A unique American story of life, age, critical happenings, emotions and one old woman with a room full of Xbox gamers, that met by chance on one very freaky Saturday morning.
Last Saturday late morning, I was alerted to something going on in America I had never witnessed in my lifetime. The Bundy Ranch siege in Nevada by a federal land management agency called the BLM – Bureau of Land Management. Recently, I had become a big fan of those who are citizen journalist, live streamers, etc – that are taking on the challenge of presenting to the general public – live documentation via video, live stream, crowdsourcing, info-sourcing, of today’s important news/political/life events of interest. The reason this has become so important for so many in America, is to bypass mainstream media, to find unbiased, live view’s of what is really happening without bias and spin. To be able to see things as they unfold, with our own eyes, our own brain and thoughts – to determine for our own selves the accuracy of what is being reported in general. With that being said, something really magnificent occurred. Here is what happened and how it happened and the affect it had on me. It was more than chilling.
Am only going to give some basic details as to the Bundy Ranch siege as reference, for that is not the only reason I post today. But it does need to be said, that without viewing these events live, not having that ability to do so – would have left me to the numerous articles, videos, endless opinionated commentary with someone elses ideas and thoughts about it all. I know better. I did not want that. The only thing I wanted was a simple live stream. Never before have we been so capable of viewing history in the making. Bare with me as I try to find the right words to say to you as I witnessed these live events, and how I was fortunate enough to view them.
First, as so many of us know now, there is a rancher in Nevada that has thousands of private acres of land and owns around 900 head of cattle. There have been signs posted for many years on the adjacent land to the Bundy ranch, owned by the state of Nevada – that say: Open Range. Several years ago, the BLM, who is not a law making agency, but rather only “manages” lands for the US federal government. The BLM makes “rules” for this land without any federal regulation. They do not make laws and do not have the authority to do so. BLM has said to the Bundy family that the desert turtle needed protection on this paticular state of Nevada land,adjacent to the Bundy ranch, and made a “rule” the Bundy family would then need to pay grazing fees per head of cattle. The Bundy’s complied for many years until the fee’s kept going up. The Bundys joined with the Sate of Nevada and went to federal court. Recently, the BLM has decided to heavily enforce their “rule” of fees for grazing and contracted out for over 200 law enforcers from around the US to help them seize the cattle belong to the Bundy family and possibly sell this private property, the cattle, for this debt. Higher law did not seem to matter. Constitutional law did not seem to matter. As the Bundy family would like the “fee” money to stay in the state, they even tried to pay the local tax office. It was refused. The Bundy family drew a line. No more “taxation” without representation – as it says in the Constitution. No more extorition from a federal agency that had no power to make laws, and was not a law enforcemnt agency. This led to a stand-off between the Bundy family and the BLM.
For the last few weeks, the BLM was seen not only on the state land, but also on the private land belonging to the Bundy family – with dump trucks, backhoes, helicopters and up to 85 SUV’s with heavily armed law enforcement personnel. As the family went to ask questions, using iPads and cellphones to document, they were arrested, jailed, tased and attacked. Up to 300 cattle were rounded up by helicopter and taken to a holding penned areas. Some have died. The breaking of local, state and federal constitutional law here was broken in a way I have never seen it broken before. Let me note, everyone that holds public office, lawyers, judges, all law enforcement personnel take an oath. An oath to defend and uphold the constitution of the United States of America. Failure to do so -they no longer hold power. That is the law of the land. After years of fighting the changing rules of the BLM, paying endless increasing fees per the “rules” of the BLM, and now knowing they were under full attack – the Bundys had enough. A call to action was placed for American citizens, American militia, cattle ranchers and anyone who wanted to help them defend their constitutional rights to come to the ranch and help. By Saturday, April 12th, 2014 there were 1,000 American citizens present due to this call to action. Heavily armed militia from around the country arrived to help protect the ranch along with other citizens. There was a rally that started around 10am last Saturday, where the citizens and militia were called to a stage on the Bundy property to listen to the local sheriff address this growing crowd. His statement is as follows: It is over. The BLM will stand down and are leaving. The Bundy family along with the public and militia – demanded the BLM surrender their weapons, and leave the property so all then were free to go release the cattle belonging to the Bundy family. The sheriff agreed. The family and militia and citizens gave them one hour to do so.
