably doesn't matter battle born frames Ryan as someone willing to fight back I think that militia mentality
00:04:02is why we are where we are in this country today with Donald Trump and so I do feel like there's something to be said for him running for governor and I don't I don't think any of us should take them for granted when we went to bunny ranch
00:04:21we asked ran about his campaign let's start with the plan to announce the the announcer for governor %HESITATION what made you decide to do that well I had been considering it for a little while he told us about the guys who were there at the ranch in twenty
00:04:37fourteen who unlike any of the bodies were found guilty and could be imprisoned for years he says they're not being given a speedy trial these men are not guilty of crimes and yet they're still being held it's not were expected him to go with a conversation I thought
00:04:54he tells about his views on the issues but instead he tells us about how he wants to free the guys who ended up in jail and there's a lot of guys producer Ryan has jumps in with a question Semenya said you know that it took a lot of
00:05:09reflection to make this decision what was that moment like when you kind of realize this is the thing that you had to do well you know when the spirit speaks look that often comes in the still small voice where no it's more of a feeling more of a
00:05:26thought and you just realize what you have to do in other words he's saying that god told him to run for governor but I feel I have to you know why I considered %HESITATION you know others who are running and I cannot see anyone who I can trust
00:05:47with protecting my rights nor the right to these others but apparently god didn't tell him how to govern so easy we are talking one of the first Hundred Days in office would look like for you now I mean I know the funeral just thinking about it keeps your
00:06:09a member of the sting from answered that yet %HESITATION so so but high priority safety needs talked about some of the things that are you that you're talking about that's Denise morass rains campaign manager tell us a little bit about what those key issues are willing it's not
00:06:27it's not just the speedy trial but it's it's all in all the rights %HESITATION within the bill of rights and others of course %HESITATION you know what we could go through each one of them like we just did with the speedy trial there but they're all being violated
00:06:44you know rain is Clive and oldest son he helps his dad run the ranch and now he's the one pushing things forward politically but it's like he's counting on a celebrity in this idea that he's the most Nevada von the Vatican's to get elected but they're not putting
00:07:02all their cows in one pastor if Ryan is playing the politician his brother Ammon is playing the preacher but not the fiery charismatic type %HESITATION I do I know the I spoke a few times a number of any sense of it now but in mid April Inman spoke
00:07:23at the range right symposium in California where he railed against environmentalism what makes environmentalism so deceptive and so dangerous is the fact that is becoming the religion of choice for the global environmental crowd and it is especially dangerous because it is not being presented as a religion to
00:07:45the contrary it is being presented as science he's reading directly from an article in the John birch society's magazine that describes environmentalism as religion and was the most visible person during about your occupation the guy who talks to the media Dodge saying anything concrete but now he's expanding
00:08:05on the bunny belief system any stepping up his rhetoric this isn't about land house ranching this is about fighting a war one more anyone who doesn't subscribe to the Bundy way is the enemy workplace they're becoming less and less ashamed or lease of more open with it and
00:08:25that is that there is no law and he did not create this earth that humans are just another species they are the enemy you environmentalists are the enemies of humans he says which means the bodies are saving humanity it's one more way they're wrapping an extremist ideology in
00:08:49here a minute and then saving the day by intimidating to people who don't agree with them outside the Nevada courthouse right after the mistrial Gearon suckling stood with a sign that read I heart public lands Ron is the director for the center for biological diversity nonprofit the pushes
00:09:23for the protection of at risk species like the desert tortoise I personally have had funding lesser threatened to kill me I've had them physically assault up at in fact a lot of that speech Ammen gave in California was focused on targeting suckling directly villain icing him there's no
00:09:44question that there are mild true and the money supporters from Vacaville came here the last Vegas and assassinated two police officers these are are dangerous people have been killed and it's interesting that the Bundys and their supporters are freeing our enemies as religious extremists meaning environmentalists as the
00:10:07worshipers of a false god this is the same recruiting tactic used by fundamentalist religious groups including the Islamic state that may seem like a radical thing to say you can see why the government would label them domestic terrorists to get people to take up arms the paint their
00:10:27enemies enemies of the one true god they were treated disenfranchised and give them a target for their anger in fact sources confirm to me that after the twenty fourteen stand off the FBI told the be all and that they had never seen so many domestic terrorist groups converge
00:10:47in one place ever in the Bundys messages reaching people who might not otherwise take matters into their own hands the west is rich with potential conflicts over public land the bunnies have created a new option for taking on the government just push a button and the militia shows
