Lavoy Finicum was shot and killed in Oregon on January 27, 2016.
Several people have offered opinions on the shooting, questioning the necessity, motivations, intentions, etc of all involved.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a video and held a news conference explaining their conduct. One comment that was offered is that the untimely death of Mr. Finicum didn’t have to happen. Blame is laid at the feet of the occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Specifically stated is that if the occupiers had not been there the shooting would not have occurred.
Impetus for action
It is time to examine reality. The federal government attempted to prosecute two men under state statutes and then under federal statutes. Ultimately the federal prosecutors use the infamous Homeland Security Act to prosecute the men.
The federal government asserted that under the law the two men were committing acts of terrorism. What was the act? They lit a backfire (a fire designed to stop the spread of uncontrolled wild fires) supposedly on public land. Backfires have been used as effective firefighting tools for decades.
It should be amazing to anyone that a federal laws design to track terrorists would be used to prosecute and persecute citizens living in the middle of vacant range land. The only threat from the fire was to fire fighters who were there as part of their assignment to put out a fire that was burning before the men started the backfire.
To begin with there is no rational justification for these men to have been prosecuted under the Homeland Security Act, which has been used as a weapon to control people standing up for their rights. A personal example is a few years ago I bought an airline ticket and was double charged for it. I called the airline (a simple phone call) and asked for a correction. I was told by a clerk that he could nothing. I politely requested to speak to a supervisor and was told “No.”
His explanation was that he had authority and I didn’t need to speak with anyone else. I am not patience with incompetence. I freely admit that. I raised my voice and told him to get his damn supervisor on the phone. What was his response? “Sir, if you raise your voice to me again I will contact the HSD to report you as acting like a terrorist.”
That is what the government agencies have turned the law into; a weapon to force submission by citizens. When they use this legislation there is a presumption of guilt rather than innocence. In the prosecution of “free” citizens over a brush fire even the judge in the case recognized that the minimum sentence of five years was stupid, so he sentenced the men to much less.
The vindictiveness of the Bureau of Land Management decided to punish the men further once they had served their time in prison. Consequently these men were placed in double jeopardy and sent back to prison for three more year. Again their crime was setting a brush fire to do the job the BLM was in capable of doing.
Consequence of second incarceration.
After multiple, in other words several, similar tactics by the federal government a group of men occupied a national wildlife refuge building in Oregon. I call them occupiers because that is the term used by Mr. Finicum who was shot and killed by the national bureaucrats, (I interviewed Mr. Finicum at length two weeks ago in preparation for a news article I was writing).
People say these occupiers should not have been there. Of course like the ever present list of excuses for violations of the US Constitution the FBI started the defensive trash talk toward the men. “They never should have been there!”
The only problem with that argument is that thousand upon thousands of citizens should have been there with them. The society of the United States has failed Lavoy Finicum, the occupiers, the states…and most egregiously themselves. Said Patrick Henry “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
We the people have failed!
Have we forgotten that men of character and understanding wrote the Declaration of Independence? Foolishly, we presume that Thomas Jefferson the sole author. He was not. Many other men gave input. Here is the question. Did those legislators declaring liberty from an abusive King and his henchmen bureaucrats only in their own kitchen and farmers? No, they stood bravely, IN BUILDING ASSUMED TO BE OWNED BY a dictatorial king and bureaucrats.
For some to foolishly say the occupiers ought not to have been in a government own facility (letting alone the government never should have owned it to begin with) are they also rejecting the Declaration of Independence. A day never intended to represent stuffing our faces with hot dogs and hamburgers.
Not only should the occupier have been there…thousands of citizens should have been at their sides. Today millions of Americans should be standing not simply as occupiers, but as angry voices against a government as corrupt and brutal as faced down by Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, et al. I want to hear NO MORE from presidential candidates prepared to slaughter thousand in the Middle East in the name of national safety, while ignoring the slaughter of citizens at home.
The Killing Field of Oregon
In 1984 a movie was made entitled The Killing Fields. It articulated, is cinematic style, the evil perpetrated on the Cambodian people by the Pol Pot regime. It was so name for the multiple fields where millions of men women and children were slaughtered for government interests.
