Las Vegas, Nev. (CBS LAS VEGAS) — Although federal agents left the Nevada ranch standoff over Cliven Bundy’s land this past weekend, former Rep. Ron Paul is one of several officials predicting that the situation is likely far from over, warning that government agents ultimately returned to end the 1993 Waco standoff with deadly force.
Speaking on to Fox News Monday, leading libertarian advocate of minimal government, Paul said that he is glad the Bureau of Land Management stood down from the cattle showdown with rancher Cliven Bundy – but continued land battles are on the horizon.
“I’m hoping this is a very positive of things to come, where the people stand up and object to the federal government’s intrusion into our lives and everything that we do,” Paul told Fox News. “And when the people do get together and stand up, if think the governments will be forced to back down. But the other thing is governments don’t give up their power easily and they may well come back with a lot more force, like they did at Waco with the Davidians.”
The Waco siege of 1993 occurred when the Branch Davidian religious group was suspected of weapons violations and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) made a failed attempt to raid the group’s compound, resulting in the deaths of four agents and six Branch Davidians.
The ensuing siege of the compound occurred after a 51-day standoff when FBI agents launched a tear gas attack that ultimately ignited a fire that engulfed the Mount Carmel Center and killed 76 men, women and children, including Davidian leader David Koresh.
But Paul predicts that financial situation for many Americans will continue to decline, and that property battles between private citizens and public ownership will be the continued cause of problems – especially in the western U.S.
“In this case, it’s who should own the land. In Texas, we went into the Union and were privately owned and all the resources were privately developed and this wouldn’t happen because there’s no ‘public ownership,’” Paul told Fox News. “And yet, when they own most of these states in the West, everybody owns it, and nobody owns it. You’re bound to have problems prop up. But they have dual ownership of that land because they had been using it.”
Paul reiterated his small government approach that has won him a wide swath of libertarian and conservative supporters throughout his career.
“I think land should be in the states and the states should sell it to the people. It’s worked out quite well in big states as well as all our Eastern states,” said Paul. “But this whole idea is going to lead to more trouble: the politicians get involved, the management people get involved, the special interest, the environmentalists, the gold-mining people, the oil people and the ranchers.”
“No you need the government out of it, and I think that’s the important point. If you don’t look at that you can expect more of these problems, especially when our economy gets into more trouble, and then there’s going to be these arguments.”
“The enemy is really some bad ideas and bad politics that we have to change.”
Paul said that although the battles between government officials and private citizens will not let up, he was supportive of the government’s non-violent stand-down this weekend.
“So I don’t know which way it’s going, but so far so good. I was delighted that they got through those couple days and there wasn’t any shooting or killing. I really encourage the demonstration against unfairness by our government, but I’d like to see it all nonviolent and that weekend so far turned out to be a good step.”