Perspectives: Justice for the Finicum family will be justice for all of us

Composite includes images from Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION – On the second anniversary of LaVoy Finicum’s death, I had the privilege of spending some time with his widow, Jeanette Finicum.

We spoke about our favorite memories of LaVoy and discussed the wrongful death lawsuit that Jeanette has filed against those who may bear direct or indirect responsibility in his killing. I was struck by a number of realizations as we visited.

First, and most importantly, the driving forces behind this lawsuit are justice and accountability for the various agencies and individuals who played a role in LaVoy Finicum’s death. The entire Finicum family has been on the receiving end of a monstrous injustice.

Rather than railing about vengeance or calling for blood, the Finicum family has consistently taken the high road over the past two years.

When they seek justice for LaVoy Finicum, the family is seeking the kind of accountability that would discourage the sort of hubristic, lawless dishonesty and violence that has been directed at their family from happening to others.

The Finicums have borne the indignities of false accusations, taunting and abuse from individuals who live to make others as miserable as they are.

One of the greatest moral downfalls of our current society is a near universal abandonment of the ability to show empathy for others — whether we agree with them or not. This is the reason that some people choose to cheer, jeer and celebrate when others are suffering.

Curiously, when we see this kind of contempt play out in other cultures that openly celebrate the deaths or maiming of Americans harmed in violent attacks, it sends us into a spittle-flinging frenzy. Still, we lack the self-awareness to recognize the irony of our chosen double standard.

One possible reason for this disconnect is that the government and media narrative of what actually happened in Oregon two years ago, is ridiculously incomplete. To get a sense of how the omission of critical details can distort and mislead the public, please examine the wrongful death complaint filed by Finicum’s attorneys.

Read the complaint here: 20180125 Finicum v USA et al. Complaint

It’s worth the time it takes to read all 48 pages of the complaint just to get a sense of the dishonest lengths that people in power will go to in order to maintain their sense of control over others.

One of the most damning bits of information regarding the indefensible decision by authorities to set up the ambush in which LaVoy Finicum was killed is found on page 33 of the complaint.

It points out that at the time of the so-called “traffic stop”:

(T)here was still no arrest warrant, sworn affidavit or probable cause statement, criminal complaint or indictment against LaVoy Finicum, or any of the passengers in these vehicles.

Members of both the FBI and Oregon State Police testified in the 2016 trial that resulted in the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and six other defendants that they could not have identified specific legal reasons for the stop.

Read more: Jury acquits Bundys and five other defendants charged with conspiring against the federal government

In other words, the portrayal of the events in Oregon as a “standoff” or “terrorist event” was nothing more than legal fiction created by people in authority who allowed themselves to be led astray by artificial rules. It was those same authorities who set in motion a deadly trap in which there was absolutely no margin for error.

Had these authorities not unnecessarily escalated the situation, it’s a near certainty that LaVoy Finicum would have been acquitted along with Ammon and Ryan Bundy in Oregon.

Few of the people who still rail against that acquittal have ever stepped outside the boundaries of the official narrative to consider the facts that the jury was able to consider before rendering its decision to acquit. Their lust for revenge continues to outpace their love of justice and blinds them to the authentic wrongs done by individuals in authority.

This is why, following the dismissal of charges against the Bundys earlier this month in Las Vegas, many people still tend to hyper-focus on what they think the Bundys got away with rather than the proven wrongdoing in which our government was caught.

Read more: Las Vegas federal judge dismisses case against Cliven Bundy, 2 sons

It’s very telling that the folks who are most vocal about their hatred of both the Finicums and the Bundys are those whose views have been entirely dependent upon the official narrative. Most of them haven’t spent time in the courtroom or examined any of the legal documentation for themselves to understand what they are missing.

Curiously, even when they’re confronted with facts that provide greater context or broader perspective of the situation, they’ll cling to their narrative as if super glued to it.

They’d rather be wrong with the crowd than risk having to assimilate new truth into their thinking.