To imagine that a wild life refuge in Oregon is the only field where aggressive bureaucrats beat down free people is a fantasy. The road side in Oregon where a Terrorist FBI murdered as citizen is one of many many incidents. Just as in Cambodia where the killing began in a field and spread to many fields, these acts of the FBI and BLM will escalate as well. The bureaucrats will lie that it is for national security. That was case Hitler argued as he rose to power and dictatorship.
People will cry that I am an extremist by comparing our current bureaucracy to Hitler. “That not going to happen here in the United States. We know about Hitler and what to watch for.” News flash, children, Hitler used tactics of deception which the people were inexperienced with. Our national bureaucracy also uses tactics and technology as distractions that the public is unaware of. We should not delude ourselves into believing that promises equate to reality. Ostriches don’t make good citizens.
The slaughter of Lavoy
I have watched the video of the use of force by law enforcement. I watched their own 26 minute distraction, and I have listened to their “heartfelt” news conference.
Mr. Finicum, in a vehicle with other people, evaded arrest by “making a run for it.” Ultimately, he attempted to drive around a barricaded road and became trapped in a snow bank. Keep that in mind.
He then excited the vehicle with arms raised in a non-threatening manner. He is accused of reaching for a gun. Let’s examine all of that more closely.
When Finicum drove off the road into a snow bank. The SUV he was driving did not even exceed its own length in the snow before being forced to stop. That is how deep the snow was.
One popular anecdote is that he almost hit an FBI agent while driving off the road.
“As the white truck approaches the roadblock, there is a spike strip across the road but it appears Finicum missed it as he attempted to drive around the roadblock. He nearly hits an FBI agent as he maneuvers to the left.” FBI Special Agent Greg Bretzing (previously investigated for mismanagement while working in Salt Lake City).
Reviewing the video released by the FBI show an incompetent FBI agent running in front of the vehicle, as if he would stop it single-handedly. That is a fact, and the agent was a fool for doing it. Even if the snow had not been the cause of Finicum’ s vehicle being stalled a rational person would conclude that he voluntarily stopped to avoid hit the idiot racing out in front of him. Bretzing’s feeble attempt to make his agent’s dumb actions seem like Finicum’s fault is pathetic.
It should be noted that Special agent Bretzing issued a statement immediately following the shooting. The following day Bretzing made a second statement which was substantively different from his first statement. In some specifics there were precise contradictions between the two statements.
It is also relevant to note that the news releases were scripted. Bretzing who has previously been investigated for mismanagement of critical in formation of FBI cases was smooth talking and practiced in his eloquence. Yet, the county sheriff, barely articulate (no insult intended, just the way it appeared), used almost the exact same phraseology as the Special Agent in Charge of Propaganda.
One of the more innocuous lies told by the Special agent is that those at the wildlife preserve would be allowed to leave, after checked for weapons. That was proven to be an outright lie as some have been taken into custody. Another question is why the two of the occupiers, one the driver of one vehicle, were not taken into custody, charged, nor will they be named. What nefarious plans does the FBI have for them?
As noted above Finicum was driving an SUV. The average length of an SUV is 18 feet. Finicum exited the vehicle and walked through the snow, which was deep enough to halt a the SUV, the full length of the SUV in one direction. He also walked at an angle away from the SUV an equal distance. The entire time he had his hands raised. That is a minimum of 25 feet in a surrender position.
Directly behind the SUV is an agent apparently pointing a gun at Finicum. Unfortunately the FBI video is inconveniently a little blurry, even though they were able to keep the moving objects ( at a high rate of speed according to Bretzing), in earlier segments of the video stationary and almost clear enough to read license plates. Lavoy Finicum was about 20 feet away from the vehicle.
The placement and direction of agent behind the SUV is very relevant. Lavoy drops his hands momentarily, while facing that agent. To my vantage point the agent had reaction even though some people claim that agent fired at Finicum. Lavoy again raise his hands and turns further to his left, where another officer is exiting the wooded area. Again for unknown reasons Finicum’s hand go down. Some assert that Finicum was grasping at a wound inflicted by an over zealous officer. The agent exiting from the woods shoots him.
Within three seconds Finicum’s hand moves slightly to his chest and then there is no further movement by him, contrary to reports that he continued to reach for a gun while down.
