There was always one thing federal agents had in abundance that absolutely no one in the Bundy militia did: intelligence. That's why late yesterday as the Bundy boys and the rest of the major players in their little revolution cosplay caravanned off to set up a "shadow government" in a nearby county, the FBI moved in. Agents stopped the vehicle carrying Ammon Bundy and executed a federal arrest warrant, with everyone apparently surrendering peacefully. The vehicle behind Ammon, though, according to witnesses, swept past the stop and sped along until it ran into an FBI roadblock -- because, again, intelligence, in all its permutations -- then ran off the road into a snowbank. Those same witnesses say LaVoy Finicum, who had been the unofficial "spokesman" for the group, came barreling out of the vehicle on foot, toward federal agents. He was armed. And that's when he was shot dead.
This is the account of several people who were there at the scene. Finicum had said previously in a bizarre interview seen nationwide that law enforcement would never take him alive. "I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box," he had said, sitting next to the blue tarp under which was his part-time home since arriving in Oregon. In other words, it was obvious from the beginning -- because he'd stated as much -- that if cornered, LaVoy Finicum would go down fighting. So, put all of this together and it leads us to one conclusion: LaVoy Finicum is dead because he's an idiot who engaged in an armed takeover of land that wasn't his and then refused to be taken into custody when the FBI decided it had finally had enough of this shit. Finicum was riding in a vehicle with a bunch of guys armed to the teeth and when he challenged law enforcement agents in a last stand, they had to put him down.
That's what LaVoy Finicum is: a dumbshit who broke the law a dozen times over, engaging in armed sedition against the U.S. government, and who in the end got himself killed when he could've easily avoided it. What LaVoy Finicum isn't: a martyr who died for our freedoms.
Make no mistake, though: the still very-much-alive militia movement and its various supporters among America's poor white trash demographic are going to try to turn this guy into a folk hero -- Patrick Henry with a high power rifle, a blue tarp, and a penchant for ridiculously flowery musings on the nature of liberty. They're already doing it, in fact. Nevada Assemblywoman and Fantastic Sam's spokesmodel Michele Fiore -- a woman whose last Christmas card featured every member of her family toting a gun -- has spent the past 18 hours or so trying to syringe a nonsense story into the media bloodstream about how Finicum was shot and killed while his hands were up. The notion of white people suddenly employing the "hands up, don't shoot" defense is so gruesomely ironic when you consider exactly how the Bundy militia people would've been treated had they been black men, but either way, Fiore is full of crap and so is anyone else trying to make the "LaVoy Finicum was killed in cold blood" meme a thing.
Finicum made it clear from the start that he wasn't going to be taken alive. And while it was amusing to hear these dopes expound delusionally on what they were going to do when they finally got to go home as victors in this standoff -- hint: they were never going home and were always going to prison or the hereafter -- it was always a good idea to take him at his word. It's a miracle that Finicum was the only one who chose to go out in a blaze of glory because despite the feds' admirable patience and clever planning, this raid could always have been a bloodbath should the Bundy boys have decided they were feeling suicidal. Law enforcement isolated them, closed off all possible escape routes -- then struck. The whole thing left very little to chance, but there's no accounting for human stupidity -- and Vanilla ISIS had already displayed an abundance of that.
LaVoy Finicum promised to seal his own fate and that's exactly what he did. He's not a martyr and he's not a hero. His death is tragic in the sense that it was completely unnecessary and could have been easily avoided by Finicum himself. But that wasn't what he wanted. What he wanted was to be remembered as the guy behind some nobly futile "Finicum's Charge." What he wanted was to die rather than be taken into custody -- and that's what he got.