After that hour passed, there was no word from the same local sheriff. There was no disarmament of the BLM. What had been told to these American citizens and militia at this rally by the local sheriff – was a true lie. All present understood this. So was I as I witnessed this in real-time via live stream. I understood clearly what was happening. It was decided, with militia snipers in the hills, that the citizens, militia, ranchers, horsemen/cattle drivers on horseback – would then go and free the cattle. They understood clearly; there would be resistance. They were now armed, going head to head, toe to toe with our federal government, who was waiting and armed and ready to shoot them, to defend the American constitutional law. To defend the freedoms of American citizens, to take their cattle – their property back. They were willing to put their life on the line, as those that have gone before them have done.
That is where I will stop. There is very good video of the rest of what happened all over the net. No, the BLM were not going to release the cattle as promised by the sheriff. What I was now live viewing, was the intense possibility of many, to be shot and killed in front of my very eyes. A possible blood bath on American soil by our federal government and American citizens. My gut was wrenched. I was in shock and nervous and upset just sitting at my own dining room table witnessing this stand-off. I was scared. Really scared, at times shaking. This hurt me. It hurt in a place I had not known this kind of hurt before. I didn’t just break down in tears, I broke down and sobbed. As the crowd got to the gated area where the BLM were with the penned cattle, it came over the loud-speaker: Stop or you will be fired upon. Stop, or we will shoot.
The rest is now history.
How did I find a site to view this live stream in real time? By chance. Just by chance. All the bigger sites of citizen journalists that are known to carry this type of live stream (there are not very many) were jammed. You didn’t have a chance to get in to view. I saw a game site listed that was said to be streaming these events and I jumped over as fast as I could before I was once again blocked out. It worked. I was in. Here is the information about what this site really does, what they were doing that day live streaming this event, and who they are. Its pretty incredible.
This website is called LateNight101.com and is intended for Xbox gamers to upstream live their gaming activities for others to participate in. #LateNight101
As a 54-year-old middle-aged women, I realized the people here with me watching this live stream were much younger than I am. They certainly did not care that I had intruded onto their site and welcomed me warmly. They explained that they felt this was much more important than Xbox play that day. The average age of players on this site of gamers is mid 20’s, but the entire age range of normal visitors/Xbox players to this site is age 14-36 years old. I was humbled. They explained to me how they thought about it, wanted a live stream of these events of the day on their site to be available to the public. They explained how they put their cell phones together – as hot spots, and then hooked into streamup.com – and were able to provide the feed. I was so proud of them. I was so very pleased to be there with them. Not just for streaming live, but in how they took me in, were so very humble, kind, friendly, non-biased, apolitical, honest, caring, very concerned, so laid back and open and quite frankly, what a joy to be with them viewing these historic and critical events.
LateNight101.com has open chat on this site in addition to the live broadcasts via streamup.com and I need to tell you that our icon’s assigned to each individual chatting were a cartoon version of: batman, super woman, villains, hello kitty, super heroes, and other comical looking icons. We used purple smiley face emoticons to express much emotion that day. Our names were also assigned to us for chat. My icon was a blue/purple warrior woman and the screen name given to me to chat was: American Hope. This was perfect. I was a blue/purple warrior woman named American Hope, on a gamers Xbox site with purple smiley faces, chatting to an age group that took me in, expressed deep thoughts, emotions, feelings, as these crucial events unfolded. We were from all around the country. It really didn’t matter who we were and it didn’t matter what age we were. We were there together, no political chat, no bullying, no bias, no spin, joining together because our hearts needed to. We needed to view these live events of the day. We supported each other, cried with each other,were scared and nervous together, happy and even silly together. Many times wer were very silent. Quiet. Watching. Thoughts and emotions were expressed that day, very openly by many. It hurt us deeply at times to view these events, but watching live was pure freedom. We rejoiced together as the cattle were finally set free. Free to go home. Free. We stayed together for almost 6 hours that day until the feed was finally lost or stopped for some unknown reason. We didn’t want to leave. We kept waiting for the feed to come back but it was gone. We all check, but – it was gone on any site that had carried it that day. Our time together was ending. We said goodbye.. but I still know, most of us did not want to go. What we had just witnessed together bonded us together. We cared for each other now in a way I had never known via the internet. We said our goodbye’s – and when I signed off, through all this emotion, all these critical events of the day, watching American citizens draw the line and stand up to federal authority, being surround by some of the most beautiful younger generation I have ever known, being taken in by them without a single judgement, I completely broke. As I said good bye, I sobbed.
