The sage grouse endangered species listing was to be discussed at the Dove Creek town hall on Jan. 31.
It was a town hall meeting like so many that take place throughout the nation, and which have taken place throughout the nation's history from early colonial times. So important and entrenched is the idea of neighbors meeting to discuss and argue out decisions that our country's founding fathers enshrined the right in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment reads, in part, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
A cold shadow of threat to our heritage of liberty was cast when two Homeland Security personnel showed up in, as the Dove Creek Press reported, full body armor and rifles. Rifles in a room full of people are not very practical, unless meant to intimidate.
The decisive action by Sheriff Jerry Martin in escorting the unexpected and uninvited Homeland Security people out of the room helped keep the indignation they aroused from overheating.
This is not about just the sage grouse, as Boggy-Glade was not just about keeping roads open. It is all about government intimidation. In the Boggy Draw dispute, Sheriff Dennis Spruell stepped into the breach left by other county officials to protect his constituents, keeping a potentially explosive situation from igniting when inserting himself between the two factions.
The states are empowered generally, by the Tenth Amendment, with "police power." The states through their local representatives, and not the "king's" agents, are the proper authority for keeping order and peace.
A Russian saying goes, "Do not think. If you must think, then do not speak. If you must think, and speak, then do not write. If you must think, and speak, and write, then do not be surprised."
Are armed federal agents intruding on our communities a portent? Are those who disagree with federal government actions to be viewed as terrorists should they speak out? I wouldn't be surprised.