The FBI spokesman said that Finicum was reaching for a gun. Given the angle of the shooter it would have been impossible to determine if a weapon was being reached for. That is a blunder in the FBI narrative, or they were just being as careless with their report as they were while shooting. It is hard to keep their lies straight.
As will be shared below suspicion, without a direct threat, is an inappropriate reason for a law enforcement officer to assassinate someone. If the shooter saw him going for a gun he jumped the gun himself. Since the FBI says the gunman was on Finicum’s left side the flap of the coat on the left side would have made the killer’s view impossible. Finicum was slightly turned away from the shooter, obstructing the agent’s view even more.
The question remains as to why the agent behind the SUV, with a clearer view, never presume Finicum to be a sufficient threat to make the shot himself. Again, some people say he did in fact take a shot. Nothing in the the momentum of Finicum’s body suggest that is the case. I can neither verify nor discredit the presumption. What is obvious is that a shot from the officer in the woods cause Lavoy to immediately fall away from the shot.
Additionally, by watching the video, another agent can be seen in the road. As the agent most directly in line with Finicum he turns his back to and takes NO evasive action to avoid potentially being shot. This happens only after the sniper appears from the woods.
Nothing in the video appeared to imply any actual or eminent threat. The FBI narrative was constructed first to lay guilt. But afterward they reviewed the video and concocted a story to fit what they had actually filmed.
Because I wanted to get an assessment of my bias (yes, I have one, if you didn’t notice) I contacted two former police chiefs who also reviewed the video.
One chief is in California, far from both Oregon and Finicum’s home. The other is in an eastern state.
One chief stated
“I too viewed the video repeatedly. The tactics used by law enforcement were designed for a triangulated shooting response at the roadblock. Not with a control and arrest approach. (Emphasis added).
Further the chief says
“If the officers had maintained an arrest and control approach, through the use of verbal commands from a position of containment, the outcome most likely would be different.
After the shooting, the officers’ actions spoke volumes. They retreated. They might use the argument, they still had a threat from within the vehicle. The officers unnecessarily exposed themselves, to begin with. They can’t have two separate arguments to justify their actions.”
What the chief and I both saw was severe negligence on the part of law enforcement. Now, unfortunately the FBI conveniently doesn’t have, or refuses to provide, an audio of the shooting.
What we do know is that Agents wandered around for over ten minutes while a wounded man lay in the snow. The video displays a laser point on the victim’s head after he is shot and down. That is standard police procedure, while other officers approach to remove weapons and see if medical assistance is warranted. The agent’s cavalier attitude is a blatant disregard for human life.
This chief concludes with
“Summary: Poor tactics, unlawful use of deadly force, care for the injured not performed. These officers wanted a fight and from the command staff on down, they should be ashamed of themselves. Though man may not judge them and hold them accountable, God will.”
What did the other chief (speaking strictly to tactics) says
“In the video you can’t see where his right hand is at because of the angle and distance. Things happen so fast during a time like that. I saw Mr. Finicum move after being shot, and within a few seconds he stopped moving. I don’t know why they didn’t go over to him. Usually officers will move in cautiously while one is covering the person shot. The officers usually want to remove any weapon from that person for safety and check for medical needs. If it’s obvious they are dead (gross injuries) they will leave the weapon where it’s at for the investigation team.”
With respect to the timing of the response it took less that two minutes for the officers to choose to kill Finicum, who had approached them, hands-raised. Yet when other occupants of the vehicle acted in the same manner they were literally ignored by law enforcement for three time that long. In fact NO efforts were visually apparent of any concerns for the others in the vehicles, as law enforcement nonchalantly turned their backs to potentially armed people.
This second chief, responding to the entire scenario (not just the shooting) further says:
“The whole thing is sad, the government has over stepped their authority, that is the cause of this death. This is one of the times we question the legal authority of the stop, arrest warranty etc.”
There are other equally outrageous and egregious actions by the Federal government, following the assassination of Lavoy Finicum, which I am not at liberty to disclose. Perhaps following subsequent family new release my restrictions will be lifted.
This incident, contrary to the media and bureaucratic narrative is not a “sad situation.” This is reckless endangerment by federal officials at a minimum and intentional assassination by a terrorist bureaucracy at its worst.
That Is The Way I See It.