00:11:05up more on that after this break reach more customers and you build a website on wordpress dot com no coding or design experience needed wordpress you get twenty four seven customer support and plans to start at just four dollars a month get started at wordpress dot com slash
00:11:25long rates get fifteen percent off any new plan purchase the to wordpress dot com slash long rates my name is a big deal for index and the pastor of village dated August Sonya which is the phone back to him again on our last day in Nevada producer Ryan
00:11:48house and I drove to the border of Nevada and California to talk to pastor Victor Fuentes and his wife and that they were in a church in Las Vegas and use church donations to buy a forty acre campus in Amargosa valley in two thousand six and Victor's Cuban
00:12:06his came from the country in the early twenties the campus the slice of dusty land not far from Death Valley it's surrounded on all sides by the ash meadows National Wildlife Refuge which is managed by the US fish and Wildlife Service it almost never rains here get maybe
00:12:25four inches all year but this forty acres when they bought it was alive with green grass and trees aware however that this are you going to find a place water running through the night here best goal now stream ran behind a row of small cabins ducks swam in
00:12:44a little pond they call this place patch of heaven and now that's what we saw and and we had a great vision you know book %HESITATION young kids coming over here and be reborn you know and refresh I'm was this an extension of the ministry that you guys
00:13:01already had going and yank a certain okay give me that we have will we have the church in Vegas that's in that Viktor's wife we wanted to do a ministry where we can help people you know on there were drug addicts alcoholics given the place outside of Vegas
00:13:18where they could comment be restored refresh so while this was part of our extended ministry in a pool in the center of the property Victor would baptize the newly converted but patch of heaven has an interesting backstory and that tells us that the previous owner a guy named
00:13:36Ron bought it from a man you might actually remember this is very interesting before Ron had this property that it belonged to commissioner Dick carver I've ever heard of him yeah sagebrush rebellion he's the guy that took the bulldozer and open the road up here on this okay
00:13:53indeed carver had one condition so he told Ron that he would sell it to him as long as you promise never to sell it to fish and wildlife internet rented out the camp for a few years to church groups and people looking to get closer to nature and
00:14:08then in twenty ten the refuge without warning came in and diverted all the streams that went through a patch of haven't they were trying to save a few tiny species of fish that lived in the creek and all of a sudden there wasn't a drop of water left
00:14:25we reached out to fish and wildlife to get their side of the story but they declined to comment because the Fuentes's for years now have been suing the federal government over what they seasonal legal taking of their property and an infringement on their religious freedom because without water
00:14:43Victor couldn't baptize anyone and because they diverted the path of the water patch of heaven is now patch of desert and it gets totally flooded anytime this area gets a heavy rainstorm the fund has a say flooding caused eighty six thousand dollars in damage here yeah so this
00:15:05here is the main watched you know for the low water Victor in in that walks around the camp so we can see the damage and it's pretty unbelievable where we're looking at is a big dug out area it's probably seven eight feet deep hot rocks dead tree branches
00:15:25everywhere yeah decide that mystique that collapse in a when the whole and what they can buy the water all the tree they collapse into this over here so they're just stuck right now waiting for something to happen with our case in the meantime patch of heaven sits empty
00:15:43but a few years ago Victor than that found someone they thought might be able to help them well when all this started happening I saw I saw the story on climb in the last last cowboy standing at the it was great okay yeah so I called them I
00:15:59forgot his phone number to call them and when I asked him you know listen I this is what's going on with me can you help me have any advice for me and Clive and told me you know what you can't win when you're in their courts their judges
00:16:17their courts their roles you know I'd heard about patch of heaven not long after the Nevada trial and it people on both sides of the Bundy story people love them and people who hate them told me this place might be where the patriots go next never since the
00:16:39mistrial Victor internet have been hosting events filled with Bundy's last month Ryan buddy spoke about his run for governor and told the crowd they should think about bringing in excavators diverting the water here themselves and in talking with Victor and that it's clear they have conflicting ideas about
00:16:59what to do next when you're in you're beating your head your town I pounded on doors letters to governors senators everybody commissioners I mean in in trying to get your story out Harris in the the the media doesn't put your story out in in yeah yeah it's so
00:17:18frustrating for being your head against the wall in the near like what do you do you know yeah yes we want to put it back absolutely you know I I guess I can thank you in nineteen ninety one yeah from eight communists why can't I was twenty six
00:17:37years old and I'm fifty three now by live halfway there in half over here when I came here to America I never saw there are going to be going through this here and I'm a guy and he called me to proclaim to be free whether people are free
