Gathering in St. George to remember LaVoy Finicum; commissioner comments

ST. GEORGE – Just as Iron County ranchers and others gathered in Parowan to remember Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was killed Wednesday in Oregon, individuals came together in St. George to do the same.

People gathered as the 5th District Courthouse in St. George to remember Arizona LaVoy Finicum who was killed in Oregon Tuesday, St. George Utah, Jan. 27, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News.
People gathered as the 5th District Courthouse in St. George to remember Arizona LaVoy Finicum who was killed in Oregon Tuesday, St. George Utah, Jan. 27, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News.

“We’re just here in commemoration of LaVoy Finicum,” demonstration participant Walter Parker said.

Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, was killed Tuesday during an altercation involving the FBI and Oregon State Police who were conducting what authorities described as a traffic stop that ended in gunfire.

Parker said the gathering, which took place at the 5th District Courthouse in St. George, was not a protest but rather a recognition of what Finicum was trying to do.

“He was trying to tell the rest of the country about our laws of public lands,” Parker said.

Robert Douberly, a neighbor of the Finicum family, said the Arizona rancher had visited Oregon last year and “realized the injustice that was happening with the Hammonds and he stayed there,” he said. “I don’t believe that he expected it to turn into what it did.”

“He just realized that the people there needed to know the laws of the Constitution,” Douberly said,” “and that was LaVoy Finicum.”

Around 20 to 25 people gathered at the courthouse for the event that took place at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Arizona Rancher LaVoy Finicum at a cattlemen meeting organized in opposition the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, Moccasin, Arizona, May 1, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News
Arizona Rancher LaVoy Finicum at a cattlemen meeting organized in opposition to the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, Moccasin, Arizona, May 1, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

The original event was planned by Iron County resident Phillip Gardner who announced his intention on an early-afternoon radio talk show. The event was subsequently extended to Washington County for anyone who wanted to pay tribute to Finicum’s memory.

“It certainly is a tragic situation that we had a loss of life up there,” Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner said. Gardner did not attend the demonstration. He supports the push to gain state-control over the public lands from the federal government as Finicum did, though expressed misgivings about the occupation at the Malheur Notational Wildlife Refuge.

“I totally understand the frustration they have with the (Bureau of Land Management), on the overreach,” Gardner said. “… The frustration just builds and builds and ultimately it led to this.”

Finicum was in Oregon with brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and several others who had occupied a vacant building at the refuge. They took over the building Jan. 2 following a protest against the pending imprisonment of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steven Hammond, 46, both of Diamond, Oregon.

The two were convicted of committing arson on federal lands three years ago and served time – the father three months, the son one year. But a judge later ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.

Gardner called the situation an example of federal overreach that could be avoided if the public lands were given to the states.

Local control, Gardner said, would work much better in the case of the Hammonds versus the overkill that can tend to come with overreaching federal policies.

Map detailing the location of public lands (marked in red). | Image courtesy of Arewenotastate.com
Map detailing the location of public lands (marked in red). | Image courtesy of Arewenotastate.com | Click to enlarge

Finicum went on to become one of the faces associated with the group occupying the wildlife refuge as he addressed reporters in press conferences early on.

On Tuesday, Finicum, the Bundy brothers and others were on U.S. 395 heading to a meeting with ranchers in John Day, Oregon. While en route, the group was stopped by the FBI and Oregon State Police who had warrants out for the arrest of certain individuals, Finicum being among them. During the encounter, Finicum was shot and killed and the Bundys and others were arrested.

Authorities have yet to release any official details surrounding the incident, though conflicting witness accounts have surfaced over social media.

As reported by The Oregonian, Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Mike Arnold, shared a statement from his client Wednesday, part of which reflected on Finicum’s death.

First I want to address my beloved friend LaVoy Finicum. LaVoy’s one of the greatest men and greatest patriots I’ve ever seen. His love for this country ran deep through the blood he gave yesterday and I mourn for him and I mourn for his family. I’m praying fervently for you in every prayer.

The Finicum family also released a statement Wednesday concerning LaVoy Finicum’s death.

