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Freedom or Tyranny?

Thara Finicum Tenney and Belle Finicum Collier
Thara Finicum Tenney and Belle Finicum Collier spoke to the press following their father's funeral. "Many questions remain unanswered about our father’s death. We don't want the media's bias. We don't want the FBI's bias. We want the truth."

Did you hear the news out of Oregon this past couple of weeks? You may have missed it because the media coverage of an Arizona Rancher being killed by “authorities” has been minimal and extremely biased.  I would like to offer some additional information from the perspective of an Arizona Rancher’s daughter.


Cliven Bundy with son (on horseback).
Cliven Bundy with son on horseback

I wasn’t sure what I thought about Ammon Bundy and the group of people who went from a peaceful protest in support of Oregon Ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond to an act of civil disobedience taking over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. I worried that the approach they took might not be the best course of action. I started doing some research to learn more about the cause. I came to learn that after utilizing all of the more common methods American citizens use to address grievances with their government, they took the next step of escalation as many in the past have done.


Cliven Bundy
Cliven Bundy (in front) on horseback

The history books are full of examples of this kind of action. I am sure you have heard of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King? More recently we have had Occupy Wallstreet. The news media was showing wall to wall coverage of the riots this past year in Ferguson and many other major cities. In these cases the “authorities” used restraint.


That restraint ended on January 26, 2016, when the “authorities” opened fire on LaVoy Finicum as he was driving from the refuge to the neighboring county to give a presentation on the Constitution. They were scheduled to meet with the Sheriff of Grant County. They were exercising their first Amendment Rights.


“Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 —From the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


For this, our government “authorities” put a plan into action, including armed snipers in trees, drones overhead and a pre-planned roadblock spending millions of tax-payer dollars to stop this group of “armed citizens.” Citizens who were legally using their second amendment rights. It is not illegal to be armed in the state of Oregon.


Two eye-witnesses have come forward. Victoria Sharp is the first. She is an eighteen year old Christian singer who was  riding with the group in LaVoy’s pickup. Her testimony came out before the FBI released the video footage they obtained from their aerial camera that has no audio (sound.) Victoria and the second witness, Shawna Cox, both stated that the authorities were firing on their vehicle while Ryan Payne had his hands out the window trying to peacefully surrender. Ryan did surrender at the first roadblock and has been incarcerated since. Victoria was afraid to exit the vehicle and Shawna decided to remain with her.


Victoria Sharp and Family
Victoria Sharp and family (Victoria is in the black hat)

She testified that LaVoy yelled out that he was going to see the Sheriff in Grant County. The fight or flight instinct must have kicked in and he drove away from the first traffic stop only to discover the roadblock down the road a short distance later. According to Shawna Cox the authorities were firing upon their vehicle immediately when LaVoy drove into the snowbank. They could see lasers on all of them as LaVoy jumped out of the truck with his hands in the air. Shawna and Victoria both state he was not reaching for a gun but spontaneously reacting to being shot.


At this point Victoria was begging the authorities to let her out of the vehicle because she is an EMT. She wanted to help LaVoy as he lay dying in the snow. Instead these authorities continued firing upon the vehicle with three innocent Americans in it. Remember we are innocent until proven guilty in America and even the FBI are not supposed to be Judge, Jury and Executioner.


Both witnesses have stated emphatically, “They fired over 100 rounds into the vehicle.” Ryan Bundy was shot in the shoulder while in the pickup, further evidence that the authorities opened fire on these citizens.


In addition to the arrest of all the occupants of Mr. Finicum’s pickup and Ammon Bundy, the authorities also arrested Pete Santilli, an internet reporter, who was at the hospital recording the events that day. Yet another attack on the Constitution and the “Free Press.”


It has come to a time in America where we the people fear our government with good reason. We decided that we stand with the Finicum family and the other patriots who have been jailed. We made the decision to attend the funeral of LaVoy Finicum this past Friday. Numerous people tried to talk us out of going to the funeral. Saying, “You will be marked, you know the FBI is labeling anyone who supports this as a domestic terrorist.” People genuinely felt we put ourselves at risk by attending the funeral of an American Patriot.


Even though we never met LaVoy Finicum we have come to know him through his work, his words and those who knew him best. He was an amazing man who raised 11 children and cared for over 50 foster kids. He was a cowboy who would help anyone in need. He was a Patriot, a teacher and a student of the Constitution and I believe a name that won’t soon be forgotten.

Finicum family with others
Members of Finicum family and other Cowboys

Following the funeral the Finicum family gave a statement. Thara Finicum Tenney and Belle Finicum Collier said, “Many questions remain unanswered about our father’s death. We don’t want the media’s bias. We don’t want the FBI’s bias. We want the truth.”


The sisters said their dad had been called many things by the world this week but they call him Daddy. They said their “Daddy” believed he was following the law. “It was the federal government that was violating it. We agree with him. We also agree with Thomas Jefferson who once said, ‘When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.'”


Belle continued, choking back tears, “Do we believe that peaceful actions justify the use of deadly force? Do we believe that two hands up in surrender justifies the use of deadly force? Do we believe that following the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution justifies the use of deadly force? If we do, then where is liberty?”


This week I wept for the Finicum family, our country and the loss of innocence for a young girl, Victoria Sharp who now has body guards because she witnessed the murder of a fellow American at the hands of the authorities. Will you stand with the Patriots and demand a full investigation into the killing of LaVoy Finicum? Do you believe in Freedom or is tyranny acceptable?

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Kathy Gibson Boatman was born and raised in the White Mountains of Northeastern Arizona on a working Cattle Ranch. She is the sixth generation in her family to participate in agricultural endeavors in Arizona. One of her favorite pastimes is collecting Arizona History Books and documents. She is a photographer and the author of the cookbook "Cooking With Cowgirls". She enjoys writing about issues of importance and interest to Arizona citizens, rural communities and natural resource producers. You can reach Kathy at kathykg26158@msn.com.