00:17:54whether or not respect the law you get frustrated you had to get %HESITATION and I'm to the point I know that that you know I don't know what do now I don't want to live but I know if you do something to stop it I don't look back
00:18:13and they are going to look they're going to smell like roses ask him what he means by doing something stupid stupid to get out use like a take a gun and do something stupid like everybody's outside don and I mean that chimes in she says Victor shouldn't take
00:18:28any options off the table even taking up guns against the government like the bunny said that is not real there is nothing that is the truth that is the truth you know you're going to love point no because that is that's what people in common is going to
00:18:44be big data forming out every place in order for for a for a Democrat the Korean War when we spent the law you know what I mean okay that's one thing I would be a lot easier if the I said otherwise yes but that's what I wanted to
00:18:59know yes because I would be a stupid thing I know how they work I know how they are you know you're not the only thing that they have stopped me is my faith in Christ Jesus and I wanted to say that you don't really the only thing that
00:19:15has taught me is my faith in Jesus it's interesting to me that in such similar circumstances god tells Victor to keep the peace retells the Bundys to call the militia even when we are frustrated you know dangled our mind no no no no we don't do it in
00:19:32the end the right way you know what I mean and then the right side as I where are we getting yeah we tell me back but it's still light out we don't live in the right way and we want to persist and not jump from some door I
00:19:45think you know I believe and I have enough faith that I think is on the would be open patch of heaven feels like it could be the next big standoff Victor's holding back button that is ready to fight and even though they're in this horrible situation the front
00:20:01as family feels like they're injustice is nothing compared to what the Bundys went through with Clive meaning Caroline all of them was wrong was done to yeah was truly wrong and they were facing life in prison Bundy stood for their rights yes they were locked up for two
00:20:22years my god issue that wage people in two years of their life gone what yeah because you have a government that wants to control everything not since the bunnies were tortured abused the voice and come was murdered and I know what we've gone through we haven't gone through
00:20:49a tenth of what those people went through and it's wrong and it needs to be made right the government created the situation but it's being saved from becoming another bunker fell by the steadfast faith of one man Victor front as but he's in an impossible situation and he's
00:21:11just a man got to wonder what happens Victor's grace runs out yes so we don't want to allow the name of our lord Jesus Christ to eat on the floor you know we don't do we go to we've got to take the punishment he went to the cross
00:21:26I'm willing to you know I mean I'm willing to let me ask you one last question Cliven you talked about a range war with the federal government there's a lot of people out there now that they're taking your cattle that are fearful that this is a another Waco
00:21:48situation ruby ridges come up and and some articles %HESITATION what do you mean by range war how far are you willing to take this well you know my %HESITATION cattle is only one issue that this is an interview Clive ended with fox news host Sean Hannity around twenty
00:22:03fourteen and that where where after freedom we're after some liberties what how we were able to go to get out how far you want to take this my statement to the American people all do whatever it takes to gain our liberties and freedom back the bunnies motto is
00:22:19whatever it takes but they never really expand on what that means and then after the mistrial in Nevada so try to a new court order I really doubt that but I'm sure he's going to do whatever it takes what whatever whatever it takes is perhaps the bunnies most
00:22:47dangerous message it motivates their followers and justifies any action whatever it takes incites people to violence look what's happened because of it low voice in a come heard whatever it takes a bunny ranch ripped up his grazing contract drove to Oregon and tried to pull a gun on
00:23:09police officers at a traffic stop Jared and Amanda Miller heard whatever it takes and murdered three people bill Keebler heard whatever it takes planted what he thought was a real bomb in front of a beeline cabin all the men from now you're in bunker filled were found guilty
00:23:28are in jail some of them for years not the rest of their lives because they were willing to do anything I am one hundred percent willing to lay my life down to fight against tyranny in this country whatever it takes is a declaration of war they won't stop
00:23:49until they have an army on their side but that's the question I still have is there anything that will make the bunnies stop at what point what they consider themselves victorious more on that in a minute reach more customers when you build a website and wordpress dot com
00:24:11dot com offers code free building so you don't need a professional designer to get a professional looking website get twenty four seven help from the customer support team that never sleeps and he commerce options that range from an effective by button to complete online store plans start at
00:24:28just four dollars a month and include a custom domain nearly thirty percent of all websites run on wordpress start yours today at wordpress dot com slash long rates get fifteen percent off any new plan purchase that's wordpress dot com slash long rates like you know they basically now
