The power of white privilege is at work yet again with the news that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is now a free man after a judge dismissed federal charges against him.
To refresh your memory, Bundy, two of his sons, and a fellow rancher faced charges stemming from an armed standoff with federal law enforcement officers over a cattle grazing rights dispute back in 2014. His son, Ammon Bundy, also led the infamous Oregon Standoff in 2016.
United States District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the case “with prejudice,” which means the men cannot face retrial. The verdict comes after a number of evidence violations, including prosecutors’ repeated withholding of evidence from defense lawyers.
Bundy — who considers himself a “political prisoner,” according to The Washington Post — has inadvertently become the latest symbol of white privilege as he disobeyed and threatened the lives of federal officers and not only survived the standoff, but now gets to resume normal life as a vindicated, free man like nothing ever happened.
Needless to say, this is a pitiful outcome.
Bundy’s actions reflected a textbook example of domestic terrorism, and yet, he’s suffering virtually no consequences.
Conservative white man Cliven Bundy evaded taxes, used public land illegally, took up organized arms against the federal government, and he's alive to have his case thrown out of court. Someone should tell James Damore about this guy.— Baratunde (@baratunde) January 8, 2018
Never underestimate MAGA’s loyalty and need to defend fat old racist white men who don’t want to pay their rent. Cliven Bundy.— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) January 8, 2018
White supremacist Cliven Bundy stole federal land and then took up arms against law enforcement and threatened to kill cops, and now he’s about to walk free. Those perks from systematic white supremacy are awesome— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) January 8, 2018
Cliven Bundy evaded taxes, illegally occupied public land, and took up organized arms against the federal government, but at least he didn't kneel at a football game.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) January 8, 2018
Granted, prosecutorial misconduct is inexcusable and ultimately cost the prosecution its case, but the fact that Bundy made it to stand trial in the first place is a luxury not often afforded to minorities accused of crimes.
In fact, it has become customary for suspects of color to be killed, on the spot, for far less serious offenses.
Had a few black farmers occupied federal land pointing guns at federal authorities, they’d all be dead long before a trial. #UnequalJustice #WhiteMilitants Meanwhile, Cliven Bundy becomes another example of white-privilege in law & order— Karen P. Esham (@momakeen) January 8, 2018
Steal federal land, then take up arms against federal law enforcement & proceed to lead an armed standoff against authorities where you threaten to kill cops & STILL walk away free? If Cliven Bundy was a black man he wouldn’t have even made it to trial. Watch whiteness work. https://t.co/usJhbyV9pd— Simar (@sahluwal) January 8, 2018
If Cliven Bundy and sons were black, they'd be long dead.— NoNoNazis (@CeeLeeMusic) January 8, 2018
But it if you're a RW white man, you can seize land with an arsenal of weapons aimed at law enforcement, and get away with it.
Cuz very fine people.
Lets be frank. If Cliven Bundy was black, latino or poor he'd already be worm food. He wouldnt have made it out alive in the first confrontation with cops. Hes a millionaire thief stealing from taxpayers. A parasitic rancher who feels entitled to free stuff.— Keith M. (@ksecus) January 9, 2018
In addition to serving as evidence of racial disparity in America, Bundy's release could also be a catalyst to more of these incidents as right-wing extremists may feel emboldened to standoff against authorities to avoid facing legal consequences for committing real crimes.
This is, of course, a significant blow--& one largely of gov't's own making, which is even worse. Could embolden extremists.— Mark Pitcavage (@egavactip) January 8, 2018
"Nevada judge dismisses case against Cliven Bundy & sons, says gov't cannot retry them"https://t.co/0vcKcTwHLS #oregonstandoff #bundytrial #bundyranch
While being white may not make you above the law, it definitely can tilt it in one's favor.