...it would have given pretext for the 'domestic terrorism' narrative, which I imagine a lot of people were prepared to spin.
The ranchers believed that BLM had been given orders to shoot. The ranchers may have believed this, but I doubt the BLM had actually been given such orders. I think it's more likely that the BLM had been given orders to augment the force of their threats in every way possible short of firing a weapon. Needless to say, this is speculation, but, I think it's possible the ulterior motive was to get the ranchers to fire the first shot. That way they could be derided in the media as domestic terrorists.
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