At the Los Angeles Times, "Man killed in Oregon standoff had preached what he called a 'cowboy's stand for freedom'":
Where some activists at an occupied federal wildlife refuge preached rowdyism and brimstone, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was wistful, almost sad.Still more.
Bedecked in his trademark earmuffs and cowboy hat, the Arizona rancher would wonder aloud with a shake of his head why reporters couldn’t simply see the rightness of his position: that the federal government was illegally possessing land it had no right to take.
He insisted he and the other occupiers were helping the people of Harney County, Oregon. He often carried a handgun at his side and sometimes set up watch with a long gun across his lap.
He maintained a blog — “One Cowboy’s stand for Freedom” — in which he posted videos of himself denouncing the federal government and demanding that federal land be turned over to local authorities and private ranchers. He also wrote a novel, a post-apocalyptic Western thriller called "Only By Blood and Suffering."
Finicum, 55, was killed Tuesday night by an Oregon State Police trooper during an altercation between authorities and some who had occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. About 20 occupiers have squatted for three weeks while they protested the incarceration of a father-and-son pair of ranchers and demanded federal agencies leave the land to local authorities and landowners.
The exact circumstances of the altercation between occupiers and authorities have not yet been released. "My dad was such a good good man, through and through," Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, one of Finicum's 11 children, told The Oregonian newspaper Tuesday. "He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved."
When speaking to the media or the public, Ammon Bundy, putative leader of the activists, was gruff and dismissive. Jon Ritzheimer, a Phoenix-area anti-Muslim activist arrested Tuesday, would stay silent for long stretches before exploding in anger. But Finicum kept his cool.
“I can point to the page, here,” Finicum told the Los Angeles Times during the second week of the occupation, holding aloft a pocket Constitution. “I can tell you where to look if you want to see why we’re here.
“You say we’re breaking things up. [But] we’re keeping something together here.”
Finicum often served as a spokesman for the group, reading statements into cameras and then chatting with reporters when the cameras were off. He told reporters that the occupiers were going through federal files looking for proof of federal malfeasance.
One day with reporters watching, he scaled a ladder to the top of a telephone pole to remove a camera lens. He later held it up for reporters, saying it had been placed by the FBI to monitor the occupiers.
Finicum was, for most of his life, a rancher who paid his grazing fees to the federal government...