I keep running, but the dogs are gaining. I’ve been running for two days now and I’m hungry, tired and exhausted. I hear the hounds behind me but I must find the strength to stay ahead, always ahead. If they catch me, I might as well be dead.
It all started one Sunday when I was working one of my fields with a tractor, preparing the field for the next round of hay for the season. The exhaust pipe of the tractor was belching black smoke, as it usually did. The old diesel engine kept on chugging in a low staccato, as it always did, old reliable as it was.
I looked up and saw three official-looking black SUV’s in the distance down in the draw, coming up the gravel road that led into my isolated ranch. I knew by their speed and the dust streaming behind the trucks, that something was a foot. What I didn’t know at the time, was that I, working my land with my tractor, was that “something“.
For you see the county council got together in one of its weekly meetings and decided that in order to curb CO2 emissions from all vehicles, due to the alleged threat of global warming, they passed an ordinance declaring that Sunday was to be a day in which all citizens of the county were prohibited from running their trucks and their tractors and that only cars could be used for the sole purpose of going to and from church. No other form of vehicle transportation was allowed on that day. To violate this new law was a criminal act. If you were caught you were guilty. No due process, no trial, and no facing your accusers. You were just guilty. It didn’t matter that the law as unconstitutional.
The county council had directed that the new ordinance be posted on their website and that a small public notice be published in the local newspaper. I don’t own a computer, I don’t read the local newspaper and I had no idea that the new law even existed. I doubt that many rural landowners in the county knew as well. Nor did I know that the penalty for violating the law was criminal and included a huge fine and six months in jail. But one of my neighbors did, as you shall soon see.
Down by my ranch house the SUVs roared in and screeched to a stop in a cloud of dust. I could see from my tractor that four hound dogs on leashes were being let out of one of the trucks. The handler looked up in my direction. Five sheriffs in uniform, the dog handler and the four dogs opened the gate and started walking across the field towards me. I had no idea what they were doing here, but I thought I would stay on my tractor, still running and wait for them to tell me.
When they finally reached where I had stopped, one of the sheriffs that was out in front, with his hand waving circles in the air, motioned for me to shut down the tractor. I ignored him. He then handed me a piece of paper. I opened it up and on the paper was a description of my violation and the penalties for it. It seems one of my neighbors had seen the smoke from my tractor and called the sheriff. The call was anonymous of course. I looked at the sheriff, who had his hand on his gun, and said, “I was not aware of any such law”. The sheriff said that ignorance of the law was no excuse and that I should get down off the tractor and accompany him to the sheriff’s office. I had but a spilt second to make a decision, go with them or run. Six months in jail and a heavy fine would break me. I would lose my ranch. In an instant, I chose to run.
I slammed the tractor into high gear, the front wheels jerked off the ground and I took off towards the far fence. On the other side of the fence were deep woods that wound into the mountains behind my ranch. I heard the multiple “cracks” of a pistol and a few bullets ricocheted off the tractor. The dogs started barking furiously. But since the officers were on foot, I knew that if I could beat them to the fence, I would have time to disappear into the woods. I knew every inch of that forest and that would give me an edge, an edge I needed badly. I didn’t even stop the tractor as it neared the fence. I jumped off while it was still running, jumped the fence and ran in the direction of the mountain pass. I was sure I could lose them there.
I’ve been running for two days now and I’m cold, hungry, tired, scratched and bleeding. I can always hear the dogs in the distance, but so far I have stayed ahead of them. I know that if I don’t make it to the pass, they will have me. Just on the other side of the pass was a mine entrance and I knew that if I could reach the mine, one of the shafts would lead me to a place way down the other side of the mountain from which they could never find me. I breathed a sigh of relief as I crossed over the pass and saw the mine entrance up ahead. Finally, I would be free of the dogs. I entered the mine, hurried towards the shaft in the darkness, feeling my way and stumbled down its full length until I reached the lower entrance. I walked out into the sun, a free man, at least for now.
