Oregon Situation Developing

It’s not clear yet all the details, and there’s a lot of conflicting stories, but it would appear the feds have arrested the leaders of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, killing one in the process, after the man charged police, or was peacefully surrendering, with his hands up, depending on whose story you believe. I hope there is dash cam footage so the truth can be ascertained. The feds need to be very careful about the remaining protesters.

OregonLive has pretty timely coverage of what’s going on. Glenn Reynolds spoke about this issue a few days ago, noting “I believe that Baker v. Carr was incorrectly decided.” Of course, this is a federal problem, where we do still have geographic representation in the higher house.

24 Responses to “Oregon Situation Developing”

  1. Jim Jones says:

    If the dash cam supports their version, it will come out this week. If the dash cam does not support the police version of the story, you can bet that every effort to obtain and/or publish that footage will be met with heavy resistance at every turn, until it’s been so long that no one remembers this incident at all. See e.g. the Laquan McDonald incident in Chicago.

  2. Dave says:

    The thing about dash cam or worn video cam footage – there’s no criminal penalty for withholding it, and it’s not within any person with standing’s ability to prove it exists. I know, for example that my local jurisdiction equips its vehicles – all of them, with dash cam. I FOIA’d the footage from a particular car, on a particular day. “There were no records responsive to your request” So how is that? Though I’ll not be able to prove it, that footage almost certainly did exist, but since I cannot prove it exists unless someone squeals, I have no ability to prove it and cannot compel the record’s production.

    Plus, it will routinely be withheld for “criminal investigations”. In some cases, in VA they will outright refuse to provide it, court decision be damned. it’s only a 1000 dollar fine, but if one of their guys gets caught the consequences are much bigger than $1000.

    Without cell phone video, the John Geer murder would never have seen media coverage

    As said above – if the footage backs the LE narrative, it will be released. If there is any ambiguity or any video or photographic evidence doesn’t back the LE narrative, we’ll be in the dark.

    The LE narrative may well be correct here, and I don’t think these “occupiers” give anyone a good name. So I hope there is footage and it’s released quickly to put the silliness to bed for a while.

    • SDN says:

      Was this just an FOIA request? Or had you filed a lawsuit and gotten a judge’s order? Because that’s how you get the data. Look at what Judicial Watch has done to Hildebeeste.

      See, when this gets in front of a judge, that kind of BS answer is when you turn to him and say, “Judge, there’s only three possibilities here: They were stupid and negligent and lost the data, in which case you ought to punish the stupidity. They were criminals and destroyed the data in defiance of the open records laws, in which case you should send someone to jail. Or third, they were criminals AND stupid and destroyed them after you told them to produce them, in which case they should go jail until you think they’re sorry and smarter.”

  3. Stacy says:

    In a way I feel for the feds on the scene out there. They have the unenviable job of asserting the government’s monopoly on force, as well as its claim to control US territory. And they have to do this knowing that a significant number of citizens will see them as the bad guys when it’s all said and done, even if they manage to bring it off without any further bloodshed.

    And for what? Because a relatively few politically powerful interest groups back east have a vested interest in continuing to control all that federal land and treat the people who live there like 19th century tenant farmers. And it will never change, because the voters who support those interest groups outnumber the people whose livelihoods are at their mercy.

  4. Roger Wilson says:

    IMNOHO BLM has pretty much out lived its usefulness. I have not seen any of the particulars on that arson charge. I suspect it was a controlled burn to get rid of encroaching heavy brush that the ranchers were allowed to use for grazing. That is what set this off.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      This stopped being about the Hammonds the moment that the Bundys broke into that wildlife refuge and the Hammonds denounced them and told them to go home.

      • Alpheus says:

        I would grant that it stopped being about the Hammonds, but it nonetheless is still about how the Federal Government has been treating ranchers on land that should properly be under the control of the State.

    • Richard says:

      Not sure that BLM was involved in this. Land is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. It was the BLM with the earlier Buddy standoff in NV.

      • SDN says:

        Need to read the case writeup. It was BLM vs Hammonds all the way.

        As for Bundy and his bunch, they were stupid. If they just had to occupy something to make a stetement, it should have been the BLM office in Portland. Impossible to avoid collateral damage and casualties to take them out, and impossible to prevent info about what happened from being obtained and distributed.

  5. Alpheus says:

    This event hits close to home for me: the man killed was from the region where my mother-in-law lives.

    That, and living in Utah creates a certain sympathy for anyone standing up for our rights to our land, even if the way they are standing up makes me cringe a little…

    Having said all that, at this stage in the game, I’m taking every statement–whether from Law Enforcement or from the Occupiers–with a grain of salt. We’ve been burned too many times from events resembling “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”, that changed completely when the facts come out…

  6. Beatbox says:


  7. Jeff O says:

    Last night the local sheriff wouldn’t say who shot first. There are also conflicting reports on the number of shots fired, ranging from a dozen or so to the ‘LA County newspaper delivery truck’ count of 120.

