The Cowboy Jihad

Are you aware of this story? Many are not. The shooting of Lavoy Finicum in a FBI ambush near Burns Oregon and all the events leading up to that moment are complex, confusing and frightening. I don’t know what to believe, especially as most of my information comes from the media. Strangely, while the battle wears on between select ranchers and the US Bureau Of Land Management, and also the FBI, the mainstream media seems to largely ignore the issue. It is a sensational story, the very essence of American romanticism and courage. I am suspicious of why there is not more attention to this drama and of course, that leads toward conspiracy considerations.

Uncle Sam loves you, just do as you're told!
Uncle Sam loves you, just do as you’re told!

My research on this story has left me with plenty of unanswered questions. All I’ll say is that if you’re messing with a bully who clearly has you outgunned, then it is best to back up and reload for another day. I’ve spent more time watching interviews with Shawna Cox, who was one of the people with Finicum when he was shot repeatedly. The story is chilling. Clearly we live in a police state where might is right and citizens had better tow the line. This is a country which imposes its military will wherever it chooses on the planet and it ain’t going to tolerate any non-conformity at home. Mr. Obama wants to impose stricter gun control. Rightly so! Perhaps he should start with his own goon squads. To hell with the Sheriff Of Nottingham!

Yes I live in Canada but as it has often been said, when Uncle Sam sneezes, Canada catches a cold. Check out and also Libertys Champion on this story. I’ve also watched the last video of Lavoy Finicum before his death. He is being interviewed by The Oregonian. It is a poignant few minutes. I did notice that he is wearing a shoulder harness for a concealed weapon. It is all on You Tube. Watch these interviews and form your own opinions. The aerial footage of the event as released by the FBI was taken by a drone. That a drone was even present raises some obvious questions and why is the film’s quality is so low? This equipment is capable of very high resolution and so more riddles arise. Why was this film provided so expediently?

As the dust settles there will be books and movies and maybe the truth will become clear.

I am, of course, inclined to side with the ranchers and their declared determination to preserve their enshrined constitutional rights in the USA, the land of freedom. I am an old farm boy, I’ve also spent my time on and around ranches and I am a sailor. So this farmer/cowboy/sailor has a typically strong instinct to resist bureaucratic suppression. An impingement on my freedom as a human being and a citizen, so close to home, raises an urgent concern. It is amazing how any creature, when cornered, can become an irrational and extremely dangerous force. I think Finicum, with his wit and calm, rational intellect may have had old Sam feeling cornered. Finicum, true to his convictions, died with his cowboy hat firmly in place and quite possibly a copy of the US Constitution and a Mormon Bible in his pocket. He may even have been trying to draw fire away from the passengers in his vehicle when he was shot down. He has now become a far more formidable foe to Big Brother as a martyred legend. The Feds have pissed in their own cornflakes. I suspect that Mr. Finicum knew his value to his cause was far greater dead than alive and so deliberately put it all on the line.

To have a conviction that you are willing to speak out for is a rare and wonderful thing. To be willing to die for it is a facet of the human spirit which is a mysterious quality. Finicum did not have any bombs strapped to his chest, he was not out to hurt anyone. In fact he apparently advocated non-violence. Yet there were allegedly several loaded firearms in the vehicle that carried him and his passengers to his moment of execution. That’s what concerns me.

People often express dismay that I drive the back roads of Mexico and wonder why I’d do such a dangerous thing. I feel no less endangered there than I do driving on Vancouver Island. I do pucker up when travelling in the US where there is, on average, at least one handgun in every vehicle. I’ve spoken to so very many self-righteous gun-toting US citizens who feel carrying a weapon is as natural a right as having a navel. I’m not sure whether to avoid eye contact or to employ full facial contact. Do I smile or not? What triggers a personal indignation? What endears one person infuriates the next. I certainly don’t give anyone the finger nor express any indignation. You just never know what might set somebody off. I can still hear the granny in southern Arizona drawling on about how “I don’t go nowhere without a pistol in my purse!” “Even to church?” I asked. “Uh Huh!” she replied calmly. It seems to me that millions of US citizens are imprisoning themselves, and executing each other, with their own paranoia. This is in a country which embraced President Franklin Roosevelt as he famously declared, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy!

Turtle Valley Part of the ranch where I lived. I helped clear this field, tree by tree, stump by stump
Turtle Valley
Part of the ranch where I lived. I helped clear this field, tree by tree, stump by stump.
The old ranch house where I once lived.
The old ranch house that was once my home.
My old ride. I bet she'll still run. It was bloody cold on a winter morning.
My old ride. I bet she’ll still run. It was bloody cold on a winter morning.

I once travelled the US regularly on business. When old George Bush and the boys waded into Kuwait there was a massive display of patriotism. In a roadside rest area north of Seattle a small red car pulled in beside me. It was festooned with American flags and several bumper stickers saying things like “Support Our Troups” The car carried an elderly couple and as the driver emerged it was clear he was an ex-marine. There was no mistaking the crew cut, the tattoos and the steely glint in his eye. I was impressed with the patriotic overkill and frivolously remarked that I didn’t really believe it all. “Why not?” he demanded levelly, fixing a magnum glare on me. “Well sir, because you’re driving a Hyundai.” There was a pregnant silence.

Of course” I added, grinning like an idiot, “I understand the Smith & Wesson under your seat was made in America.” The hard lines in his face relaxed a little as he replied, “Actually it’s a Colt .45.” Then he smiled.

What I didn't know then! It's hard to believe I was once this flat-bellied cow poke.
What I didn’t know then!
It’s hard to believe I was once this flat-bellied ranch hand. I did learn how ranchers think.


I always imagined that Oregon was one of the more laid-back states in the union. I’m on my way in a couple of weeks to read at the Fisher Poet’s Gathering In Astoria, Oregon.


“It’s not a gun control problem, it’s a cultural control problem.”

…Bob Barr

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

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