Just a simple note to our family member who has decided to take up with an armed militia down at Cliven Bundy's place and to any and all who need a wake up call.

This isn't THE fight. I repeat this message because it is critical, this isn't THE fight.

We ranch in Nevada. We live the life, graze our cattle on both public and private land - WE UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES AT PLAY! We live them each and everyday! The majority of Nevada cattlemen and the NCA understand the issue thoroughly - we get it - 100 times more than you do - it's our life. We are not liberals, we are not cowards - we are law abiding realists who see what is possible and what is likely if this situation breaks down into violence. Any and all reasonable claims that we make about an overreaching federal bureaucracy will be silenced against a media and political barrage of likening you and by association, all of us to Waco or Ruby Ridge - violent extremists who must be crushed. It's a trap, and Harry Reid is baiting it masterfully each and everyday. Step away from the bait - the prize you are guarding is flawed, tragically, legally and morally flawed. Look at the real issues - a federal government and ESA out of control, taking away lives and livelihoods.

Your "boots on the ground" are ridiculous. You are a city kid who has no more real understanding of what it is to ranch and deal with federal agencies than our Senator Harry Reid - the difference between you...Harry wants you to take that "one step too far". He wants to be right in calling you a domestic terrorist. He is trying to incite you to violence - if he does, he wins, the radical left wins, radical environmentalists win, the Endangered Species Act is born anew.

I know some of the families who had to leave their ranching operations 20-plus years ago because of the desert tortoise - they were and are not cowards - they simply wanted to keep ranching. They are the patriots and the heroes. Bundy is not. Do not compare Bundy with Wayne Hage - the issues are not the same. An overreaching federal government coming in and ruing lives is the same - and we all face it. Instead of guarding a place and person who is wrong, why not really study the issues and tell the whole story. There are hundreds to thousands of law abiding citizens who have been run over by these laws and agencies - why not tell those stories and register your complaints at the ballot box. A healthy campaign against Harry Reid is more positive than waiving guns to protect Cliven Bundy's cattle.

One last thing - and for me, this is key - where are you with the Lord? Have you considered what it would mean to shoot at or take the life of a BLM or USFS employee. Many of these folks are our neighbors, some are friends. I cannot conceive of taking the life of a neighbor or friend over cattle. I do not think our Savior would want us to murder in the name of this cause - I know he would not. I think about my immortal soul when I consider such action. You should too.

Harry Reid will have his own battles when he takes that final journey around the bend and he will be judged. That thought gives me hope and a smile.

Please step back Frank, and do not let the heat of the moment cause you or any of your comrades to do something you will regret forever. That is not the Marine way, the American way or the Christian way.

Kris Stewart is a resident of Paradise Valley.
The attached statement first appeared on my Facebook page last Friday as an open letter, after a member of our family stopped taking telephone calls from his position near Cliven Bundy's ranch in southern Nevada. Beyond his fear for Bundy's safety, he believed that the NSA was monitoring all of his and other militia member's phone calls. My hope was to reach him with another point of view about the cause he was involved in.

More than a few of my friends and neighbors have asked me to share my letter in a more public forum, and in the spirit of trying to diffuse a very frightening situation, I am willing to do that.

For the record, my husband Fred Stewart and I ranch in Paradise Valley Nev. Our daughter Patrice represents the fifth generation of our family to live and ranch in Paradise Valley. Our family has grazing both public and private lands in and around Paradise Valley since 1864; our use of this resource predates the USFS and BLM by decades. Still, we believe in the rule of law and in the common sense of the American people. Our ranch celebrates 150 years of ranching in Nevada this very year.