As I wandered along the path, I wondered how it is that a peace-loving, law-abiding rancher like myself could be in this situation, running from the law? How had our government become so out of control that they would pass laws that made no sense? What was it that we did or didn’t do that made government think that they could treat Americans in this manner? Did we not have a Constitution that granted us certain unalienable rights? Were not those rights a gift from our creator? Did not those rights shield us from government abuse and tyranny? How could government ignore the supreme law of the land with such reckless abandon? How is it that we have reached the point where neighbor would rat on neighbor? I thought of Nazi Germany. As I pondered these thoughts, I ran down the path to the river that would lead me out of the county. I vowed to find out what happened to our government and get others to help me right a situation that had gone terribly wrong. I vowed to regain my freedom and the freedom of all Americans, no matter what it took, or where the path would lead.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: If you don’t think that this kind of thing can happen, you are living in a dream world? Ask the Sackets of Idaho that got hit with a $35,000 per day fine by the EPA for trying to build a new home on their single-family lot in a subdivision of built-out homes. They had to go to the U. S. Supreme Court to get justice, but all they really got was the right to sue the EPA.
Ask the Wyoming rancher that had all the permits he needed to construct three water ponds on this own land. The EPA charged the rancher with over $16,000,000 in accumulating fines. The rancher finally won but at a terrible cost?
Ask the wheat farmer in California who has been fined $2,800,000 on a “filling-in-a-wetland” charge by the Army Corps of Engineers for daring to plow his own field, in full compliance with the law. His trial comes up this month.
Ask the hundreds of farmers in the rich California San Joaquin Valley that have been denied irrigation water because of a little two-inch fish, putting 40,000 farm workers out of work.
Ask the people that live along the Klamath River in Oregon and California. They are going to lose four dams that have provided irrigation, flood control and electricity for a hundred years because the environmentalists and the Indians again, want to protect a two-inch fish and allow salmon to run up the river free from any obstructions. How nice! Thank you judge Boldt.
Ask the ranchers living along the Red River in Northern Texas where the BLM came along and tried to confiscate their land because the river moved.
Ask the lady that owned land along the Grays River that flowed into the Columbia River when two Non-Governmental Agencies (NGO’s) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife, armed with millions of taxpayer dollars for habitat restoration, came along and took out the tide gates that protected her land from river floods and rising tides. She eventually had to abandon her flooded house and land and lost everything.
Ask the man that was digging a ditch on his own land when along came a disgruntled neighbor and the local authorities that charged him with digging in a wetland that the authorities declared a wetland after the man had dug the ditch. The authorities literally created a crime out of a non-violation in order to send an environmental message to other landowners. His alleged “crime” cost him 150 days in jail and a $20,000 cash fine. It broke him.
Ask all the rural landowners of Washington State who now won’t be able to drill a well on their land due to a State Supreme Court decision brought by environmentalists. Their land is now worthless.
Ask the widow of Lavoy Finicum. Finicum who was shot down without provocation by state and federal officers on a remote Oregon highway.
Every day lawmakers, at every level of government, are making laws just as insane as the one in our story. Every day, most people just ignore what goes on in the halls of local, state and federal governments. Every day that is, until one of these insane laws catches up with them and they have to choose between being caught in the enforcement of the insane law, or to run. Many stay and fight the injustice because by God they are Americans and they have the righteous right to defend themselves under our Constitution. But in the end they get run over by the law and the legal system, because government supports and defends government (and the environmentalists and the Indians), instead of government supporting and defending the unalienable rights of the people, as it should be.
You city folks may say, “what do you care if government, the environmentalists and the Indians push around a few rural landowners?” Better think again for two reasons! First, rural landowners grow and raise the food you eat. Second, just because you live in a big city will not protect you from government abuse and tyranny. It’s been happening for years. You just don’t know it yet.
But we’re not sitting on our hands. Our organization (NARLO) has reached out to rural landowners all across America for over eleven years to tell them we have their backs. We show them how to fight and provide several tools to help them with their battle against an ever-encroaching and abusive government. From powerful, constitutional “No Trespassing” signs HERE and HERE, to a “How To” rural handbook, we have the rural landowner covered. We even provide help for the beleaguered IRS taxpayer HERE.
We encourage everyone, not just rural landowners, to not become victims of government, but to fight this unconstitutional abuse. Resist! Resist! Resist! Otherwise, it will continue and get worse and government will just get stronger ….. and in case you haven’t notice it, they are.
© Copyright Sunday, August 13, 2017 – All Rights Reserved
~ The Author ~
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America“, is the President of the The National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO), a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to restoring, maintaining and defending property rights for urban and rural landowners. Mr. Ewart can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
Mr. Ewart has been a continuing contributor to the Federal Observer since May of 2007.