    • Dave says:

      Shot first isn’t necessarily in indicator of guilt or wrongdoing. if you’re about to be the recipient of great bodily injury or death you aren’t really required to wait for that injury or death before you can legally act to protect yourself or others. Number of shots fired similarly isn’t necessarily an indicator of guilt or wrong doing.

      • Alpheus says:

        This is very true. Right now, I’m waiting to hear about who made the first threat. I’ve heard that the person shot was shot in the face with his hands over his head; I’ve also heard that he was charging when he was shot.

        Having said that, lots of bullets *may* be an indication of an overly brutal, or even just overly panicked, response…

        I’m *very* curious about what we’ll learn about the autopsy…

  8. Alpheus says:

    I heard on the radio that Bundy has requested that everyone not arrested to end the Occupation, because he doesn’t want any more loss of life, but the remaining Occupiers don’t want to go home unless they are promised that they won’t be arrested.

    In some ways, this outcome makes me think that the Occupiers didn’t think things through. They came armed, but weren’t prepared for death (although from what I heard about Robert LaVoy Finicum, he was prepared to die for the cause of liberty); they were willing to break the law, but they weren’t willing to be arrested for it (and from what I’ve heard of LaVoy, he *definitively* didn’t want to be arrested).

    Perhaps they decided that their efforts were futile, and it’s time to wrap things up. But in my mind, if you’re brazenly armed* in a protest, you need to be prepared to die**; if you’re going to engage in Civil Disobedience, then you need to be ready to be arrested.

    Of course, I’m willing to give these guys an out: perhaps after one death, and several arrests, they may believe they’ve made their point…but with the way things are playing out, it gives me a sense that these guys have finally met resistance, and it’s time to go home…

    And, to be sure, I’m not sure what other outcome could even be expected. I appreciate their willingness to stand up to Government against injustice, but it’s not easy to see how this was supposed to help…

    *I wouldn’t count weapons available for self defense, if it hadn’t been well-known that they had them…

    **Come to think of it, if you’re going to protest, you might have to be prepared to die, regardless, but if you’re peacefully resisting, and Government kills you anyway, you’ll become a martyr…

  9. WB says:

    The video is at
    Shooting happens shortly after 9:15.

    • WB says:

      Finicum initially has his hands up, but then reaches into his left pocket which is claimed to have had a pistol.

      • Jake says:

        You can’t tell from that footage, especially without audio. But it looks like the cop on the right might have started shooting while Finicum still had his hands up – note the one in tan starts moving for cover before Finicum’s hands come down – and Finicum’s hands come down in response, either moving to his wound, or reaching for a gun to shoot back. Because at that point, why not? If they started shooting while his hands were up, then that’s a good clue they’ve already decided to kill him.

        It’s also possible that he stumbled in the snow and his hands started moving down instinctively as he tried to regain his balance, and they started shooting because his hands moved toward his waist.

        Bottom line, we can’t tell from this if they shot him while his hands were still up or not. But who wants to bet that there’s no good dashcam footage with audio?

        • WB says:

          No question it is really hard, if not impossible, to make a determination of which scenario really happened based on that video. Yet more proof that video is not always what we would like–clear answers.

          The others in the truck were smart to not run–it saved their lives. There was no way they could get away with about being arrested or having arrest warrants following them. Maybe Finicum was convinced they would kill him no matter what and I won’t argue if he was or was not correct in thinking that since I have no way of knowing the hearts and minds of the LEO’s.

          As I write this the few still held up in the reserve don’t want to leave if they might be arrested, but going into this type of situation one is a fool to think that is a condition they can make.

          I’d like to know what is on the screen that is blocked by black bars all around the perimeter of the image. Presumably some kind of data from their recording equipment. Wonder if it is something they don’t want the public to know they can collect. An interesting mystery.

          Last fall a rancher was shot and killed by LEO’s here in Idaho. It’s open range here so livestock have the right of way and are free to roam onto highways. The livestock owner has no liability for anyone who should run into an animal and the one who hits the animal has the liability.

          So a driver hit a bull and was severely injured. The bull was injured but still mobile and very dangerous. The LEOS’ arrived and the rancher who owned the bull arrived and the story is was the rancher was getting ready to put the bull down and the LEO’s reacted by shooting and killing the rancher. The rancher’s wife was present and had a heart attack.

          Now there is lot of tension and the County sheriff (the LEO’s), Idaho State Police, FBI and DOJ are involved investigating and no video has been released adding to the suspicions. Many think they haven’t done that because if looks bad against the LEO’s. A freakin’ mess for sure.

    • Jim Jones says:

      He sure as hell didn’t charge anyone as they claimed.