Hard to Say for Sure


It’s hard to know who to believe. I mean unless you were there, boots-on-the-ground, how can any of us know whose account of the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum to trust?

And even if you are there boots-on-the ground, the accounts of Finicum’s death still doesn’t line up.

Victoria Sharps claims to be an eye-witness to the shooting, which according to her account, was more like a slaughter. Click here to hear her side of the events.

But her version is disputed by Mark McConnell, who while not claiming to be a direct eyewitness the way Sharps was, still says he saw enough to know LaVoy Finicum charged at law enforcement officers. Click here to read his side of the events.

Of course, law enforcement folks aren’t doing much to clear matters up.

We will let the documentation speak for itself, they said during a press conference. The problem with police documentation is that it, too, is one-sided.

If you were to take away the circumstances – that of an armed militia overtaking a wildlife refugee – by all accounts LaVoy Finicum appeared to be a pretty decent fellow. He did not have a criminal history. He was affable with the press. I heard several of the interviews he gave to Oregon Public Broadcasting over the past month and he was always soft-spoken, never belligerent (Unlike a certain presidential candidate. I wish to the barefooted Jesus that somebody would rope-tie him and stuff a bandanna in his mouth. Where’s the Symbionese Liberation Army when you need them to kidnap Trump?).

I have a hard time envisioning Finicum charging at Law Enforcement officers. That doesn’t seem consistent with his previous behavior. But like I said, it’s hard to know, I wasn’t there. I’m guessing most of you weren’t either.

Perhaps the question we all need to consider is does it matter if we know the truth of what happened in those moments that Finicum was shot and killed?

I’ve read comments by those downright giddy that law enforcement finally took action, even if that action resulted in death.

People make choices, the county sheriff said in a press conference. Sometimes those choices turn out for the worst. The implication being that it was Finicum’s choice to be involved with this militia and Finicum’s own fault that he is now dead.

He should have known better.

But what if it turns out that Finicum didn’t charge law enforcement? What if it turns out that Victoria Sharps account of the ambush by law enforcement proves to be credible? What if the car is riddled with bullets? What if Finicum really was just trying to get to a town hall meeting and nothing more? How, then, will we explain his death to one another?

Finicum seems to have been a practioner of that great faith tradition – Certainosity. So sure was he that the thing he was doing was the right thing to do that he was willing to lay everything he had on the line – including his life.

It did not pay off.

And now his family will suffer the consequences.

It seems a lot of people these days are going around espousing Certainosity. They care more about being right than they do about being redeemed.

We are a nation of people suffering from Certainosity.

Lord. God. Help us.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of Burdy (Mercer University Press). Karen has learned the value of being redeemed over the delusion of being right.  Her prayers go out to all those involved in this awful loss, on both sides of the fight.


Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

1 Comment


about 7 years ago

The death of Mr. Finicum is tragic, and I predict that it will result in more bloodshed. He is no longer a "militant." He has now risen to the rank of martyr. If Ms. Sharps' account is even 50% accurate, it is miraculous that there weren't five or six deaths. Mr. Finicum had been living under the Rock of Gibraltar if he thought that resisting arrest, driving away from a police stop, and attempting to drive around a roadblock would not almost guarantee the risk of deadly force--with the intent of bringing death, not wounding. Did he think such an outcome likely only for unarmed people of color walking away from a low enforcement officer in broad daylight, not a bunch of armed white men in a 4WD at night? If men can't be better in control of themselves than this as husbands, fathers, citizens, and law enforcement officers, it's time to turn everything over to the women of USA. I'm baffled as to why no Christian religious leaders got together with Mormon bishops and prophets to say, "This must end non-violently, bloodlessly. We therefore will engage in a hunger strike until the occupation ends. The issues must be taken up legally in the courts and the halls of Congress." That, after all, is the process of the Constitution which the militants carried around in their pockets.


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