Lavoy Finicum was murdered yesterday afternoon by FBI agents at the behest of the Oregon State governor. I personally knew Lavoy since last May 2015, so I wrote the following as a memorium to his memory, as he was one of the finest patriots I have personally known, and I’ve met a few.
Lavoy Finicum was a Mohave County Resident, living in a very small rural community, called Cane Beds, about 5-1/2 miles Southeast of Colorado City, Mohave County, Arizona, and just 4 miles south of the Utah border. He was a rancher with about 150 head of cattle, a fairly small herd, about a quarter the size of Cliven Bundy’s cattle herd and a seventh the size of the Hammond’s herd.
Lavoy’s ranch is another 40 miles south of his home, almost on the border of the Grand Canyon National Park. He ranched what is called the “Tuckup” BLM grazing allotment number AZ00097. It covers one square mile of Arizona state land and about 25-1/2 sq miles of BLM land all covered by the contracted “grazing allotment”. Under such contracts, ranchers are only allowed to graze so many cattle on each allotment according to what the BLM feels is the appropriate number for that allotment, determined by water and forage availability and, of course the BLM’s own personal future plans for the area.
For the last year or so the BLM has been in the process of converting about 10 of those BLM square miles of Lavoy’s ranch to be part of a new national monument, called “Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, eventually reducing the size of Lavoy’s ranch by about 40%. This action by the BLM was one of the factors that inspired Lavoy to eventually cancel his grazing contract with the BLM.
Lavoy and his wife Jeanette were foster parents to over 50 foster children over the years. These children were recovered from mental hospitals, drug rehabs and group homes for emotionally disturbed youths. I personally can attest by my own experience that raising such children on a ranch as remote as Lavoy’s would be an invaluable means of revitalizing purpose in these children’s lives. As on any ranch, these children were raised to help out on the ranch as all ranching families do. This is an invaluable means of spiritually and mentally rehabilitating children.
The Finicums did receive payment from charities to care for the foster children. However, after Lavoy made his stand in Oregon on 2 January, the foster children were started to be removed by social workers (read Child Protective Services – CPS) between 4 January through 9 January. That was the major source of income for the Finicums, but Lavoy made the choice to stand up for ranchers as a whole in Oregon.
Lavoy had been one of the some 40 odd cowboys that rode into the Toquop Wash to demand the release of Cliven Bundy’s cattle on 12 April 2014. Since then, being a man of extremely strong and steadfast convictions, Lavoy felt he had to live up to the same moral standard that Cliven had, by canceling his grazing contract on the Tuckup allotment with the BLM. So Lavoy wrote the appropriate letters to the BLM and other government officials informing them that he was severing his relations with the BLM, though he personally had never had any trouble with them. He became the second rancher to cancel his grazing contracts with the BLM after Cliven Bundy.
At the Oregon Standoff, Lavoy encouraged other ranchers to cancel their grazing contracts as he and Cliven had done. Lavoy was in charge of media presentations. He emphasized the purposes behind the Standoff were to Number One – Free the Hammonds and Two – Restore the public lands to the people via the counties.
The quality I remember most about Lavoy was his steadfast willingness to stand up for what he believed and not wavering from that. He was a man easily willing to help others in times of difficulties. One night at the Resource Center he spent an hour helping me get my car unstuck from the snow at 9 o’clock in 20 degree weather. A really warm and steadfast friend.
I can only believe that the recent events will only serve as a catalyst for much larger events that the FBI, the BLM, Fish & Wildlife Service and the governor of Oregon have not foreseen.