by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
I wanted to comment on this issue before it got too stale. As you may have heard, the FBI-BLM-Bundy Rancher standoff in Oregon has ended and it ended badly. What I want to comment about is the drone overhead video of the felony stop and the subsequent shooting death of Bundy ally LaVoy Finicum.
Normally I’m pretty pro-law enforcement, but I’m going to criticize them so hopefully they’re not too thin skinned. You might ask the question, “Ok Mr. Blogger smarty-pants, Mr. Arm Chair General! What makes you think you are qualified to critique video of a law enforcement felony stop!? What are you? Rambo?!”
Let me put your concerns to rest. I am a retired Captain in the Army Reserve with 22 years of experience. I worked with law enforcement providing security during the Republican National Convention of 2008 here in Minneapolis and I have great respect for them. My last job was as a team leader for about 30 trainer-mentors whose sole job was to assist in the training and education of military units going to war. I am a graduate of the First Army Training Academy which focused on training new trainer mentors to do their job. There’s a picture of me somewhere on the internet at the First Army school at Camp Shelby Mississippi on my birthday playing OPFOR sniper for my fellow classmates. So there’s that.
I’ve attached a video that basically expresses my views on how the situation went down, so I won’t belabor any points. I will also include the original video so you have a clear understanding of what I’m saying. I will say this at the outset. As a trainer mentor one of the first things I would do in an After Action Review of a training exercise is I would use the Socratic method with the BLUFOR commander and try to get him to tell me in his own words what was the plan going in, how they deviated from the plan, what went wrong, what went right, lessons learned. At the end of the briefing I would try to get the commander and unit members to pin the rose of responsibility over lessons learned in order that they take ownership of their improvement plan going forward.
So here’s my take. BLUFOR, or the law enforcement guys, did much better in this situation than they did many years ago in Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas. The loss of life here, while tragic, was much less than at these other two previous events, so thank you for keeping the casualty count down.
I think LE has learned some important lessons from Ruby Ridge and Waco that they put into practice here in Oregon. By calling the suspects out of their defensive position rather than meeting them in a fortified location, the LE guys took control of the situation and fought the battle on ground of their own chosing. Sun Tzu would have been proud.
I have this criticism however. What was with the circular ambush? If you look at the video, you see that you have officers hunkered down behind their vehicles blocking the road. The location of the vehicles forced the driver, LaVoy Finicum to drive off the road and get stuck in the snow, which to me seemed like part of their plan. Unable to continue to go forward, the driver exited the vehicle and is almost immediately shot by a flanker from the woodline. To me this raises three points. One: he was a little too quick to shoot. There was no negotiation, there was no orders from the officer. The driver was out of the vehicle, hands up don’t shoot, he reaches for his pocket and down he goes, shot dead.
I would like to ask this officer, what was going through your mind when the gentleman came out of the car with his hands up? Did you think to give an order to lay down and surrender. Did you use any less-than-lethal methods to get him to surrender?
Inevitably the lawyers for the state will argue that officer was justifiably afraid for his life and when he saw the subject reaching for his pocket, he feared the worst, gun or bomb or what have you. But from the point of view of the overhead drone, that defense doesn’t seem clear cut. There was no exchange of gunfire to this point, no threat to the officer, the guy clearly had his hands up most of the time and had his back turned to the officer when he was shot. What threat was he to you?
You might say he was charging the officer. Huh? This is a 55-year old guy allegedly charging uphill through deep snow. You could have watched him charge you for 10 minutes before he fell down from exhaustion or a heart attack. I really don’t see that argument holding up. I see an old guy up to his knees in snow wondering which way to go. I think you could have waited a minute before making the catastrophic decision to shoot.
Secondly: look at where knucklehead is shooting. If you draw an imaginary line from his line of sight through the target subject, what do you see on the other side. That’s right, he’s shooting at his own guys who are huddled behind their vehicles. This is called a circular ambush and it is held in derision for good reason. Imagine if everyone stands in a circle and shoots at a target in the center. What happens? That’s right, everyone in the perimeter of the circle is dead from gunshot wounds. I think in the future, law enforcement should go back to the training range and learn how to conduct an “L” shaped ambush rather than the circular or “O” shaped ambush they ended up using. The “O” stands for “Oh shit! I shot Johnny! How the Hell did that happen!”
Third and last point for LE BLUFOR! I see you had stun grenades and used them. If Finicum was such a threat, why didn’t you use them to pacify him? He’d be alive today and you wouldn’t be the bad guys in this event. Just sayin’.
I have plenty of criticism for the Bundy’s and their friends. Ever here of a telephone?! You started out OK in all of this. You had a protest and you got on TV. You said your piece about the BLM and land management and the weird situation about those two guys going back to jail after already serving their judge ordered sentences. Great. Then you decided to go off the rails with this wild life refuge occupation. You are not black. You will not be allowed to occupy federal property. I know it’s not fair, get over it. Use the telephone and call your congressman. If your congressman doesn’t answer, get a lawyer and file a civil suit. There are appropriate ways of handling situations like this and armed occupation should be the last resort in a democratic Republic.
As I mention in the video, a guy in Colorado was mad at his legislators after they betrayed their oaths of office and attempted to crush the second amendment. This gentleman put down $4,000 of his own money on a campaign to recall those legislators and he won. Take a page from his book next time.
I’m a little sympathetic to western states where the government owns pretty much 90 percent of the land out there. I’m not sympathetic to the Bundy’s. You live out there on your own with no concept about how the Constitution actually works. You think a gun is the choice of first resort. It isn’t. And you should accept your half of the blame for the death of Mr. Finicum.
We can all learn from this event. I think LE officers will have to answer uncomfortable questions in the civil suit that inevitably follows and be forced to answer why they chose to shoot. It might not go in the direction they want it too. And for the rest of us, this shows that armed confrontation is not the way to go, unless you really like the site of blood. The Founders gave us a process to solve our problems with the government. We should use the Constitution to our advantage, and leave the guns locked up at home.
#all lives matter