Soon after somebody tore down a cross erected in honor of a dead protester, somebody used its remnants to put a smaller version of the cross back together.
A memorial held Saturday was a spectacle of patriotism and of admiration for Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was killed Jan. 26 during a confrontation with Oregon State Police.
At least a dozen cars pulled up to the spot where Finicum died, following BJ Soper, a leader of the Pacific Patriots Network who had organized the memorial. About 50 men, women and children milled around on the road and the snow, watching the show.
A man climbed up a tree to nail another makeshift cross.
“God bless the ranchers,” Steve Walker, 53, shouted from about 20 feet up the tree as he hammered in the bottom nail. People cheered. Walker, a local woodcutter, kissed the cross, slid down the tree and fell backward into the snow.
“I put it up there to give them a little more to work for,” he said.
Finicum’s death has become a rallying cry for hundreds of people around the country. The Arizona rancher was killed 20 miles north of Burns, 25 days after a group of men and women took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. A grainy aerial video shows Finicum reaching twice for his waist before officers fired. The FBI said he had a 9 mm pistol in his jacket.
The original cross was put up within days of Finicum’s death. On Saturday morning, word got out that it had been destroyed. Soper was sitting in the Apple Peddler, a diner in Burns, when he heard the news.
“You gotta be f*****g kidding me,” he said over the phone.
Surrounded by other members of the patriots network, Soper announced they would rebuild the cross and offer $500 for information leading to those responsible for tearing it down.
“We’re going to go buy every damn flag in this town and hang [the cross] back up,” he said.
By the time Soper got to the site Saturday afternoon for the scheduled memorial, a makeshift cross had been erected. Somebody had taken a piece of the cross that was left in the snow and screwed it to the stump, which was still in the ground. One side was jagged where it had been broken.
A piece of cardboard nearby said: “A civilian was killed in the line of duty here.”
One person after another stuck American flags into the snow. Some were large, some small. One flag was hung sideways on a pine tree, another was attached to the cross. Others left flowers.
Amanda Bisset, who came from Walla Walla, Washington, with her horse ‘Diesel,’ took turns walking up and down the road, holding an American flag. The crowds gathered on either side of the road erupted in a spontaneous cheer.
“God bless America,” one man shouted.
“Yeah,” responded another man over the cheers and clapping.
“Freedom,” shouted a final voice.
Some dispute the official account of Finicum’s death, insisting it could have been avoided. Others have gone so far as to call it murder.
Soper and others wrote on two cowboy hats – Finicum often wore them – then placed them atop the cross and an American flag pitched in the snow.
“Does anybody have a quarter?” Soper asked, before writing “IN GOD WE TRUST” on one of the hats.
“I don’t want to look illiterate,” he said. A woman handed him a quarter. Soper looked at it, put it between his lips and wrote with a black sharpie: “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
A few hours later even more people gathered in John Day for another memorial for Finicum. Men and women stood on a street corner holding candles and signs. One said “Murdered by Oregon State Police” with a picture of Finicum waving at the camera with the sun and an American flag behind his back.
The destruction of the cross and memorial where Finicum died was the latest sign that some residents have grown tired of the occupation, which has stretched into its sixth week. Though the occupation’s leaders have been arrested, four occupiers remain inside at the wildlife refuge headquarters in Harney County, refusing to come out.
Asked who might have torn the memorial down, Soper said he did not know.
“Someone that’s un-Christian, that’s for damn sure,” he said.
No law enforcement agency had anything to do with the destruction of the site, an Oregon State Police spokesman said. An Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman said the agency played no role in its removal.
Finicum was buried Friday, Feb. 5 in his hometown of Kanab, Utah.
Burns has also been showing signs of weariness. Two billboards went up Friday expressing support for law enforcement and community pride in what appeared to be a tacit rebuke of the occupation.
The front page of the local newspaper, Burns Times-Herald, said it succinctly: “Go home militia!”
— Fedor Zarkhin
9 thoughts on “LaVoy Finicum memorial torn down and rebuilt”
How low can a guy go? If anyone finds out, let me know, I want to piss on his grave!
I see Sick Puppies an stupid people everywhere,Hands up don”t shot me in the back
Burns Times herald. “GO HOME MILITIA”.
Hero’s. ….Hero’s. ..?
Get the fk outta here.
How about “Zeros”!
That’s a fkng white lynch mob if I’ve ever seen one.
That fkng picture should make white people ashamed to be white.
Thank God Lavoy wasn’t Black.
He’d be hanging dead in the middle of the picture.
Like a Harney County Elk trophy head above the fireplace.
There’s a new Sheriff in town. His name is Boss Hog.
Here’s the kicker.
You have a picture of the people that tore it down.
Standing there being proud…!
To be order following tyrants.
I guess that fkng sellout Sheriff from the other County was late for the photo shoot.
Figures….. probably to busy screwing some cattle ranchers wife.
The destruction of the memorial to Finicum was predictable. Too bad someone didn’t spring for a game camera, to watch over the sight. Then there would be no doubt about the identity of the immoral culprit. On another note, I can’t wait for the results of the private autopsy conducted by Finicum’s family. It may put to rest the FBI/OSP, narrative that LaVoy was reaching for a gun. Exposing their narrative would be invaluable in planting a seed, or creating doubt, “what else did they lie about”? The tangled web of deceit, orchestrated by the FBI/OSP, would begin to unravel. There is nothing quite like the cleansing effect of light, on a cockroach.
I always refer to my #1 rule about them
And that rule is , first and foremost liars !
And if ever questioning it, refer back to rule #1
When have they ever told you the whole truth ?
I was just curious if any pictures of Lavoy’s truck have been released yet or when his family will get it back? Probably not from the fed’s…
I don’t know what pisses me off more–the murder of a man who was standing up for all of our natural rights against tyranny, or locals, law enforcement or not, who support the notion of “If I am oppressed, so should LaVoy Finicum be, and the Hammonds and Bundys!”
Oregon state troopers lied to my face trying to entrap someone. That’s all anyone needs to know about law enforcement; they will do anything to entrap, plant evidence or lie. I moved to another state and they tracked me down and lied again. Why they are watching me, I don’t know.