Hands Up Don’t Shoot, Oregon Edition


by Thomas L. Knapp…….

“They shot him right there, he was just walking — I saw it,” says Victoria Sharp . “I swear to God, he was just walking with his hands in the air.” She’s describing the January 26 killing of LaVoy Finicum by FBI agents and an Oregon State Police SWAT team.

Sharp’s account doesn’t go uncontested. Mark McConnell, described as a “witness” even though he was a mile away at the time of the shooting and was just “told” what happened, describes Finicum as “charging” the police. And unidentified “law enforcement sources” tell CNN that Finicum “reached down toward his waistband where he had a gun.”

There’s allegedly video of the incident, which we may eventually see. Sooner if it supports the government’s claims, later or never if it doesn’t.

Sound familiar? It should. There’s another pair of competing legends in the making, both of which will incorporate preferred truths and discard inconvenient facts to reach the desired conclusions.

Most of those who decried police actions to evict the Occupy demonstrators and wanted Ferguson, Missouri police officer Daren Wilson’s head on a platter for the killing of Michael Brown have already written the Oregon occupiers off as “terrorists” and pigeonholed Finicum’s death as “suicide by cop.”

Most of those who wanted the smelly hippies of Occupy swept from the streets and would cheerfully vote for Wilson for president if he was old enough to run, on the other hand, probably consider the Oregon occupiers heroes and Finicum a martyr.

I find myself in a strange position here. For once, I’m the moderate.

I don’t know exactly what happened on Canfield Drive in Ferguson on August 9, 2014, or along US 395 in rural Oregon on January 26, 2016. Neither, in all likelihood, do you. We weren’t there. All we can do is choose which glass to see those events through. Darkly.

I take that back. There’s another thing we can do. We can reaffirm the basic American principle that law enforcement personnel and other government employees aren’t special.

When a cop shoots someone under circumstances brought into question by credible evidence and/or testimony, that cop should be charged and tried just like you or I would be.

Culpability in Finicum’s death should be sorted out by a jury on the basis of reasonable doubt or proof of guilt beyond such doubt. The fact that his killer or killers wear badges and collect government paychecks is irrelevant to the matter.


Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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11 thoughts on “Hands Up Don’t Shoot, Oregon Edition

  1. Thomas,

    Excellent article. Superbly written and cogently put together. Thank you.

    A “Constitutional Basis” upon which all conduct is assessed and evaluated, would provide some manner of accountability and transparency.

    Rigged systems of justice don’t work. They destabilize nations, often bringing chaos, calamity and dissolution.

    Human beings have biases, prejudices and a survival instinct. It’s difficult to locate leaders and agencies authentically committed to identifying the facts, wherever they may fall, when it involves their own. We know this about our species.

    Although measures must be taken to secure independent and impartial investigators, to the degree that such beings exist, it’s still a difficult task when police investigate police, or when they investigate family and friends; as was the case in Key West with the “Eimer’s Killing”.

    ‘Cover-Up’ free investigations are difficult to come by.

    There are individuals with the integrity and honor to accurately identify wrong-doing within their ranks. Malfeasance, official misconduct and corruption would significantly decrease, if ethical and principled investigators were assigned to locate and examine all of the evidence, involved in alleged crimes by government official.

    Prosecutions and convictions would soar. The commission of such crimes would decrease.

  2. Thomas, “Smelly hippies”? Aren’t you showing your own bias right there? As for Michael Ferguson, what those who were concerned about this incident wanted was a fair and impartial judicial process to get at the truth. This obviously did not happen, as in the Staten Island incident, the Cleveland incident … on and on. You want objective, impartial reckoning. So do I. This has not happened. I hope it happens with the people in Oregon, but we do know one thing for sure in this case: those involved, including Finnicum, were breaking the law. In fact, they were and are committing treason. There is another thing being forgotten here. We live in a supposed democracy. If these people do not like how the government operates, then win an election and change it. ciao, Jerome

  3. also the remote curve in the road for a stop shows an old time ‘bushwhacking’. he the spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum could not be arrested in the parking lot?…..no he was ment to die….for resisting the new world order in effect. this nation needs cry…”Huston we have a problem!”

  4. Wankajim, your interpretation of the events that led to the killing of one treasonous moron and the arrest of currently 10 others is both flawed and warped by your own political reality filter. The only person who predetermined Finicum’s death was Finicum himself. Those who stand with the idiocracy that is the “Y’allceda” movement need to actually read the ENTIRE constitution, and ask their local librarian what those big words mean that they apparently are incapable of understanding.

    1. Richard and next I suppose your going to tell me to ‘not trust my lying eyes’. WATCH THE VIDEO-HE WAS SHOT IN THE BACK! as for morons he was on the way to a ‘peaceful’ town hall meeting to address about 100 residents all with the ‘POLICE’ awareness of same. you mean to tell my lying eyes he could not have been arrested peacefully in a parking lot getting into his truck? how is moron spelled?
      you affiliate me with alcyda movement which is huge bs on your behalf oh great guru of humanity and not reading the constitution….some real special stupid here I guess?

  5. Richard, You have to understand something about Wankajm … he is exactly the unobjective voice Mr. Knapp is talking about in this article. His world view is etched in stone and he will try to fit everything that happens on this planet into it … no matter what the evidence is. Unlike Mr. Knapp, whose brand of Libertarianism has some intellectual thought behind it, his brand is rather simple. I wonder how his “freedom” was taken from him today? One other thing I wonder … what do you think his attitude would be if a bunch of Black Panthers were doing this, say for reparations or a state of their own? ciao, Jerome

    1. poor jerry you really don’t see! “I wonder how his “freedom” was taken from him today?”
      jerry jerry jerry it was taken by the ‘establishment’ murder of finicum that’s how! but then again from the lib position….its a dead issue ain’t it? sorta like Eimers however with Charles in my humble opinion not a touch of malice unlike Finicum
      and of course dear jerry the hypothetical black panther libtard bullet point deflection in all its glory. i judge men on their character only dear jerry….that’s C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R just in case I spelled it wrong.
      but then again my ‘libertarianism lacks “intellectual thought behind it” of course since I just can’t trust my lying eyes!

      I suppose you also support the bill introduced in our great bastion of freedom and liberty D.C. to pay felons to stay out of jail too? yep a great leftist Marxist/fascist liberal idea of its father.. collectivism. something that sits next to my heart and rhymes with heartburn!
      author Kenyan McDuffie [google his pic too…it’ll give you more fodder] should be etched into mount rushmore me thinks. do ya think so too dear jerry? 😉
      gads liberals and common sense the next great chapter in the ongoing plight of the victimization movement of any victim will do as long as it fits the liberal leftist narrative. now that’s what I call an intellectually honest approach…..never mind these bruised and faulty libertarian opinions! 🙂 cheers wjm

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