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"Bundyville" Season Two Surveys Domestic Terrorism in the West

The Bundy family made history in 2014 when they and their supporters stood down the BLM at their Bunkerville ranch 90 minutes northeast of Las Vegas. That tense armed encounter inspired a wave of articles, books, and other coverage.

One popular media item was the 2018 podcast "Bundyville."

Its second season came out July 15 and is now available in its entirety. It's called "the Remnant," and it explores domestic terrorism.

In this season, Cliven Bundy and his family actually don't appear at all -- though they do hover in the background. Instead, the story starts with a bombing in Panaca, Nevada, that didn't get as much coverage as such a huge event would seem to merit.

The bombing was July 13 at the home of Josh Cluff. After igniting the bombs, the bomber, Glenn Jones, shot himself. Cluff had been Jones' supervisor at work.

“The bombs were gigantic and threw shrapnel for a mile and really there was no clear answer why this bombing occurred and what he intended with that bombing,” podcast producer Leah Sottile told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Sottile and fellow producer Ryan Haas became interested in the bombings when a police report mentioned a connection to LaVoy Finicum. Finicum has become a martyr in the patriot movement. 

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“Just the fact that that name was mentioned by the bomber, sort of led me and my producer Ryan Haas down this rabbit hole of trying to figure out what the bombing was all about and all the other issues that it presented,” Sottile said.

Finnicum was shot and killed by Oregon State Police during the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. 

Cluff, who was not hurt in the bombing, is a distant cousin to Finicum. Sottile explained that Cluff had expressed excitement about the patriot movement in his social media posts.

But, so had the bomber, Glenn Jones.

Sottile explained that in his season of the show they explored the connection of the bombing to the patriot movement and how the threads of that movement are making an impact on people's lives.

“What we do this season is look at how the ideas of the patriot movement have injected themselves into the mainstream and into mainstream politics. And how normal people might be hearing radical ideas in their day-to-day life,” she said.

Another example is the case of Bill Keebler. Keebler pleaded guilty to attempting to bomb a cabin owned by the BLM. 

But Sottile explained that, when they spoke to a lot more complicated. After going to the Bundy Ranch during the 2014 standoff with federal agents, Keebler went back to his home in Utah and started his own militia group.

However, that group was mainly comprised of federal informants and undercover federal agents. In fact, Haas said, undercover agents drove around with Keebler asking him which building they should bomb. 

Sottile believes federal agents may have pushed Keebler into the bombing plot, but the FBI has refused to release information about the case. 

Haas pointed out that federal agents may have good reason to go after Keebler but that case is not laid out in a public way.

“It leaves the perception, which the patriot movement can then exploit, that the government is just out to get people maliciously,” he said.

Haas said people are using that perception to their own ends. 

To many people, the patriot movement may seem small with only a few highly radicalized people, but Sottile points out that it really only takes one person to do a lot of damage.

“The propensity for violence being held by even one person who believes in these patriot ideas and conspiracy theories is a dangerous thing,” she said.

KNPR's State of Nevada
Jun 29, 2018

What Made The Bundys The Bundys?

Guests

Leah Sottile, writer, Longreads; Ryan Haas, producer, Oregon Public Broadcasting

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