We thank all those reaching out to us in love during this difficult time. Your faithful prayers are felt. Please keep praying and keep using your voice to get the truth out. This fight against tyranny is not over. Press forward.

Forgiveness is what we can extend and understanding is what we want.

Christ was and is LaVoy’s exemplar. Though there are evil and conspiring men at work, Christ still forgave the executioners for they knew not what they did.

“It’s basically a bad thing we hope has a good ending,” Parker said at the remembrance event for Finicum, “but I’m afraid if it’s left to the federal government, there’s gonna be more bloodshed.”

St. George News Reporter Julie Applegate contributed to this story.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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34 Comments

  • .... January 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

    No sympathy from me. It was his decision to get involved with that idiot Bundy. they all got what they deserve

    LOL ! Tell me how insensitive I am whaaaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaaa

    • Paula January 28, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      I don’t know why you think anyone in particular “wants” your sympathy. What is expected of a Human being and I assume you fit that description, is common courtesy.

      • .... January 29, 2016 at 2:14 am

        Stupid is as stupid does. Whaaaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaa

      • wolfhole January 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm

        Don’t pay attention to dogbreath (aka….January 28, he has been masquerading as a human being for a long time now. Makes one wonder if he might be a mutant pretending to have the whole DNA strand. Like a coyote he howls at the moon or anything that bothers him, and life seems to be a major complaint to him/her/it/??

        • .... January 29, 2016 at 7:24 pm

          Hey wolfhole LOL ! are you like rear end hole of a wolf ? hey wolfhole…no sympathy from me. he died like the idiot that he was. Whaaaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaaa I’ll try not to loose any sleep over the fact that you don’t like me. LOL ! HA HA HA !

      • .... January 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Hey Paula ! call Al Sharpton and ask him what he thinks ! LOL !

  • Accountable January 28, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Please publish the details for an organized event to memorialize Mr. Finicum, show support for his family and cause, and provide a forum to discuss the issues that led to his death.

    • Bender January 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Yes, this! Armed revolt, sedition and suicide by cop are the new cool. Let’s go both barrels on this one and just declare that any cowboy who carries a pocket version of the constitution in his snap button western shirt and throws in with the Bundy’s loony take on public lands automatically has his “calling and election made sure”. This way any depravities they commit during the coming armed insurrection will not affect their eternal reward.

    • Chris January 28, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      The only issue leading to his death was stupidity.

      • .... January 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        Yep ! stupid is as stupid does !

    • Accountable January 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Mr. Finicum’s funeral will be held on Friday, February 5, 2016. Visitation is 11-2 at 1436 S. McAllister Drive, Kanab, UT. Funeral is 2:30-4.

  • Paula January 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Education is the key. Too many people have no understanding of the underlying issues and see this only as “welfare queen” ranchers trying to take advantage of the “peoples” land. Or “Armed Militants” taking over ” taking over “Public land”. There is no understanding of the prior use rights these ranchers hold and no understanding that as long as they hold them the Federal government cannot invalidate the right of way easements or the prior use water right interests that have given ranchers a right to use these lands for more than a century. The “grazing fee” was originally an “Improvement fund fee” under which the “fee” paid was divided as follows: 50% to range improvements, 25% to the State the land is in for roads, schools, etc. in lieu of the tax dollars that might have been received if it were private, and 25% to the agency administering the land for surveys and other expenses. It was never RENT.
    The right of ways continue to exist until the land is sold to someone who does not choose to use them or the rights are bought back by the Federal Government. This is why the AUM (the method of calculating the number of animals that can graze an allotment) reduction is the method the Federal government uses to drive the ranchers off the land. Once it becomes impossible to make a living on the numbers “permitted” the Federal government hopes the ranchers will give up and sell those allotments. They cannot just be “taken” or the improvements and the ROWs must be paid for. If those right of ways are invalidated in this manner it won’t take long before the access to public land areas is restricted in a manner that begins to affect all other uses. Hikers, bikers, hunters, nature lovers. If the roads are closed then the only way in is on foot and anyone who can’t walk in can’t enjoy. So the next time someone wants to bad mouth ranchers just remember, the rights they are trying to protect might just be yours.

