Loc: One of the Mexicos
There you go, trying to steer this into an actual discussion...
I had thought about the BLM's approach, which I was interested in discussing after we softened up the wildly incorrect scenario that they "started" it, and they had no business being there at all.
First of all, removing the cows from the range was, from the BLM's point of view, the most important part of the action, as the cows are continuing to cause resource damage. Collecting back fees and fines was secondary to that. I make that conclusion because of some 30 years of interaction with federal land management agencies, backed up by the fact that it is their stated goal. Mitigating resource damage was their reason for reducing stocking levels back in 1993. Bundy would not comply.
If their primary motivation was getting paid and/or punishing the Bundys, I believe they would have already been pursuing the other options you mentioned for the collection of money owed.
Bringing guns to a cow roundup is normal. Bringing a law enforcement contingent to a controversial cow roundup, where there had been a history of inflammatory talk and threats, and declarations of resistance, is normal. Unfortunately, law enforcement bringing high tech weapons, including tasters and auto- or semi-automatic weapons has become normal, in large part because criminals often have significant firepower. The BLM also does drug interdiction work in remote areas.
It is my opinion that if only the Bundys and a few locals had been present, that the whole thing would have gone off rather quietly. I don't think the BLM expected hundreds of maliciamen to show up ready to start a war, they expected to do a bit of protester management. I don't believe they would have characterized their approach as SWAT based, that's the rather massaged portrayal of things intentionally choreographed by some of the activists (did you see the early video clip where a guy with a camera was trying to get a woman with dirty knees to call 911?) The huge amount of misinformation surrounding the incident is a product of digital cameras, a pretty well-organized propaganda campaign, and the power of the intertubes.
The BLM did back away when it was obvious enough that they wouldn't be able to round up the cows without there being an insane escalation of violence. I suppose the government (I believe I heard that the issue has been given to the Dept of Justice for the next steps) will take deliberate steps to "secure the area" for a future cow roundup by first rounding up a bunch of the maliciamen in separate actions, which will probably involve many other law enforcement agencies.
That may, or not, discourage another wave of anti-gummit misfits from spending too much personal time and money for a misguided "cause" that could likely get them arrested. There'll be a lot of noise next time, but probably much less action.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” – R. Buckminster Fuller