“This is not a place of fear in here. The fear is out there. We know that God’s hand is in this. Whatever happens, we know that it’s going to be okay.”
So spoke Lavoy Finicum in a radio broadcast, Finicum, the Arizona rancher who'd gone up to Oregon to protest the federal government's persistent and illegal overreach, policies that affected he and his fellow Mormon cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy. The two of them--and many others--believe the federal government has no standing in their lives, and they claim the Constitution of the United States backs them up. As does God almighty.
Just exactly what happened at a road block in the middle of a Oregon forest will be debated, I'm sure, for a long time. Law enforcement officials claim Finicum reached for a gun after stepping out of a van he'd just slammed into a snowdrift. Finicum raised his hands as told, but then reached for something on his person, at which point, in the language of such warfare, he was 'taken out."
Anti-government demonstrators claim what happened was cold-blooded murder. The government says the man's death occurred because they were sure of "clear and present danger." What seems perfectly clear from what Finicum wrote and said days and even just hours and minutes before he was shot is that he believed he would be. It's speculation on my part to say it, but if you listen to him on the video made by occupants of the car, he seemed to encourage it, to wish martyrdom on himself--and he got it. Google him, and you'll hear his people roar.
Lavoy Finicum was no terrorist. He did not walk into some Oregon burg and start shooting. He didn't trigger a suicide vest or leave a bomb in a car parked outside a church. He took no one with him when he did what he did in the woods in Oregon. But what seems perfectly clear from everything he said and wrote is that he believed that "God's hand is in this," that "whatever happens, we know that it's going to be okay."
He was willing to die for God, freedom, and the American way. He considered himself the patriot, the rest of us conspirators and criminals, disciples of the evil scumbama.
In the days before Cliven Bundy put oak leaves on his cap and proclaimed himself the general of an army of freedom fighters in Utah, Lavoy Finicum paid taxes, even prepaid them, for his use of federal grazing land in far northwest Arizona. He and his wife had almost a dozen foster children, a major source of their income, he said. They kept up a home a long way from government of any kind, really.
Then the Bundy conflict came along, and everything changed. Following the Bundy model, Finicum also refused to pay taxes he owed because just where in the constitution can anyone find the federal government's right to control land that should belong to the people?
Finicum left his Arizona ranch for Oregon because he believed in the cause those dozen or so protesters were delivering in the face of the wicked federals. His cause was just. He was on the Lord's side, as sure as I am that the Lord would guide his feet down paths of righteousness.
Now he's dead, the martyr he wanted to be to the lunatic fringe Clive Bundy both represents and even, sadly, leads. And it's okay, I guess, because his death is something he believed God ordained somehow.
"We know that God's hand is in this," Finicum said on the last morning of his life.
"He was a fine man," Bundy said at Finicum's funeral. "He was basically crucified." LaVoy Finicum, Bundy says, was yet another Jesus Christ.