The Bundy Ranch is back in the news by virtue of this past weekend’s deadly shootings in Las Vegas, which were carried out by a married couple who were among the supporters at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during his showdown with the Bureau of Land Management. Remarkably, no one in the press has asked the White House about the standoff since it ended two months ago, and aside from some jokes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the President has never commented about it.
It’s an indication of the media’s screwed-up priorities that they took the time to ask the President about racist comments by Donald Sterling, who has his own NBA team, while ignoring near-simultaneous racist comments by a guy who had a coterie of armed supporters. Now that two of those supporters have made good on the threats that the Bundy mob made, it seems time someone asked if the BLM did the right thing by backing down in the face of criminal assaults on law enforcement officers.
At Tuesday’s White House daily briefing, I asked incoming White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest if President Obama was satisfied with the way the BLM handled the standoff.
“Now that the Nevada shooters have been implicated as having been supporters of Cliven Bundy, was the President satisfied with the way that the Bureau of Land Management handled the standoff at the Bundy Ranch? You had these armed militia guys pointing loaded weapons at law enforcement officials, and that was just, they sort of just let that go, and backed off. Is the President satisfied with the way that whole thing was handled?”
Although my question was clearly about the standoff that ended two months ago, and not about the shooting in Las Vegas this past weekend, Earnest declined to comment.
“I’m reluctant to delve into this whole situation, because I know there is an ongoing investigation in Las Vegas surrounding this tragic shooting that we saw there over the weekend,” Earnest said. “I don’t want to get ahead of that investigation that’s ongoing.”
The topic of gun violence came up elsewhere in the briefing, as Earnest told reporters that the President has been briefed on the shooting at an Oregon high school earlier today, and NBC’s Pete Alexander asked about the lack of progress on gun violence since Sandy Hook, citing 75 school shootings that have occurred since then. Earnest gave the same answer we always get these days, that the President has been doing all that he can, but without Congress and real pressure from Americans, there’s only so much that executive actions can accomplish.
It’s much worse than that, though. Not only are we doing nothing, as a society, to stop the slaughter, we are now at a point where if you have enough guns, and a convincing enough determination to use them, and are sufficiently white, you can commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on law enforcement officers without consequence. It’s not enough that we have passed precisely zero federal laws to prevent gun violence; now these people have been given the message that they don’t even have to obey the ones we have, the really obvious ones about not pointing them at cops. If we don’t care enough now, we never will.