Whether or not a degree of justice for the Finicum family is realized in federal court, we’d be wise to remember that an inescapable Universal accountability awaits each of us eventually.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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30 Comments

  • Blemonds January 29, 2018 at 8:14 am

    The case of Lavoy Finicum is one in which justice was served on a snowy bank in Oregon. Finicum controlled the circumstances of the situation, and he chose death, perhaps martyrdom in his mind. The facts are that others in the situation chose to surrender when confronted by police, and they are still alive. Finicum chose to resist, fled from police, tried to blow through a road block, narrowly missed strile a law enforcement officer with his vehicle, jumped from said vehicle yelling that officers would have to shoot him, reached for his pocket as if going for a gun, not once but twice, and was ultimately shot. Law enforcement showed amazing restraint by not shooting him the first time. Finicum was suspected to be armed, behaved as if armed and prepared to shoot the officers, and indeed was discovered to be armed with a 9mm Ruger SR9. Finicum held the choice of life or death in his own hands, He chose death. Justice has been served

    • PogoStik January 29, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Agreed!

    • dons8120 January 29, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Very well said, I agree 100%.

    • Real Life January 30, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Exactly Blemonds. Finicum chose his own fate, and I have zero sympathy for him.

  • L January 29, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Excellent report Mr Hyde, Thank You!

  • voice of reason January 29, 2018 at 9:57 am

    “Go ahead and shoot me!”
    “You’re going to have to shoot me!”
    La Voy Finicum got what he asked for, though it probably wasn’t what he wanted. Justice will be served when the courts throw the suit out and Bryan Hyde is unemployed.

  • 12345 January 29, 2018 at 10:18 am

    He got just what he deserved

  • prryjs January 29, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Although that is the narrative that the government would have you believe, and that is the one that was fed to you by the media, I believe that you will see it differently when the truth comes out, much like it did with the Bundy’s. When we are able to uncover everything that has been hidden, and prove that they were entrapped in a “kill stop” to purposefully create a situation in which they could “justify” shooting them all, then your idea of justice may just change. In no way had they ever acted violently. Even though some carried guns on the refuge, there was never a threat against anyone, and locals, media, etc. came into the occupation freely without fear for their lives. Lavoy and the others had gone to several “town hall meetings” and had met with law enforcement. If they really just wanted to arrest them they could have done it at any of these different times. Instead they chose to confront them at what they initially called a “traffic stop” in the middle of no where while they were on their way to another meeting where they were going to educate people on their rights. Lavoy stopped his truck and let them know that they were headed to meet the sheriff and that they could follow them if they wanted but he wanted protection from the Sheriff because he did not trust the FBI. They shot at his truck when one of them stuck their heads out the window. The FBI was trying to get them to start a gun fight. Instead, Lavoy in fear for the safety of his passengers which included two women, one a young girl who was going to sing at the meeting they were headed to. In route Lavoy on a corner where he didn’t have much time to react encountered a “kill stop”, or a blockade which was in a spot which required him to either run into the blockage giving police the ability to open fire. Law enforcement opened fire as soon as they saw the truck, and Lavoy drove into the snow embankment. You also see in the video that an officer thought it important enough to risk his life to jump out in front of the truck to get a shot off at the passengers. Lavoy immediately jumped out and said shoot me because he was trying to protect his passengers who were under fire. They shot him immediately although his hands were in the air and his hands went down to his side where he had been shot and they continued to shoot him.

    After this they continued to shoot at the truck with rubber bullets and real bullets. During the encounter Ryan Bundy also received a bullet in his shoulder.

    What do we know already? From the Bundy trial we know that the FBI had done threat assessments on the Bundy’s several times and determined that they were not violent, and would not use violence, but that they would get in your face. Why were they so “afraid” of these protesters who never threatened anyone. Why does law enforcement always escalate situations as to allow them to play with their military toys? They could have just left them alone. The protestors were occupying a public land which was closed for the season, and weren’t hurting a thing.

    What we also know is that there has already been an FBI agent indicted due to the fact that he lied about that fact that he had opened fire and shot his gun and got caught with his buddies trying to pick up the shell casings so that there would not be any evidence. Metro turned him in because they saw that the FBI was going to try and turn this on them. The FBI escalated the situation and Metro reacted after the FBI opened fire.

    What we want to know? Why was the video they released so blurry when we know the FBI’s equipment is better that what civilians have, which is also better that what was provided. Why have they not returned the truck, or allowed anyone to see it? Why did they shoot at them at the first stop? Why did Greg Bretzing FBI agent in charge, who has been involved in other controversial, and unlawful activity in UT, retire shortly after this shooting?

    This is only a small portion of what is to be opened up in court. The government will try to hide, but these attorney’s will do like they did with the Bundy case and expose details that most won’t want to accept that their government is willing to carry out against it’s own citizens. Shut down these unconstitutional federal, militarized policing agencies.

