As we're about to see, ladies and gentlemen, context is a wonderful thing:
In an exclusive interview with Dennis Michael Lynch: Unfiltered, Shawna Cox says that on January 26th, she and fellow protestors, [Robert] Finicum, Ryan Payne, and Victoria Sharp were in a truck headed to meet with the Grant County Sheriff's Office to discuss their armed siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Okay so far, other than that Grant County is the next county over from the MNWR. Why weren't they discussing the standoff with the Harney County Sheriff? Wouldn't that have been closer?
But as they braked at a traffic light and Oregon State Police troopers who had been trailing them closed in, all hell broke loose. [emphasis added]
When did the OSP start tailing them? I'd have to think it was from the moment they left their - what would you call it? Base camp? Command post? - and that they would have assumed that every time they went anyplace, they were being followed, especially at the end of the standoff. I certainly would have. Which, in turn, raises the question of why they ever did go anyplace, especially to an adjoining county where they would be that exposed. They couldn't have had this discussion by phone, or Skype?
"[Finicum] didn't want to stop in the first place. He knew that our safety was with the sheriff in Grant County who had invited us to come," Cox said.
"He knew that if we could get to that county line we would be protected because he had seen all these vehicles that were trying to pull us over and knew that it was a setup and was trying to get to safety."
That sheriff did, but not the one in Harney County? Why not? Or did the Grant County Sheriff agree to this face-to-face powwow in order to lure them out into the open so the OSP and FBI could ambush them? And, again, why would Finicum take that chance, given how paranoid he and the rest of the Bundy Gang were about law enforcement?
Finicum hit the gas and his late-model Dodge Ram pickup began a dangerous skid and hit a snowbank.
Dumb, dumb, dumb. Not just for safety reasons (gunning his vehicle on an ice- and snow-covered highway), but it made him and the occupants of his truck look guilty as hell. Wouldn't it have been safer for all involved if he had stayed at the stop light and made no sudden or suspicious moves? Why give the federal and State cops a reason to open up on them? Did they really believe at the point that they wouldn't? Heck, that was the whole premise of their actions over the preceding month.
"As soon as Ryan Payne opened the windows and put his hands out, empty handed, he reaches across and I see the red laser and a bullet strikes … He recoiled back quickly into the car and said, 'We're getting shot!"' Cox recalled to Dennis Michael Lynch.
Awfully piss-poor aim from pretty close to point-blank range, don't you think? And, again, once Finicum had skidded into that snowbank, why would anybody in the vehicle make any move whatsoever? Wait for the officers' instructions. Think about it from the OSP troopers' point of view, if not the FBI's: So far as they knew, they were confronting dangerous fugitives in a tense, highly charged situation. Their trigger-fingers were bound to be itchier than normal. Don't give them a reason.
"We had lasers all over us and bullets were flying. [LeVoy] jumped out. with his hands wide open, no weapons, and is running away from the vehicle in over three feet of snow, as fast he can run … He was yelling, 'Go ahead and shoot me! Shoot me! Go ahead, shoot me,' over and over as he's running away from the vehicle."
"We're slumped down, and we're trying to not get hit because there are bullets coming and breaking out the windows and I have a window by me just being hit, we're pinned down."
I'm trying really hard not to call BS on this, at least as to the 'roided-up melodrama. From this description - "blasted the truck" - I can't fathom how anybody in it survived. Either the "coppers" (1) were firing a whole lotta warning shots, (2) were legally blind and were as fortunate not to have gunned down each other as Finicum and his friends, or (3) it wasn't nearly as batbleep crazy as Miss Cox makes it sound.
We do know that Finicum exited his pickup and was waving his hands around from the FBI drone video. I'm guessing it wasn't at the officers' behest, so doing so was even stupider, unless he was trying to goad them into shooting him. Which bellowing "SHOOT ME!" repeatedly does seem to suggest.
Which means that martyrdom was quite clearly at least one of the intents of the Bundy Gang, or at least was for Finicum. At least if Miss Cox's account is to be believed.
There is one other possibility - that Finicum was trying to draw the officers' fire away from his friends. Fire that might well not have gotten started had Mr. Payne not rolled down his window and stuck his hands out....or had Finicum not tried to make a break for it at that stop light. At this point both the confrontation and the entire "occupation" had become such a complete clusterfark that I'd say the miracle is that only one person was killed, except that the OSP and FBI could have riddled every occupant of that pickup with bullets if they had actually meant to, and they didn't. So draw your own conclusions. But mine is that this was somewhat less than an "execution".
Which makes this last bit a real eye-roller:
Cox said Finicum was shot and killed, even though she doesn't believe he was armed.
"I did not see any weapons when we went. I saw no weapons in the vehicle … I know he didn't have one in his hand," Cox said. [emphasis added]
<sigh> Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. But the FBI video does show him reaching into his jacket for something. Which is also imbecilic when you're being confronted by multiple armed cops with their weapons drawn and pointed at you. Unless "it was a good day to die".
Oh, and by the way, the Bundys set booby traps all around the MNWF, which may or may not be IEDs. I can't wait to see the headlines if/when somebody or -bodies gets blown up by one or some of them. What will be the rallying cry then? "That was for LaVoy!"?