Picking off one family at a time....
"When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty."
- Thomas Jefferson
Federal targeting on individual families who have either stood up to defend themselves and their rights against the federal government or had assets that the government were interested in seizing for their own benefit is not a new occurrence. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, these situations are finally coming to light and manifesting themselves within national media outlets - not because they are happening more often but because supporters are standing up to government agents through legal and sometimes armed resistance. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, most can agree that very few people would have ever known or understood the tragic story of the Hammond family had the occupation of the Malheur National Refuge not taken place. Further, without the occupation, there is little doubt that Dwight and Steve Hammond would have remained in prison never receiving a full pardon from the President.
Unfortunately, this is one case of many; multiple families who have put a fight only to square up against the full might of the federal government - an entity with endless time, money, and resources. We'll highlight a individuals and families here for reference but encourage you to do your own research to see how the federal government has routinely abused its authority.
The Hage's story began decades ago when the U.S. Forest Service encroached on Mr. Wayne Hage’s property and demanded that he relinquish his land. Although Mr. Hage won initial court cases, putting up over $150,000, the U.S. Forest Service continued to harass him with the clear strategy of wearing him down and driving him into bankruptcy.
In July of 1991 the the Forest Service comprised of riders armed with semi-automatic weapons and bulletproof vests confiscated, at gunpoint, over 100 head of his cattle. Litigation over grazing and water rights continued for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, Mr. & Mrs. Hage passed away before U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Jones issued a 104 page opinion in 2013 that stated "The Government's actions over the past two decades shocks the conscience of the Court." The judge concluded that the government denied the renewal of the Hages’ grazing permit for a “nonsensical” reason that was “arbitrary” and “vindictive.” The employees of the BLM “entered into a literal, intentional conspiracy to deprive the Hages not only of their permits but also of their vested water rights.”
The victory was short lived, however, as the U.S. Government refused to concede and continued to harass the Nevada ranching family. In August of 2019 a federal appeals court upheld a 2017 ruling ordering the Hage family estate to pay a half a million dollars in damages for illegally grazing cattle on public land. According to Wayne Hage Jr. he did not have any cattle grazing on the land in question.