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Friday, January 29, 2016

Finicum's Last Stand

Robert LaVoy Finicum. What can I say? There was a man who knew his mind and saw his destiny unfolding before him even as a small portion of the American people came to know him as Blue Tarp Man. Now better known in ignominious death than in life, he sacrificed all in the hopes of a glorious demise at the hands of the evil Federales who were bound and determined to take him down.

I am reminded of the legendary Pancho, the one who "met his end, you know, on the desert down in Mexico." As with Pancho, for LaVoy "nobody heard his dying words. But that's the way it goes." Surely Lavoy knew that country-western song and internalized it to his life and his plan for immortality.

LaVoy, a rancher from Chino Valley, Arizona, hooked up with two Bundy boys from Nevada and took over the isolated location of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Warner County, Oregon. Right from the beginning he positioned himself front and center in the lights of news camera crews to proclaim his position. From under a blue tarp he participated in interviews regarding his stance on the occupation and his willingness to die for his cause. With a sheathed rifle and two sidearms at his hips, he announced that he would rather die than be caged. At that point in time there was only two outcomes from his actions: be caged or be killed. There was no opportunity for the FBI to opt to waive arrest and prosecution of Lavoy Finicum.

Although LaVoy repeatedly said that he would not shoot first, he did assert that if anyone pointed a gun at him he would point his back. Thus the lethal conditions were set in stone. After the federal, state and county authorities worked 23 days to reach a peaceful resolution to the standoff at Malheur, the FBI staged a roadblock on an equally isolated stretch of Highway 395 where only the perpetrators and the law enforcement officers would be within bullet range.

Two vehicle traveling from the Refuge to the town of John Day were stopped at a roadblock. One vehicle containing several of the leaders of the occupation of Malheur surrendered and were taken into custody. After a few minutes of being stationary the second vehicle driven by LaVoy Finicum sped away from the scene of arrest only to ne sidelined by a secondary roadblock further down the road. He swerved his vehicle and left the pavement ending up stopped in a snow drift on the left side of the road. Although there were three male adult and an 18 yo girl in the vehicle, LaVoy was the only person to exit the vehicle and stop about 10 yards from the snowbound vehicle only to be shot while doing what looks like reaching for a weapon at his hip.

Left-handed or right-handed draws notwithstanding, the Officers all knew LaVoy wore two guns as part of his daily attire and they he repeated vowed to not be taken alive. Now LaVoy was not an evil man, even if he was delusional about his importance and had a death wish, he did not want to jeopardize the lives and safety of the other people in his truck. They had to choose for themselves their fates. Even misguided criminals have a sense of propriety.

Lavoy moved a reasonable distance from the vehicle that contained co conspirator Ryan Bundy, another adult male and a young girl before making his last act of defiance. Finicum's Last Stand played out as it was destined from the first day of his arrival at the failed insurrection at the Wildlife Refuge. Even Butch Cassidy and Sundance knew they would end up in a cold grave at the end of their run. All the militants occupying the bird sanctuary buildings a Malheur sought enduring accolades, but all any of these three people could really hope for is a paragraph in an American History textbook. Well, they could hope for more, but the state of American education is such that nobody reads long enough to get to the denouement, let along even know what that is.

For now the jury is out on whether or not the protest yields any positive outcomes. The saying that to a hammer everything looks like a nail, is true in this case. These "Constitutional Patriots" believe they are taking back the country from the government. They fail to realize the government they seek to fight is the one they keep electing by voting for the "Conservatives" who want to wrest control of the land so it can be sold off to the very entities they seek to keep it from.

LaVoy Finicum will be far better remembered as the Blue Tarp Man than for any political stand he made. Or even the manner of his death.  R.I.P. LaVoy, may others see the folly of your convictions.