With his mouth flapping in the wind like the mainsail on a yacht in a hurricane, Harry Reid who personifies mendacious malfeasant corruption, has accused those individuals, who dared to interrupt his scheme to steal the land that the Bundy Family have been grazing their cattle on for the last 140 years, of being domestic terrorists.
On the 1-10 Harry Reid Scale of Demagoguery, this gets … a seven. Reid’s Kochsteria and his labeling of two men as “un-American” from the floor of the Senate for engaging in the political process in opposition to his own agenda has to get the ten. Abusing the term “terrorist” during a partisan political event has to get a little lower rating, but not by much:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intensified his criticism of armed militia members supporting rancher Cliven Bundy, calling them “domestic terrorists.”
“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said Thursday at an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to the newspaper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
Reid specifically criticized Bundy supporters for bringing guns and their children to the ranch to defend him against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). BLM officials and contractors started rounding up Bundy’s cattle last week because of his refusal to pay $1 million in grazing fees, but they backed down Saturday due to safety concerns.
It’s possible to have mixed feelings about what happened at the Bundy ranch without calling the support the ranchers received “domestic terrorism.” (John Hinderaker’s analysis lands pretty close to my own reaction.) Primarily, no act of violence took place, although some of the protesters were armed. In the end, this was a non-violent action, although still dangerous for those involved. The BLM stood down in part because of that danger, but also in part because their abuse of authority embarrassed them once it got as much attention as it did.
Why knock down three pegs on the scale? Well, consider it a technicality. The legal definition at the Department of Justice, at least since 1994, has been this:
The unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
That’s why this only gets a seven. One could make the argument that the armed faction at the Bundy ranch was a show of force that coerced the BLM into retreat, and that would meet that definition … in a strictly literal sense. However, the common-sense definition of “domestic terrorism” involves an actual use of violence, and usually against civilian targets (although no one would doubt that the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was an act of domestic terrorism). In this category, one would first think of the Animal Liberation Front, the SLA, the United Freedom Front, and so on — not an ad hoc demonstration of solidarity for a rancher involved in a legal standoff with the BLM.
It would be nice if someone would point out to Ed Morrissey, who isn’t exactly renowned for his intellectual gravitas, that the 1994 definition of terrorism that he points out, could be applied to the BLM every bit as equally.