I need to say this..or post this. Publically I've stayed quiet long enough. Some of you know my attachment to the Finicum family and how hard I've tried to get his message out. Here are some of my personal thoughts.
1. LaVoy had a stellar reputation in his church, in his community and with other ranchers. He'd worked with the BLM and other Government agencies for YEARS. He paid his fees and was an excellent steward of the land. He raised his family and took in the "truly bad" kids from foster care. He taught them values, he taught them self respect and self reliance. He was by all accounts a decent and honorable man.2. He documented all the BLM aggressions on his property. Aggressions on his water and aggressions on his land in short videos on his Youtube.comchannel. The FBI and BLM had come to Mohave county to be deputized so they could arrest him last fall. The Sheriff refused. That probably was the start of the governments hostility twords LaVoy Jeanette Finicum. The question being, could the BLM/FBI keep their unlawful actions quiet if their actions were being recorded? Could they continue to count on people to blindly follow their arbitrary rules if anyone stood up against them, using their own laws and documents as proof of the governments aggression?3. Unlike Cliven Bundy, LaVoy was an excellent spokesperson for State's Rights, Rancher's rights and Land/ Property rights. He knew what he was talking about. I'm sure the Government was not thrilled with his knowledge and I'm sure they became more concerned as he spoke out against their heavy handed policies.LaVoy took a stand against arbitrary application of policy. He took a stand against the BLM and FBI trying to steal his water, steal his land and steal his way of life.Did I agree with how they went about it? I don't know. I've seen the HAGE case get run through the court system where the Government has an unlimited checkbook to fund the case and will continue to appeal until they achieve the desired result. See 9th curcuit decsion that came out in the begining of the year. Take a look at the Hammond case where 2 men were ordered back to prison after serving their time, labeled terrorists and fined so punitively, there is little doubt they will have to sell their ranch to the BLM to get out of debt. Look at Red River in Texas. You have the Government deciding to take several rancher's deeded land because they WANT it. Phil Lyman, county commissioner in Utah is labeled a FELON because he led an ATV ride in Blanding, Utah. Look at the case of DR. Redd in Blanding. Dan Love raided his home as well as several others because they had picked up some indian artifacts on their walks in the woods. He killed himself because of the shame and disgrace the BLM put him and his family through. The Great States of Utah and Nevada have tried for many years to get their state land back under their control so they can reap the economic benefits from their land...all to no avail.So, when these guys entered the refuge in Oregon, do you think they felt they had exhausted all efforts to work within the system? Had they seen their neighbors and friends work their court cases through the system? Did they see their legislaters fail in their fights against the federal tyrany? Did they fear they were the last of a dying breed of people who by all accounts were discounted by all urban people who have zero idea where their food comes from? I'm sure they did. I'm sure there are other factors that were taken into consideration before they went to occupy the refuge. Did they think it would end in bloodshed? I will never know. What I do know with certainty is this: these men brought the question of land rights, state's rights and the aggressions of the US Government and their alphabet agencies to the front of the media, to the front of the general public and perhaps to people in power who actually have the abiltiy to change this scenerio.We the people have an obligation to LaVoy, his family and every other rancher, as well as ourselves to keep this conversation going. To not let what these men started to fail, to be lost or to be swept under the rug. I hope some of you will put yourselves in LaVoy's boots today. Ask yourself the question: If I was in his boots, what would I have done?