Uncertainty in the wake of the Oregon arrests

The members of the militia arrested by the FBI could face ten years or more in prison for their actions. It is not clear what will happen if and when they post bail and get out of jail. After all this tough talk about fighting government tyranny, will they meekly show up for trial or will they again defy the government to come and get them, this time from a more fortified position? Recall that Cliven Bundy still roams free on the family ranch. If Ammon and Ryan Bundy go back to their father’s ranch and refuse to attend their trial, what then?

The authorities are expected to hold a press conference later in the day to report on what happened yesterday.

LaVoy Finicum, a spokesperson for the Oregon militia group who was killed yesterday, had said just before his death that the tone of the federal authorities had changed, as if they were getting ready to take action.

“We used to be able to walk up to the FBI agents and talk to them in a friendly manner and stuff,” he explained. “But the tenor has changed, they have become more hardened. And when they step out of their vehicles now, they step out with their rifles. And they’re not willing to engage in just friendly dialog.”

“Why the rattling of the sabre?” he asked. “Why when we’re so far away from anybody, why are you ramping it up? Why do you fly your planes over us non-stop and why do you have your drones. Because they do, they’re droning us now.”

“All the things show that they want to take some kinetic action against us. And we’re saying, why be so unfriendly? Why be so threatening? Why are you threatening lethal force when we’re so far away?”

Finicum added that all of the FBI’s behavior was “in preparation of a campaign of some sort.”

He was correct.

Finicum had been openly shuttling back and forth between the refuge and his farm back in Utah. Finicum had been in the news recently when the state took away the foster children in his home. The allowance he received from the state had apparently been his main source of income.

Utah resident Chris Zinda had written about Finicum before and about two weeks ago on one of the latter’s trips back to Utah. Zinda was surprised to hear that Finicum was being interviewed by a local radio station. So with his children in tow, he waited in the parking lot for him and talked after the show was over.

Fifteen minutes later, out comes LaVoy and his wife, holding hands and smiling, like they’re lovers and friends rather than husband and wife. It was nice to see.

The kids prepared and attentive, me feeling kinda creepy but resolute, I get out of the car, approach them, and state who I am – thankfully to no shock. I state my purpose: “I have written about you and have come to respect you. I heard you on the radio and felt an obligation to finally meet you, to shake your hand and tell you so. So, here I am.”

No. The Lord didn’t tell me to go.

A journalist friend said to me portending earlier in the day, “Why are these motherfuckers always so nice?” And, true to word, LaVoy and his lovely wife seem to be very nice people. They were gracious when I stated my intent, each held out their hands without reserve for a friendly firm handshake, and they referenced knowledge my work.

I asked no questions about the stand off, only made reference of my feeling of need to shake his hand and meet him. “I would love to have a long talk with you in the future when this is all over,” referencing my background and interests. I find his distorted views on the Constitution and of natural law, prior appropriation and local governance deeply fascinating from a political science viewpoint. Both LaVoy and his better half said they’d like that, Mrs. Finicum making reference with great concern in her eyes to the danger and uncertainty of the situation, and if and where that conversation may be.

That is not unusual. Human beings are complex. People with views diametrically opposed to one’s own, and even those that are utterly abhorrent, can often be very nice in person.


  1. raym says

    “Why the rattling of the sabre?” Seriously? The dimwit actually said that? But wasn’t that the entire point of their exercise? Wasn’t their ultimate fantasy to have a showdown with the big bad government?

  2. Matt G says

    What intellectual and emotional adolescents these people are! They repeatedly provoke, and then whine when those provoked respond, and in a quite reasonable manner at that.

  3. John Morales says

    … with great concern in her eyes […]

    I can’t take anyone who would write something like that seriously.


  4. Heidi Nemeth says

    I am glad I am not Mrs. Finicum. First her husband leaves her for a dangerous mission. Then the government takes away her foster children and her source of livelihood. Finally, the government kills her husband. No matter what services the government may provide her in the future, I think she will always feel the government has done her irreparable harm.

  5. John Morales says


    … I think she will always feel the government has done her irreparable harm.

    Why do you belittle her so? She might yet come to her senses.

    The cause of the harm was her husband; if he had smashed his head onto a brick wall and killed himself, would you also think it appropriate for her to blame the brick wall?

  6. StevoR says

    @ Heidi Nemeth : Seems the government provided her with quite a lot in the past & I’m not sure you -- or her -- can really blame the government for his death given what he was likely doing at the time. (Still not sure on the details here.) Given his statements and behaviour and provocation of the authorities in the lead up to his death -- throughout the whole Malhouer takeover land theft and nature reserve violation -- I think its fair to say a good portion of the blame is on LaVoy Finicum himself.

  7. StevoR says

    It is not clear what will happen if and when they post bail and get out of jail. After all this tough talk about fighting government tyranny, will they meekly show up for trial or will they again defy the government to come and get them, this time from a more fortified position?

    I think and hope for that reason that bail is denied to them all. I don’t think the judges in charge of their bail hearings if there is one should or would ignore that possibility. ( I am NOT a lawyer but that’s gotta make sense surely? Where’s John Pieret when you need him eh?)

  8. StevoR says

    I hope this Malheur siege ends soon and well. But especially I want it to end without (more) casualties. I don’t want them “martyred” in the eyes of the fools who (might?) follow them (with snacks even!) however ludicrous that is. I want them arrested and charged fully with all of their crimes and made to serve long hard time. And revealed in their full patheticness and uselessness and worthlessness for all to undeniably see even the most deluded.

    Take ’em alive, charge em and use the disinfectant of sunlight and due process and trail then punish them with the lack of glory in what they’ve done and deny what they sought. If that means it takes a lot longer involving boring and starving them out, so be it.

  9. raven says

    Finally, the government kills her husband.

    I don’t see that at all!!!

    Lavoy Finicum died doing what he loved. Terrorizing a small town in southeastern Oregon, threatening to kill people, stealing from the taxpayers, and trying to kill cops.

    PS BTW, LaVoy Finicum committed suicide by cop. He said he would and that is what he did. He didn’t have to grab for a gun in front of a SWAT team. We are all responsible for our actions in the end.

  10. lorn says

    I think the shift in demeanor of the authorities had to do with both belligerent action from inside the refuge, threats against local and state law enforcement, much of it informal, and the state and local officials starting to lose patience with the situation and costs imposed upon them.

    These pieces were, in effect, playing right into federal authorities hands. The threats reinforced the idea that this was a group of potentially very violent outlaws imposing their narrow views and burdens upon the peaceful people of Harney County. At the same time the vast majority of the complaints coming from local and state authorities undercut the idea that this was a insurrection against federal authority but in support of local control. Refusing to comply with local control undermines the blinkered Freemen legal arguments because the Sheriff is supposed to have preeminent legal authority in their legal interpretation. They aren’t even complying with the legal authority they do recognize.

    Well played FBI, well played.

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