    • Bender January 28, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      Exactly Paula, education IS the key. Take care though not to be “educated” by a nitwit. Your take on grazing “rights” does not mesh with what the courts have decided. A rancher holds a grazing permit to run his cattle on lands held by the federal government for the benefit of ALL citizens of the U.S. The rancher does not own this land and has no “right” to it, he shares it with the rest of us. We expect that he be a good steward of the range land and the BLM is in place to make sure that he is. The fees charged for this permit are FAR below market rates — almost 10 times lower.
      .
      If the Bundys and their ilk find the heavily subsidized grazing costs on public lands too rich for their blood, I suggest they man up and buy their own range land. Welfare Queen is exactly the right description for Cliven Bundy.

    • Chris January 28, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      If “education” is the key, you have failed miserably. The prior use rights you reference do not exist, and have never existed, in American jurisprudence as applied to grazing. There are, in fact, no codified grazing rights in any law in this country. You have apparently been listening to crackpot legal theorists like Cliven Bundy and Bryan Hyde. Try looking a legitimate legal source for your information about the law.

    • Accountable January 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      And, two of the idiot posters on this site — bender and chris — are trying to relegate our ranchers to “welfare queens”. First off, ranchers WORK their land and cattle (on land considered worthless before URANIUM and other MINING operations) while welfare recipients collect money from our hard-earned paychecks for doing NOTHING never RECIPROCATING never ASSIMILATING into society for generations. EDUCATE YOURSELVES — HAVE YOU EVER WORKED A RANCH OR A FARM?

      Total number of Americans on welfare 110,489,000
      Total number of Americans on food stamps 41,700,000
      Total number of Americans on unemployment insurance 10,200,000
      Percent of the US population on welfare 35.4 %
      Total government spending on welfare annually (not including food stamps or unemployment) $131,900,000,000

      • Accountable January 28, 2016 at 5:56 pm

        So, tell me, how many ranchers are there out there collecting welfare?

        • 42214 January 28, 2016 at 6:49 pm

          What do you call farm subsidies?

        • Bender January 28, 2016 at 7:25 pm

          Well I know of at least one down in Bunkerville squatting on 100,000 acres of public land and owning the rest of us $1 million. I guess I call that welfare. You can call it heroic patriotism and we’ll just agree to disagree.

        • Chris January 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm

          The point here that you seem incapable of understanding is that ranchers who use public lands to graze cattle are being subsidized by the taxpayer because they pay less than the market rate to the federal government for their grazing privilege. That is a fact. So, Bender is completely justified in calling these Bundy’s, and their ilk, welfare queens. BTW, I have worked a ranch, and apparently, understand much more about the economics of cattle ranching than you do. Maybe, you are one of these welfare queens yourself.

    • .... January 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Hey Paula…blah blah blah
      Shoot’em all and be done with it !

  • Proud Rebel January 28, 2016 at 11:37 am

    There is quite a combination of things going on to drive the small rancher out of business. And one of the biggest is the huge commercial meat packers and feeders. If they can get the feds to kill off these independent ranchers, it is more money in their pockets. And, it doesn’t make them look like the “bad guys.”

    • Bender January 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Proud Hillbilly — Economics is driving many small ranchers out of business. This has been happening with ranching and agriculture for the past 100+ years. Both sets of my grandparents ranched and farmed. None of their close to 100 descendants now ranch or farm. It’s the free market at work.
      .
      We heavily subsidize public lands ranchers now. Now you loons want the federal government to just give away millions of acres of land belonging to the citizens of the USA to the states. Why don’t you guys just admit your lefty tendencies, vote for Bernie, get gay married and make it official you are full blow socialists.

    • Chris January 28, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      You are amazingly ignorant of the cattle industry. The western ranchers who run cattle on public lands represent an insignificant percentage of the overall beef market. The “commercial” interests you refer to care nothing about them.

  • Real Life January 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    “Though there are evil and conspiring men……”. Yep. Those Bundys are never a conspiring bunch. LOL!

