Former BLM official: Bundy must be arrested

A federal marshal and local law enforcement should arrest Cliven Bundy and incarcerate him until his cows are removed from public land, a longtime BLM veteran said Wednesday.

"There is only one way to resolve this situation given the current state of affairs," said Mike Ford, who spent a quarter-century in the Bureau of Land Management in five states, including as a deputy director in Nevada. "A judge must issue a warrant for Bundy's arrest for failure to comply with two court orders.  A federal marshal and the sheriff (not BLM) should arrest and lock up Bundy, where he should remain there until his family (not the BLM) remove all of the cows from public land. That in and of itself will be tricky but it is the only option."

Ford hearkened back 10 years when an Arizona rancher was jailed for not removing his cattle. In that case, the rancher, Wally Klump, threatened "Second Amendment action."  He was eventually released after agreeing to corral his cattle.

Ford said arresting Bundy would defuse the situation, which remains an unresolved tinderbox. 

"Under this scenario you don't have federal agents and others in a confrontation on the ground, such as that which occurred last week, and the family gets to make the decision to remove the cows and comply with a federal court order or visit Dad in jail," Ford told me. "It eliminates the drama and all of the unrelated nonsense and accusations that have been thrown around.  It also sends a clear message that we are a nation of laws and if you defy court orders you are going to jail.  I can't see any other way out and, if I was making the decisions at BLM, in light of the extraordinary events of the last week I could never in good conscience send someone from the agency back down to deal with the situation for fear something bad might occur.  We are no longer dealing with any type of rational behavior and the line has been crossed. Getting someone hurt or killed is not an option."