By William Grigg – Pro Libertate –
Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the gate –
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better, than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods?
Grant Gerber, who died on October 24 in Elko, Nevada while surrounded by his family, was a casualty of war. The 72-year-old, who served as a military intelligence specialist with the Army Special Forces in Vietnam, did not succumb to an ancient injury suffered in combat with the Viet Cong. His wounds were inflicted in early October during a peaceful counter-offensive against an immeasurably more powerful collectivist enemy – the U.S. federal government.
In the fashion of many combat veterans, Gerber died as the result of a battlefield accident. He was an organizer of the “Grass March Cowboy Express,” a 2,800-mile horseback expedition intended to draw attention to the plight of western landowners, and to petition the government for relief. His fatal injuries occurred in Kansas when the horse he was riding stumbled in a prairie dog’s den and rolled on top of him.
Although Gerber’s death was not the result of a specific act of violence, it was nonetheless sustained in combat with an implacable enemy that – unlike the Viet Cong – is actually imposing communism on the home he held dear. Communism, as Marx’s Manifesto helpfully explained, is “the abolition of private property,” an objective toward which federal bureaucracies have made considerable progress.
In defiance of the U.S. Constitution and in harmony with the Communist Manifesto, the federal government is, by a considerable margin, the largest landowner in the United States. In each of the western states, Leviathan owns the majority of the available acreage. The Feds have possession of nearly ninety percent of the land in Nevada, which was obtained through an aggressive war with Mexico and steady expropriation of the Western Shoshone Indians. That pilfered property is administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which are systematically strangling what remains of the ranching industry. Similar policies have devastated the mining and logging industries, in Nevada and throughout the region.
Gerber, a personal injury attorney who was elected to the Elko County Commission in 2012, clung tenaciously to the earnest but mistaken belief that the U.S. Constitution protects private property and restrains government power. He spent decades of his life fighting to restore the constitutional balance between the states and Washington. His model was colonial organizer and agitator Samuel Adams, who, like Gerber had been employed by the tax-extracting sector before repenting and lending his talents to the cause of individual liberty.
Prior to 1976, the federal Leviathan recognized – albeit grudgingly – the authority of county governments to manage “federal” lands. The successor to King George’s distant, tyrannical government decided to celebrate America’s Bicentennial by enacting the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (PLPMA), which ended the pretense of actual federalism by announcing perpetual ownership of those lands by Washington. That same measure turned the BLM into a fully realized police force – a fact memorably displayed earlier this year in the agency’s paramilitary assault on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his family, and their supporters.
Rather than submitting with expected docility to Washington’s land grab, western property owners – and, to their credit, many elected county officials – organized a revolt that came to be known as the “Sagebrush Rebellion.” Grant Gerber was among the first to enlist, and he quickly distinguished himself among his fellow rebels.