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The Bundy family and followers are on trial again

Win or lose in court, theirs is a lost cause

Most people in the West understand that when we behold the horizon, when we walk toward it, what we see and the land we walk on often belongs to all of us. A majority of Westerners want to keep public land public, and so do most Easterners, Southerners and Midwesterners. But that fact hasn’t prevented a decades-long howling war against federal lands in the West, and it doesn’t reap the kind of headlines commanded by the long guns, big hats and cockamamie ideas of those who think the land is theirs, not ours.

I sometimes worry that the bad manners, and bad ideas, of people like Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan and their followers are getting normalized, or at least romanticized. These self-styled patriots counter-factually believe that land acquired by the United States well before most Western states existed must nonetheless be controlled by those states, or better yet, by themselves. (Native Americans, the original inhabitants, don’t figure in these fantasies.)

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