The Bundy Family is in the news again, though in fairness it was due to a teacher tipping off the media as opposed to the family making a big deal about it. Ryan Bundy, son of rancher Cliven Bundy, has withdrawn his 5 children from various Clark County public schools over the “Communistic mentality” exhibited by district officials. In particular their forbiding his 15-year old daughter from carrying a pocket knife at school. He also disagreed with school officials searching his daughter’s locker, which I believe is pretty settled law when it comes to searches on school property.
From the Las Vegas Sun:
Ryan Bundy said he made the decision following a disagreement this week with administrators at Virgin Valley High School, where his daughter was set to attend. School officials refused to let the girl carry a pocket knife on school grounds, citing safety concerns. Bundy said he feels that’s a violation of his children’s rights, and has decided to pursue education for them elsewhere.
“When we make a rule that affects the whole based on the actions of the few, that’s communism,” he said.
Bundy said he understood the safety concerns and agreed that a pocket knife wasn’t necessary for day to day school activities, but added “there is no crime in having something.”
When he was a student at Virgin Valley, Bundy said, he brought pocket knives and guns to school without an issue. He said he and his friends kept guns in their lockers and helped a teacher restore an antique rifle in shop class. He used his pocket knife when he wanted to clean his fingernails or scrape something away. He doesn’t understand why his daughter can’t do the same, and feels that students are being treated as potential criminals rather than responsible and intelligent people.
I am quite conflicted when it comes to the Bundys. While I support the reasonableness of children being allowed to possess an EDC style knife on school property, I think that Ryan’s definition of Communism as a political ideology is little thin in this instance. Especially over the locker search which as I mentioned has been fairly well adjudicated in prior cases. That being said, when someone has the means to remove their children from a Government School and instead home-school or send them to a private or parochial school it is most often an overwhelming improvement.
When it comes to the Bundy Ranch standoff, I am extremely sympathetic to many issues that it raised. For starters, I think that the Federal Government has no business owning 80% of western land. It is an invitation for abuse of power. The solar plant was not to be built on the disputed land, but instead that land was designated to “mitigate the environmental impact” of the plant which would be built elsewhere. Given the involvement of Harry Reid and his sons, it certainly reeks of crony capitalism.
However, the basic truth is this: Not only was Bundy extremely delinquent in his lease, he had actually on multiple occasions had his day in court. If I am going going to make a stand, I want to be sure that the cause I am supporting is righteous.
Smoky Mountain Gillies, my fishing guide service, holds a “Commercial Use Authorization” from the very same Department of the Interior involved in the Bundy case. This allows me to operate my business within the confines of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As a general rule, I am opposed to needing Government “permission to work” and am actively opposed to the State of TN imposing a licensing system for guides. But of all of the various taxes, fees, extortions, and kickbacks that I am subject to as a small business owner, the CUA requirement is among the least objectionable that I face. The impact my business has on the roads, services, and facilities within the GSMNP is doubtless higher than your average Park visitor. Most importantly, I feel that I am actually getting value for the money I spend on the permit. That isn’t always the case.
We have discussed ad infinitum the ridiculousness of knife prohibition in schools. I carried a Spyderco Endura throughout most of High School in the early 90’s. Granted I was at a all boys prep school where I worked in on-campus trout hatchery and maple syrup operation, so it was not your typical situation. But unfortunately, most people do not EDC these days, knives are not on their radar screen. Thus they do not care to hold the hoplophobes accountable.