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Wednesday, September 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Red Pill Expo kicks off with a tribute to LaVoy Finicum

FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, center, a rancher from Arizona, talks to reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / AP)
FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2016 file photo, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, center, a rancher from Arizona, talks to reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / AP)

The Red Pill Expo kicked off Thursday night with a multipart documentary on the life, thoughts and actions of LaVoy Finicum, a life that ended with his shooting after he fled in 2016 from the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The event’s founder, G. Edward Griffin, told the hundreds of like-minded folks, who paid between $400 and $420 to attend the three-day event at the Spokane Convention Center, that they “have to do something.”

Griffin said he had a “crusader gene” that lit up and convinced him that he needed to “save the world. All of you folks have this same crusader gene, or you wouldn’t be here,” he said.

The published conspiracy theorist, who among other things has written that cancer is a nutritional deficiency that can be cured by taking a certain compound, told the crowd to fight the images they see in theaters that portray “hatred, fake news and fake history. On television, you see everybody is against us,” Griffin said. “We need more people like us.”

After introductions, the program went directly into the documentary on Finicum, 54, a rancher from Arizona, who was shot and killed by Oregon State Police on Jan. 26, 2016, as he reached for his pocket, which contained a loaded gun.

“No matter how it ends, it matters you stand,” the movie starts, using a recording of Finicum’s voice.

Finicum and his wife, Jeanette, raised 12 children of their own and served as foster parents to some 60 boys over 18 years, said Jeanette Finicum, who attended the event.

“He loved being a father. He loved being at home with his family every night,” she said. “That was his greatest quality.”

A cowboy cut straight out of central casting, Finicum spoke with plain language and provided ample footage for the documentary, produced by the Center of Self Governance, as he had already made several videos under the title, “One Cowboy’s Stand for Freedom.”

“Our country is at risk if we are not self-reliant and independent,” he says in the film. “Rebellion against tyranny is a righteous cause.”

Finicum did not start ranching until about 10 years ago, when an allotment of land owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management became available near his home in Arizona. After establishing a ranch, he became aware of the troubles of Cliven Bundy, who lived just across the border in New Mexico.

Like Bundy, Finicum began to believe that the U.S. Constitution did not bestow authority on the federal government to own land, a position that has been repeatedly rejected in federal court rulings.

In 2014, Finicum rode with the Bundys during a standoff in which the BLM released the Bundy’s cattle rather than engage in an armed confrontation with Bundy supporters.

“We didn’t know what my husband was walking into. I was worried that my husband was not going to come home,” Jeanette Finicum said.

The next year, Finicum announced he would stop following BLM rules on his own allotment.

“It’s time we do more than just talk … to defend our constitution,” he said. BLM officials “claim that this is theirs. I claim this grass is mine. Who is the lawbreaker and who is the law abider?”

Despite refusing to follow the BLM guidelines, Finicum insisted he was not an anarchist.

“I believe in government. We need the federal government. How else are we going to protect our borders?” he said. “Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be doing a good job in protecting the borders.”

He also refused to step into a federal courtroom, saying that since he had been labeled a domestic terrorist that he believed the federal government could hold him indefinitely even without a conviction.

“No matter how many days I have left, I will live a free man,” Finicum said. “How about we stop bowing down to the overreach of the federal government? How about we stand for freedom?”

The crowd stood and gave a standing ovation as the first section of the documentary ended.

“Have you taken the red pill yet?” Jeanette Finicum asked the crowd. “I’m so grateful that they gave LaVoy a voice, because he did not have one before tonight. We want to you to know what he was standing for. We want our country back.”

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