    • tcrider January 29, 2018 at 11:19 am

      next time the government will use snipers instead and hopefully take
      out way more than one person. the finkiums are not messangers of
      God and Lavoy chose suicide by hand in pocket, how stupid could he be?
      I only hope than the Bundy blowhard gang tries something and maybe
      we will see a few more taken out.

      • prryjs January 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

        What are you 15? Why would you wish harm on anyone, let alone someone who hasn’t caused harm to anyone else. More importantly against those who take a stand against a government that oversteps its authority. We should be supporting people like this. You are swayed by what you read in the news too much my friend. You are a puppet to the propaganda machine.

        • tcrider January 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

          I call it, how I see it, a bunch of white trash welfare cases
          looking for a free handout. you are a numskull that uses
          the good book for your own personal financial gain and any
          excuse to try and make the government look bad. The only
          one that should be held accountable for lavoy finkiums death
          is the leader of the blowhard bundy bunch, Cliven period

          • ladybugavenger January 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm

            How do I sign up for the “white trash welfare case looking for a handout” group? I’m tired of working lol I’m white and I don’t get handed nothing. I’m gonna protest hahaha where’s my white privilege? I want to cash in on that.

          • 12345 January 30, 2018 at 8:27 pm

            hey lba I’m white and I have some leftover trash you can have if that helps LOL ! …btw I think ( white trash ) is offensive so I will use the term ( pale garbage )

    • KarenS January 29, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      I’ve read the Deschutes County investigative reports and watched the videos and your “narrative” has a multitude of factual errors. The reports and videos are all publicly available. First, the Bundys were not “occupying a public land which was closed for the season”. It was just a Saturday so no one was there and the building clearly was marked “employees only”. It was a federal building and not “public land”. Ammon Bundy himself said that they all had weapons so they “would be taken seriously”. The threat assessments you referenced were made before Bunkerville, nothing to do with Malheur.

      At the first stop, one person from Finicum’s truck did exit the vehicle. This was after the person put his hands outside the vehicle and a sponge shot was fired which hit the mirror. Finicum himself asked if the two women wanted to get out but they refused. At the first stop, the state police identified themselves. Everyone in Ammon’s vehicle were arrested safely at the first stop. At the first stop, Finicum also yelled at the police that they would have to shoot him. Finicum decided to try and drive the 50 miles at 70 mph. He had time to stop before he reached the roadblock. Later road tests were run that proved that fact.

      From the video it appears that the FBI agent was almost hit by the truck but jumped away in time. Finicum jumped out of the truck, again saying they would have to shoot him. He approached a state police officer armed only with a taser, ignored commands from law enforcement, and reached inside his coat several times. At that point, three shots were fired at him which were later ruled justified. A gun which had been given to Finicum by a relative was found on him.

      There were a total of three bullets shot at the truck. Two as the truck approached the roadblock and were found justified. Under Oregon law, Finicum’s truck was being used as a weapon. One other shot was fired which hit the truck roof. There are photos publicly available of the truck. Just google it. All the other rounds were flashbangs or sponge bullets.

      As for the lawsuit, that is up to a court of law. To me, it is incredibly sad that LaVoy Finicum himself made the choices which led to his death.

  • Who January 29, 2018 at 11:28 am

    So tc,,,you hope more people die???

    • tcrider January 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      only if they represent the triple B( blowhard bundy bunch)
      anyone that takes up arms against the government, including
      interfering with any public election from either side should be held
      accountable and I wish would become fair game.

      • mesaman January 29, 2018 at 8:34 pm

        Run, don’t walk, to the nearest psychotherapist and beg him to take you as a patient. You really, really, really need anger counseling; and a lot of reality therapy would help, as well.

        • tcrider January 29, 2018 at 10:54 pm

          you need help more than me if you support
          the bundy bunch taking up arms against the government,
          I hope you stand right in the very front of the group at your
          next cheer-leading session.

          • mesaman January 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm

            Get your mommie to read my comment to you, fool. You obviously have no shield against criticism which goes well with the diagnosis involuntary anger. As for the reality therapy, you are right, it wouldn’t help. You lost all sense of reality when you believed the Hildebeast garbage.

  • chris keele January 29, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Thank you Bryan for your well written explanation of the facts, and thank you for the time and concern you showed for Mrs. Finicum and the family, also thank you prryjs for your well written and informative contribution in the post that most people with common knowledge should be able to follow, this is a very good and concise description of what occurred in Oregon. To reinforce the narrative of what is written here, I see that the #2 in FBI Andrew McCabe has just announced his early departure this morning from the Bureau, maybe we can get this whole mess cleaned up pretty soon, and get our top law enforcement agencies back working on the right side of history now so we can avoid these kinds of situations in the future.

  • bikeandfish January 29, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    They deserve Justice like anyone else. If their lawsuit has merit it will proceed. If they have enough evidence to support their wrongful death civil suit they will be awarded money.

    The number of logical fallacies Hyde employs in these essays is staggering. He does a disservice to the values and ideals he claims to represent.

  • Real Life January 29, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    This guy was not a hero. Not even close. When one is upset about government over-reach, it is best to not OVER -REACH, yourself.

  • General Seamstress January 29, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    A. I agree with u. B. I feel the same way about vaccinez too. Until the cd c comes out and says tey do tremendous harm to a much larger group than originally thought and that those killed, maimed or brain damaged r real and collateral damage to society.. Ppl will beat antivaxxers to death verbally even when confronted w clear govt studies, they will still deny the terrible truth about vaccinex

    • PatriotLiberal January 30, 2018 at 12:55 am

      Why don’t you post one of those “clear govt studies” you’re raving about. If it hasn’t been soundly debunked 10+ times I’ll consider it.

    • redrock4 January 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      What? Is there a vaccine against being beaten to death verbally? Sign me up.

  • Eric January 30, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Mr. Hyde, you underestimate your detractors, and those of us who have correctly identified the Bundys as common crooks, and their followers as a de facto cult. While I was not present in the courtroom, I followed both of these cases closely and I’ve read many, many of the court documents for both the Bunkerville Standoff and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. I trudged through Ryan Bundy’s multiple gibberish ‘sovereign citizen’ motions (which were clearly designed to bury the court in paper), and marveled at Shawna Cox’s criminal complaint in which she sought $666 billion in damages “from the works of the devil” against local, state and federal public employees. The Bundys and their cult members’ shenanigans have cost taxpayers millions of dollars, so there is ample justification for people focusing on “what they think the Bundys got away with rather than the proven wrongdoing in which our government was caught”. Simply put, Cliven Bundy found a means of defrauding the American public (the ‘We the people’ the Bundy cult often refer to) by not paying 23 years worth of grazing fees by claiming non-existant water rights on public lands (among other things), and by claiming that the federal government could not own land (which is incorrect). “We the people” will not allow the Bundys to impose their perverted interpretation of the US Constitution upon us. Federal land ownership has been upheld by the Supreme Court and the Property Clause of the Constitution has been used by the Supreme Court to justify the legality of the retention of federal lands repeatedly, for over a century. If there’s something to fault the government for, it’s for letting the Bundys get away with not paying their grazing fees for 23 years before taking action.

    As for Mr. Finicum, in what state can you evade arrest, nearly run over a LEO, refuse to follow orders to stay in your vehicle, and tell LE that you can’t stop because you have to meet someone elsewhere who’s more sympathetic to your cause? That will get you shot everywhere, justifiably. To compound matters, Lavoy was armed and there was an arsenal of weapons in his vehicle. What exactly entitled Mr. Finicum to special privileges and kid gloves in this situation? And if you’re wondering what justification the police had, you can start by acknowledging that the occupants of the vehicle had illegally taken over a federal building at gunpoint and were essentially holding it hostage until their demands were met. You may disagree with the media’s ‘narrative’, but the fraudulent, re-imagined ‘narrative’ of the Bundy cult is obvious to anyone who’s been following these trials.

    Mr. Hyde, I understand that your role in this matter is to launder the Bundys’ image into something less obviously criminal and more palatable to the public at large. But you’re championing scofflaws, and the stench of criminality (from both the Bundys and their traveling circus of career criminals, delusional parasites and grifters) is inescapable. You can’t, as they say, polish a turd.

    • Lefty January 30, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Hey Bryan – Are you going to just let this guy say all these mean things about your heroes (and you as well)?
      How about a point-to-point rebuttal?
      We’ll wait.

  • Death Valley January 30, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Another “patriot” giving us his opinion.
    “Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own.”
    Indeed they are his own. And not many people share that opinion.

    • redrock4 January 30, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Funny how in the article Bryan includes the statement, “. . . assimilate new truth into their thinking” – clearly not something he is capable of in his weird, paranoid anti-government rants.

      • mesaman January 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

        . . . . .and the thought zombies road off into the west thinking their dead and dying thoughts and muttering “allahu akbar”.

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