  • anybody home January 28, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    To the people of Oregon, including those who want to see some changes in how Federal lands are managed, LaVoy Finicum was a criminal. And he was an arrogant and cocky criminal at that. He boasted about how he and they were going to “win” because God had told them they were supposed to be there at the Malheur Refuge – a beautiful place in Oregon that did not deserve what the Bundy gang did to it. He promenaded around with his rifle and his handgun and made a lot of claims. But when the going got tough, he didn’t stay so tough. Like the rest of them – now in jail and a couple of others still whining for mercy – Finicum couldn’t take the heat. It is a coward’s way to commit suicide by cop. He was no hero. And neither are any of the rest of these criminals. Oregon is paying the price for their actions. They won nothing. They deserve less.

  • Giuseppe January 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    There was nothing peaceful about these guys. They went up there with a lot of weapons, what other outcome could there be? If you don’t like something there are better ways to protest and make changes than to take weapons and DEMAND the release of convicted felons. Now the Bundy’s can occupy a much smaller piece of Federally controlled property and when they are done with this new occupation by invitation they will no longer be allowed to own or carry weapons (being convicted felons). Praise God, for he does work in strange yet glorious ways.

  • KarenS January 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Let’s be clear about the facts of the occupation of the Malheur Bird Refuge. The article states that, “Finicum was in Oregon with brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy and several others who had occupied a vacant building at the refuge.” The actual facts are that a group of at least a dozen armed people took over many of the buildings at the Refuge on a Saturday afternoon. There are 16 local people who worked there and have been unable to report for work during the occupation. The occupiers took over many of the buildings and used government equipment to grade roads, tear down a fence and make other “improvements” for ranching under the delusional notion that the land would be “given” back to some former owners even though the Refuge has existed for more than 100 years. The videos and pictures of what they did are all out there for everyone to see.

    And now their sympathizers are saying that is was a peaceful protest because they didn’t point guns at people and even compared it to sit-ins during the civil rights movements. What a crock! The occupiers had guns and several of them said they would use them. It is all on videotape. Hardly peaceful.

  • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    this local control and state control of public lands nonsense is just a scheme to try to privatize all public land. We’ve seen time and time again the corruption and cronyism of utah politicians–imagine them controlling and dispersing of the land. These are the last group i’d want to give control of of any public land. These welfare queen ranchers would just like the feds to deed them over 1000s of acres of land for nothing. we know that mormons “conservatives” are the worst enemy of wilderness conservation and we can thank the lord that they have been stopped from grabbing more land thus far.

  • delong January 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    The conspiracy theories going around are truly amazing. Apparently it’s okay to take over a federal building while armed now days, but only if you belong to the good ole boys club. Or is it a Mormon thing?

  • .... January 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    GOOD JOB law enforcement ! well done you just helped make the world a better place !

  • .... January 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    You know what’s really funny about the whole incident is that there is no public outcry from Al Sharpton over a police shooting. Oops I forgot it was a white guy that got shot ! my bad

    • anybody home January 29, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      An armed white guy who had taunted the law by saying he’d not be taken alive.

  • anybody home January 29, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Breaking news from Portland, Oregon: The Bundy boys will be locked up until their trial. As will a couple of the others and possibly more. The judge is still considering that. These guys, including Finicum, indicted themselves via social media – sending out twitter and youtube messages and videos daily filming the mayhem and smirking about it, making threats, acting like the twits they are and it’s all on record. How dumb can you be?

    One of their problems, of course, is that they have no buddies in the legal system in Oregon, no cousins and uncles and other pals to let them off easy.

    As for the Hammonds, the purported reason they went to Oregon, the Hammonds are known as bad actors and have been engaged in criminal activity for the last many years. It ranges from grazing where they were not allowed to graze to child abuse (ever sanded a child’s chest?) and other miscellaneous actions – like setting fires. I laughed to read here that Finicum decided Oregonians need to learn about the Constitution. What an arrogant and misguided man he was. Well, I guess the Oregonians taught him and the others a few things about the law. Oregonians were not the ones who needed to learn about the law.

    Now with the boys in the clink for a good long while, perhaps the law will catch up with Cliven Bundy, too. That would be a joy to watch.

  • .... January 30, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Line them all up and shoot them all . and let’s concentrate on the superbowl !

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