As I started to write this blog today, it was important that I go back to LateNight101.com so I could understand better where I had been last Saturday. How the site worked, what it exactly does. Certainly I am not a gamer and no, I have no idea how to work an Xbox. I talked to a site admin named 101 Chris (the other day I had talked with another admin named 101 Bear, both were kind and courteous and helpful at all times) and he filled me in on the site, give me the ages/age ranges of participants of the site and politely answered my questions. He patiently explained to me, more than onece, the basic functionality of their site – being a bunch of Xboxers that come to LateNight101.com and use streamup.com to be able to interact together via Xbox to play games. Others also upstream and play simultanously. There is no pre-recorded play. They can also stream on YouTube videos and have over 80,000 followers. Their site was revamped just this past January.
THANK YOU GAMERS! For you kindness, your humbleness and openness in giving me the ability to view events live on this critical day. To chat freely, and to be accepted into a community of which I almost need to say I had no prior bond. Little knowledge of. How very enlightening. I am humbled without words as how to express how well behaved and kind you were. We hear so much about the younger generations, things that may not show you in the best of light at times. I see that differently now. What I myself found on this day, was something I will never forget. No, I have no chance of ever forgetting you.. and what you gave to me that day. And for that, from the bottom of my heart, I now know you are also my brothers and sisters who want the very best for America and the American citizens, and you care just as deeply and passionately about America and these events as anyone else ever could.
When I visited this site and chatted to get information to write this post today, and to let the site know I would be including them in it, the site admin – 101 Chris, played for me on the site (without asking) a song by Neil Young – Old Man. We listened together as we chatted once more, still knowing the bond that brought us together just days ago. I cried once more as the song and artist are very dear to me and he had no way of knowing that. And yet he did know.
So, now you know the story of my day last Saturday, April 12th, 2014. What happened, where I went to view live, who I met and what we went through together. It occurred to me that I was counted as one of them. And it was as important that I be there as anyone else. I felt counted. Not just on the site, as an American citizen. Having a voice, being free to watch event, live and in real-time. It mattered. I mattered. The gamers mattered. We were being counted as citizens having the open right to view, express, and openly chat during an event so very critical to the Constitution of the United States and American freedoms. Without fear, without intimidation, without judgment. Free to speak. Free to view. Free to express opinion and feelings and emotions and support others as they did the same.
That is the true reason I chose the picture at the beginning of this new blog post. One hand. Counted. Important. One hand with something to say. One hand in a sea of hands that love this country very much. One hand in support of the Constitution of the United States. My hand was counted that day. It mattered. One hand united with many hands.
The only thing that has been asked of me by the site admins is this: A call to action by other gaming sites. To consider a live stream during critical event times and to open up the room to all who find a deep need to view these events live. It is my pleasure to do so.
What will happen further to the Bundy ranch and the BLM? No one knows for certain but I do understand it certainly may not be over. I had always known this was not about fees or cattle or turtles. As more citizen journalist, live streamers, etc. hit the streets, use their own sites, dig into and research and film, upload and try to discover what is really happening, not only here with the BLM case with the ranchers, but on many topics needing fact not fiction, I have my gamers. I am counted. We are counted. You are counted. Feel free to change your icon to a single pic of your own hand showing support to those who want fact from fiction, real life live streamed events, more fact checking to happen more and more and become open for all to view. Be counted.
Be well my game friends. Until next time.
“Old man take a look at my life – I’m a lot like you were…” ~ Old Man, song by Neil Young
“Blind, oh – but now I see. Truth, lies and in between. Wrong – can’t be undone. Oh, it slipped right from the tip of your tongue…” ~ Blue on Black, song by Kenny Wayne Shepherd
“The purpose of art is the washing of the daily dust of life – off our souls..” Pablo Picasso
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built…” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt