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:
“We’re going to shoot to kill,” one anonymous caller said in a message left for Gov. Kate Brown the morning after Finicum died. “You killed an unarmed rancher so now one of you must die,” said another caller to her office.
State troopers, FBI agents and federal officials “will be murdered in retaliation,” a Tillamook County man wrote on his Facebook days after the shooting. The man raged against police and urged more of them be killed. “If they live in your neighborhood, burn their houses down, with their wives and kids, after their lights go out,” the man wrote.
For obvious reasons, authorities have refused to reveal the identities of the FBI agents and officers who were on hand during Finicum’s shooting, but reported Facebook posts are offering rewards for this information. These threats — which include expressed intent to create roadblocks for trapping law enforcement — show no signs of slowing. Unfortunately, the troopers and agents’ names may eventually be released, although Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris hopes the legislature will reconsider a bill to keep their identities secret. All of this news makes a certain eBay sale item seem a little more terrifying than it once did.
Zaitz also took to Twitter to reveal a few of the aforementioned threats, which appears to include harsh language directed at his own family.