Mormon Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum was killed on the night of January 26 as the militia standoff near Burns, Oregon, came to a head. Famously, Finicum, 55, had told the media on January 6 that he would choose death over surrender. His death was confirmed by Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who wrote on Twitter:
Finicum was killed during a traffic stop, reports CNN. He died one day before his 56th birthday.
Oregon Public Radio reports that Finicum and some of his comrades were pulled over around 4:30 p.m. local time between the towns of Burns and John Day. In a clash with state police and FBI agents, five men and one woman were arrested, and Finicum was killed.
Since January 2, activists have been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Those armed protesters, led in part by Ammon Bundy, were protesting the sentence of Dwight and Steve Hammond, who were found guilty of committing arson on federal land.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cliven Bundy Said Finicum Was Sacrificed ‘for a Good Purpose’
Finicum, whose full name was Robert LaVoy Finicum, was a neighbor of Cliven Bundy’s ranch, where the infamous 2014 ranch standoff occurred. They were neighbors despite Finicum living in Arizona and Bundy living in Nevada. On January 5, 2016, Finicum told NBC News that he may want to go home to Arizona soon, saying, “I need to get home. I got cows that are scattered and lost.”
When he heard about the recent arrests and death, Cliven Bundy, who is Ammon Bundy’s father, told Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce, “Isn’t this a wonderful country we live in?” He added, “We believe those federal people shouldn’t even be there in that state, and be in that county and have anything to do with this issue. … I have some sons and other people there trying to protect our rights and liberties and freedoms, and now we’ve got one killed, and I can say is, he’s sacrificed for a good purpose.”
The resolve for principled liberty must go on. It appears that America was fired upon by our government. One of liberty’s finest patriots is fallen. He will not go silent into eternity. Our appeal is to heaven.
2. During the Standoff in Oregon, Finicum Had Become Known as ‘Tarp Man’
An MSNBC report on the standoff dubbed Finicum “Tarp Man” as he could be seen covered in a blue tarp with a rocking chair during the incident. When asked by NBC News why he chose to sit out in such a visible position, he said that he wanted officers to be able to find him. Finicum said, “I do not want the FBI federal agents to have to go running around in the dark, kicking in doors looking for me, OK? I want them to know exactly where I’m at.” He added, chillingly, “I’m telling them right now — don’t point guns at me.”
3. He Posted a Video of His Family Singing ‘Amazing Grace’ Just Hours Before His Death
On his Twitter page, Finicum went by the moniker “@OneCowboysStand.” His bio on the page reads, “Rancher, Loves Freedom and willing to fight and die defending it.” His last Twitter post was a video of a group of children singing “Amazing Grace.” His Twitter pseudonym is taken from his book title, One Cowboy’s Last Stand for Freedom. In an interview with NBC News, Finicum said that he would rather be killed than arrested, saying, “I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box. There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them. I’m prepared to defend freedom.”
According to Mormon tradition, cremation is not encouraged and a proper funeral burial is preferred.
4. He Was a Man Who Loved ‘Nothing More in Life Than God, Family & Freedom’
On his official website, Finicum wrote:
As he has watched the ever increasing encroachment of government into the lives of the American people he has felt to make a stand for freedom. He has drawn a line in the sand and that line is the Constitution in its original intent.
The Constitution of the United States of America is a charter to protect the freedom of man by putting strict limits on government. We are living in a day when that supreme law of the land has been shredded by the very government that took an oath to uphold it. By their actions the Federal Government has become lawless and stalks the liberties of this land under the guise of social justice.
Shown below are LaVoy and Jeanette’s 11 children. This is why freedom is so important!
He describes himself as a rancher who “loves nothing more in life than God, family, and freedom.”
Meanwhile, on his wife, Jeanette’s LinkedIn page, she lists foster care provider as her full-time job. During his involvement in the Malheur standoff, the 11 foster children that were in the care of Finicum have been taken away. Finicum complained that those children were his and his wife’s major source of labor and money on their ranch, reported Time.
One of the couple’s daughters, Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, told the Oregonian that she wasn’t worried for her father’s safety during the standoff. She said, “I talked to him, and he said they were telling people to go if they weren’t there for the right reasons, they didn’t want anyone there who could make everything go bad. He had no plans to be violent. My dad was a really good guy.”
5. Ammon Bundy Has Been Arrested in Oregon
KATU reports that Ammon Bundy and other members of the militia, including Ryan Payne, were arrested by the FBI and Oregon State Police on the night of January 26 during the traffic stop where Finicum was killed.
It’s unclear who shot first, but one person was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Michele Fiore said that person was Ryan Bundy, another son of Cliven, who was shot in the arm.