Back in 2014, Cliven Bundy and his clan were quickly dubbed by the press “welfare queens in cowboy hats” for their shameless mooching off the government. At the time, these ultra-devout Mormons made national headline news for their armed standoff over government-owned land. Amazingly, they narrowly squeaked out of the consequences for that and a whole slew of other poor choices. But once they’d gotten a taste of fame and power (and unearned coin), they weren’t about to slink back into the sunset. Oh, no! No, friends, one of them in particular has been busy since then–rabble-rousin’ and carryin’ on, as such folks do. Well, lately he got hisself into a real dilly of a pickle. Today, let me tell you what Ammon Bundy has been up to lately in the town I will only call home for a few more weeks.

The amazing adventures of Ammon Bundy

In March this year, the son of Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, sensed an opportunity.

I suspect he was good at that. Any opportunist would be.

Back in 2016, he’d smelled similar opportunity blowing on the breeze. That opportunity involved him and his pals staging an armed takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, then occupying it for a while.

The court cases from all that took a few years to wind through the system. Afterward, Ammon Bundy went right back to the opportunity trough.

And between 2020 and 2021, another opportunity involved him creating an alt-right group called “the People’s Rights Network,” and then an “anti-mask militia” that just so happened to have far-right ties and a terrifyingly fascist, theocratic outlook.

Always the endless attention-seeker, Ammon Bundy had also staged disruptions of Idaho state business in recent years. One of his attention quests got him arrested twice in two hours.

In June 2021, Ammon Bundy decided that the next opportunity looked a lot like running for the position of Governor of Idaho.

But I can hear you right now: Yes, Cas, but what has he done for us (meaning liberals and non-fundagelicals) lately?

Well, here’s what.

Situation report

In March this year, one of Ammon Bundy’s family friends and close political associates, Diego Rodriguez, had a big problem.

His grandchild wasn’t doing too well.

Back in March, I read in more than a few places that the child–a baby, really, less than a year old–had some birth defect that made it hard for him to get nutrition from food. It was causing some big problems with his growth and development, including with his weight. Alas, I can’t find those sources now. At any rate, Child Protective Services (CPS) eventually got involved. Officials told the baby’s parents that if the child didn’t start gaining weight, they’d have to take him away to save his life. It was that serious.

But the parents refused to let hospitals help the baby. They wouldn’t even let anyone official examine him. They canceled doctors’ appointments and everything. In fact, court documents make one thing clear above all: these two parents did everything they could to obstruct doctors trying to help their baby.

Eventually, the state stepped in. The baby was near death at that point. I guess all these supposedly pro-life fundagelicals get a little fuzzy on exactly what life means, eh?

And Rodriguez clearly reached out to his old pal, Ammon Bundy. Then, between the two of them, they had a massive public freakout in front of their rabid alt-right followers–specifically to get ’em all riled up.

Ammon Bundy caused a hospital lockdown

It is absolutely bizarre, what these two wingnut guys came up with to get their followers upset. It’s QAnon conspiracy-theory levels of bugfuck. They came up with this huge conspiracy theory about the state literally kidnapping pretty babies to sell them, and they implicated not only hospitals and CPS, but also the police, social workers, and various state health departments.

Then, Bundy demanded that everybody all go demonstrate not only at the hospital he mistakenly thought was treating the baby, but also at the homes of people working for CPS and the police. See, Diego Rodriguez’ grandson had been kidnapped and would surely be soon sold by the state! OMG! I don’t think Bundy or Rodriguez ever once mentioned the baby’s problem with digestion or that he was in serious trouble health-wise.

And their followers, who–like most fundagelicals–entirely lack any means of objectively testing and verifying claims, bought all of it.

Eventually, Ammon Bundy and his followers ended up at St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise. Very quickly, the hospital rightly decided that Bundy and his merry band of wingnuts constituted a huge risk to their staff’s and patients’ safety, so its administrators locked it down for an hour or so.

And now, just yesterday, that hospital has sued Ammon Bundy and Diego Rodriguez, along with three of Bundy’s political groups.

Details of the lawsuit against Ammon Bundy

I found a lot of details about the lawsuit at a blog called Law and Crime, along with a digital copy of the filing itself. Here’s their summary:

The hospital seeks punitive damages for eight counts of defamation, harassment, trespass, unfair business practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other charges. St. Luke’s pledged to donate any damages that the hospital may be awarded to Children at Risk Evaluation Service (CARES), a program for neglected or abused kids.

St. Luke’s also accuses Ammon Bundy of having “a history of forcing confrontation with police to generate publicity for himself and his political agenda.” Hey, that’s perceptive! In this case, the hospital says that Bundy deliberately pushed the hospital into having him arrested for trespassing. Maybe that’s why he had that weird little smirk in his mugshot.

And St. Luke’s says that Bundy’s antics in March cost them $110,000, all “based on a false narrative” he spun about Diego Rodriguez’ grandson.

OMG, y’all, it’s persecution! Poor Ammon Bundy, being all persecuted fer jus’ bein’ KRISchin! It’s the endtimes!

Someone tell Jim Bakker. He’ll be thrilled.

The end goal is always attention and the gifts of attention

That blog also points out something I’ve seen in other news outlets, too: the hospital got the baby stabilized a few days later. He’s going to be all right, it sounds like. Afterward, the state decided it was okay to give him back to his parents, and so the family reunited.

That reunion literally had nothing to do with Ammon Bundy and his theatrics. All Bundy did was cause trouble to get attention.

Now, hopefully, someone in that whole mooching, grifting clan of posturing degenerates will face some real consequences. He could have gotten someone hurt with his absurd demonstration. Someone at the hospital could have been hurt in the clash. A patient might have died due to the safety protocols that Bundy forced the hospital to put into place. Or, and this was far more likely in my opinion than the other two possibilities, one of his followers might have decided to go much further than Bundy’s demand for doxing and harassment of hospital staff, and could have hurt someone more directly.

Not that King Ammon Bundy cares about any risks to others, of course!

But maybe he will if his dishonesty and grandstanding starts to earn him consequences he cares about. Fundagelicals have never cared much to be hit in their wallet. That’s their most tender spot. They’ll do anything to protect that part.

Ammon Bundy is, like his creepy father, an authoritarian to his fingertips. And that makes him a complete opportunist. Authoritarian leaders, in particular, know exactly how to rile up their followers to make a big splash.

And whether they win or lose their confrontations, they know that they will definitely capture the most important prize of all: attention. With that, they can get all the money and power they want.

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Thank you so much for listening, reading, and being a part of Roll to Disbelieve!

Captain Cassidy

Captain Cassidy is a Gen-X ex-Christian and writer. She writes about how people engage with science, religion, art, and each other. She lives in Idaho with her husband, Mr. Captain, and their squawky orange tabby cat, Princess Bother Pretty Toes. And at any given time, she is running out of bookcase space.


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