00:24:47they're managing for the endangered species in my case it was a desert tortoise and the other words a tortoise become more important than man definitely more important than cattle there was one other thing that happened in the living room at Bundy ranch that I didn't tell you about
00:25:05before but I can't stop thinking about it we finish the interview and we're on our way out the door when rains campaign manager leaks stopped us she asked Ryan and Clive in to sing us a song was kind of an awkward moment when she wanted them to perform
00:25:22for us like in %HESITATION Cliven said no but rain agreed although or can he sat up in his seat and started singing the Nevada state song staring right at me home means move a home means to you home means a save them on an island in the Rockies
00:25:42who's very rules up where the sun always shines there is a land that I love the best fair then all I can see Ryan in the hearts of the goa'uld and where home means number two in the I can't remember ever hearing about a candidate for governor singing
00:26:05to a journalist in an interview but as I've kept turning this over in my head again and again I think this is Ryan's way of planting a flag saying that he deserved to be running deserve to be back in the limelight simply because his connection with the land
00:26:22is so strong so important this land he sang he loves it the best better than you better than me the bunnies like to say ranches like theirs are feeding America but Lisa car children that I would professor who's written about the sagebrush rebellion says that's just not true
00:26:44well there was never a large population of ranchers to begin with not once not ever actually not in Nevada I mean for all the fuss they're making over public lands ranching it's just not that big of a deal this is so hard to say but the truth is
00:27:01that at the national economic level and particularly at the global level if public lands ranching went away tomorrow it would make no impact on the national or global economy but locally it would have devastating effects I can't help but hear this and feel like part of what's motivating
00:27:23the Bundys is that they feel like there is this life out west that they just barely missed out on a life from the just settled friends here ripe with possibilities where the rules are yet to be made you can control a piece of land just by staking a
00:27:39claim the Bundys want to convince us that their patriotic cowboy image is essential to the survival of America but after all this time I think that idea is a big Mister action this fight is not about cattle it's not even about land rights for freedom at least the
00:28:00way most people think about it it's about the lengths people will go to to create a reality they can control the bunnies will literally do anything anything to turn America back into some version of Bundy film their motivations are complicated religion part trauma revenge but I can't help
00:28:23but feel like another ingredient plain old greed they see themselves as saviors of the constitution but they're mostly trying to save themselves this new thing they're trying to build would be for their own benefit they would reap the rewards at the expense of not just desert wildlife but
00:28:41all the people who are serving prison time on their behalf that's not just selfish our knowing and the fact that their motto is whatever it takes that's dangerous sitting in the living room with rain and Clive and I couldn't help but wonder about reporters back in the nineteen
00:29:00nineties interview David Koresh the leader of the branch Davidians in Waco I talked to Timothy McVeigh the watch that standoff on full do they know what those men were capable of did they take them seriously there are whole sections of this country were government skepticism is a deeply
00:29:21woven cultural value but this goes deeper the bunnies are trying to promote something more threatening than that not just an idea about the constitution but an entire way of thinking about the world but they need a place to do it a place where the law of the land
00:29:40is whatever they say it is a place for fights can be solved with guns we're cattle ranchers still run the last the country on covered wagon so they're trying to create a new state of my frontier is no difference between truth leave that's where the money that's been
00:30:05the this episode was written by me Lisa telling Peter for great and ran past original music by Robbie carver thank you so much to Robbie and Peter for great from thirty minutes west productions for producing this podcast you like Bonnyville you should check out the outside magazine podcast
00:30:48which is there other show thank you into Griffin and Mike dang for editing this story fact checking was done by not Giles with research help from Kim Frida the series was done by held rings dad and so we Van **** thank you also to Jacob gross Katharine Q.
00:31:07sick Amelia Templeton Conrad Wilson in the Gary and everybody at automatic an OPB we could have done this without you but neither was a co production of long rates in Oregon public broadcasting if you haven't gotten enough check out my written stories at long reeds dot com and
00:31:26you can support more stories like this podcast by going to give dot OPB dartboard or by becoming a sustaining member of your local public radio station let them know we sent you this is the end of the series so he enjoyed the show please share it gives a
00:31:43rating and review wherever you get your podcasts and thank you for listening

Transcribed by algorithms. Report Errata
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Oregon Public Broadcasting, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


Thank you for helping to keep the podcast database up to date.