“But do not be angry, my lord, that I make merry in this way; very often I have heard a truth told in jest.”
—Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, 1390
AUSTIN, Nev. — In late April in an old Methodist Church, ranchers and public officials huddled to discuss what could be done to counter the ever tightening restrictions on grazing on federal public lands.
“I just want to have a little bit of fun real quick, as I sit here in this building and look at everybody,” Dave Stix Jr., chairman of the state Department of Agriculture, commented. “I just want everybody to know that the seeds of revolution began in a small church. (Laughter.) Now, take this statement lightly, because we hope that the future is a little bit more controlled and we can go about this a little bit differently. As we go through the day and talk, I just want everybody to know there’s a time growing near that all us need to strike while the iron is hot.
“And I will tell you from listening to the people who have spoken around this room, it was said, not in a little church, but it was said in a small building in Pennsylvania that, if we don’t hang together, most assuredly we’ll all hang separately.”
Stix’s remark about revolution struck a chord, because the attempt by the Bureau of Land Management to round up Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from federal public land in the Gold Butte area had just been called off, reportedly to avoid violence between 200 heavily armed BLM agents and armed citizens who had come to protest the confiscation. The meeting in Austin also occurred mere days after the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 — the shot heard round the world.
Stix mentioned the Bundy confrontation.