The year began with the so-called Oregon Militia’s occupation of a wildlife sanctuary, and January ended with the death of one member, LaVoy Finicum. He was better known by the internet as #Tarpman, and he still possesses a legion of followers who oppose what they see as a tyrannical federal government. These folks were not convinced by unedited FBI footage of Finicum’s shooting, which showed him appearing to reach for a weapon when confronted by law enforcement. Such a speedy video release was nearly uanprecedented, but authorities dropped it for transparency reasons. They hoped to dispel precisely the type of rumors that continue to swirl.
Those who support the cause of Cliven Bundy and the militia continue to insist that Finicum was shot in cold blood while witnesses have confirmed otherwise. Les Zaitz of The Oregonian and Oregon Live has been on this story all along, and he’s following some disturbing developments. Zaitz writes that ominous language towards authorities began within hours of Finicum’s death, and now “a cascade” of real threats continues: