The following is my transcription of the late LaVoy Finicum in his vlog entitled,“BLM Update,” which was uploaded onto his YouTube channel on September 7th, of 2015. Finicum was a participant in both the 2014 Bundy Affair as well as the Burns Chronicles, during which he met his untimely demise on January 26th of 2016. If you would like to assist me in providing rough transcripts for the rest of Finicum’s vlogs, please feel free to contact me.
Hello, everyone. This is LaVoy Finicum, One Cowboy’s Stand for Freedom. I promised to make more videos when things progressed between me and the federal government, the BLM in particular, and they have. Before I get into particulars, I want to say a few things.
It’s kinda easy for people to see what I am standing against, but maybe not quite so easy to see what I am standing for. What I am standing for, is that I am standing for freedom. I’m standing for the liberty of the individual American. I want my children to grow up in a free country.
We’ve lost our freedoms, we’ve lost our Constitution – the federal government is enmeshed and entwined in almost every aspect of our lives. You can see that in Obamacare and thousands of other things. When the federal government begins to refuse to be confined by the laws of the land, by the supreme law of the land (our Constitution), it’s up to our politicians and the courts to check it, but they haven’t, they’re actually part of the problem. They’ve continued to grow the power and draw the power into a central government, and when a central government begins to overreach its bounds, then the states (the individual states) are supposed to stand up and check the federal government, and they haven’t.
What happens when these balances of power, these checks of our government, are no longer working? The last remedy for freedom rest in the individual Americans. Individual Americans have to stand up for liberty. They need to understand the Constitution. They need to understand what liberty is, what freedom is.
Here we are, we are at that point. We are at that point where the federal government has said to the West that, “We own and control your land.” As I’ve said earlier, the federal government is laying claim to 1/3rd of the landmass of the United States.
Now, I ranch here in Mohave County; Mohave County is about the fourth largest county is all of he United States – millions of acres. I actually have to drive through two different states and around the Grand Canyon to get to our county seat. It’s 300 miles from my doorstep to the doorstep of the county buildings at our county seat in the city of Kingman.
This Mohave County is 98% controlled by the BLM. They say, “We own and control 98% of the landmass of Mohave County.” Now, you need to understand, as I’ve said before, why this is so bad. They consolidate all three branches of power; the BLM, the federal government has said, has exclusive legislative power over these lands. A bureaucrat behind a desk will write a statute, and then they enforce it by federal rangers, armed and authorized to use force, lethal force if necessary. Get contrary with them, you are hauled into a federal court. [Transcriber’s Note: This is not quite correct, as bureaucrats write regulations due to their rule-making power; please read Administrative Agencies: The Fourth Branch of Government and The History of the American Bar Association for a more accurate explanation of the Administrative Procedures Act.]
None of these bureaucrats do we elect, here in Mohave County. None of them are accountable to us in Mohave County. They are not subject to the power of recall. This is the definition of tyranny.
You’ll say, “Well, is it really that bad?” Let me show you an example – over where my daughter go to school is the town of Fredonia. Fredonia used to be an up and coming town, it had a vibrant logging industry. Ran two shifts, one shift a swing shift. I worked at this sawmill there for a little while. They ship lumber all over the country, and they also had an oil refinery; that little town had an oil refinery. Then they had a vibrant mining industry (an exploratory industry).
What has happened? They’ve clamped down on the lumber industry, and Kaibab Industries went out of business; it folded. There’s a little family that has a little lumber operation where they lumber a little bit of board feed compared to what Kaibab Industries did; it’s just a very, very small operation. So that lumber industry is gone. All the people who were employed in those two different shifts in that big company are all gone. People came from all down from Utah, from Kaibab working in that, besides the people from Fredonia.
What happened to the oil refinery? EPA shut it down, it’s gone, it doesn’t exist. What happened to the mining industry? They shut it down. Ken Salazar: “No more, no more mining here on the Arizona strip. When the last two little mines are played out, it’s done.” So, what’s happened? All these industries have left this little town – that leaves the people there either to leave the community to go find work or they have to try and stay alive some other way, and a lot of times, that’s by receiving some government welfare, some government subsidies, some help.
What happens to the individual when that happens? When a man is out there busting his butt on a drill rig or out in the timber, logging and workin’ hard everyday (sweat of his brow), bringing home the bacon to his family, or is out there in the mine (or working his ranch), that builds the individual, builds his character, and he has self-esteem and self-worth. The community reflects it, so now the government shuts it down; the federal government says, “No, that’s ours, the lumber’s ours, the minerals are ours, that grazing is our, it’s ours, and we’re shuttin’ down, but here is some welfare; you can have that.”
In that way, they destroy the fabric, the character of our citizens, of our nation. So, it is oppressive. Go down here to our county seat, the city of Kingman, drive up and down the main streets there. Look how at how many stores are boarded up; you tell me that Mohave County is thriving; it is not thriving, because the federal government claims ownership of 98% of Mohave County. We’re subjects to the federal government, we have no representation – there’s no election to these people who rule over us, so it is wrong; this is the very definition of tyranny.
Enough with the preaching (and with trying to reteach these same principles that I have tried to teach before), let’s get down to the brass tax, what’s happened? I’ve acknowledged Mohave County and the state of Arizona as the rightful owners of this land. Remember, at the point of statehood, these lands are to be disposed of to the states; federal government says, “Nope, we’re holding onto them.”
Here we are, but I, as an individual, can uphold the Constitution. I’m acknowledging Kingman, our county seat in Mohave County, as the closest government to We the People. I am going to pay a production tax off my cattle to Mohave County. I will no longer pay my mandatory grazing fees to the BLM.
What happens? Here is a certified letter from the BLM, and it’s important than I go through it with you. It says:
“Dear Mr. Finicum,
As you are aware, the Arizona Strip District Office of the BLM identified 24 head of your cattle with calves on the [unintelligible] allotment on August 4th.”
[unintelligible] allotment…that’s my ranch! They’re calling it an allotment, “We allot it to you,” ok:
“On August 7th, we contacted you by phone, and requested that you remove these unauthorized livestocks within 7 days. On August 17th and on August 21st, we counted a total of 38 head of your unauthorized livestock on the allotment. Based on these findings, we have enclosed a trespass notice, identifying the laws and regulations which you violating.”
What laws and regulations are those? Well, the laws and regulations of bureaucrats. Did I vote on them? Did We the People here in Mohave County vote on them? No, we did not – people behind a desk wrote these laws and regulations:
“If these allegations we have made are correct, you must permanently cease and desist from the violations. Charges and damages due to the United States are estimated as follows.”
Charges and damages…now, remember, I showed you that pasture down there, thousands of acres in that pasture. For 6 years, I’ve never grazed on that pasture, never grazed it off. This is my first time turning in on that pasture on that ranch of mine, and they say, “You can’t have them there, you oame in too early. We said you can’t come in here until October 15th, and so you’ve come in here too early, so you’re in violation of our regulations.” It doesn’t matter if the grass is high and that I finally have water there and for the first time I can graze this off; it doesn’t matter, “You’re in violation of our regulations, of our laws.” So:
“Here is a non-willful trespass fee of $92 (in change) and a willful trespass fee of $180…”
I’ve got two fines for 10 days of trespasses (so, just 10 days), and I better look at the administrative costs that they’ve leveled against me:
“…and administrative costs of $1,185 (in change).”
That’s pretty typical of government, isn’t it? The total amount I owe them now for fees and fines for 10 days is $1,458 in change. Now, continue on here:
“These charges and damages will continue to accrue until your livestock are removed from the allotment.”
“Until you get your dang cows off our land; you don’t come in here until we say.” I didn’t buy this from them. They don’t own it, they didn’t purchase it from our state legislature, as stated in the Constitution. They must purchase any lands from the states by approval of the state legislature; they never did. They don’t own it, and even then, it can only be for forts, docks, arsenals, those things for the defense of our nation. So, who is the law breaker? Well, it’s not me, it’s them. You need to understand that.
Let’s continue on here:
“You (me, ‘you,’ LaVoy Finicum) are allowed 5 days from the receipt of this notice to appear at the BLM office at 345 Riverside Drive in Saint George to affect a settlement for your trespass damages.”
“Get your butt down here in 5 days, pay these fees, and ask for forgiveness, and we can probably work this out.” You know that’s probably not going to be happening, don’t cha?
Now, it’s also important that you begin to put names to these people; these bureaucracies are made up of people. District Manager (it says, “Sincerely”), Timothy J. Burke, District Manager. Here he is, this is the man, this is the bureaucrat that’s threatening me, and not only me, he’s sent a copy of this letter to my lending institution. He’s gonna put some pressure on, “LaVoy, get back in line.”
I’m just a small rancher, I don’t have deep pockets. I have mortgages on my house here, got a mortgage on my ranch, there’s my trucks out there, got payments on my trucks I gotta make; just like most Americans, workin’ hard, trying to make payments, trying to afford my family, put food on the table. I’m not out there fighting with people, I’m not out there threatening people. Here’s my response, certified letter, receipt returned (return receipt); certified mail:
“Dear Mr. Burke,
This is my letter to inform you that the BLM stole approximately 45,000 gallons of my water out of my Coyote Springs holding tank this summer. I understand it was used to fight some wildland fires, but you neither asked nor paid me for my water. You could have used the helicopters to draw water out of the Colorado River, and had plenty of water without taking mine. Coyote Springs is the only live water on my ranch, and I have deed to 50% of that spring; that is, 50% for 12 months out of the year. You, the BLM, claim you own the other 50% of the spring to be used on your ranch, the BLM’s ranch, which borders mine.
“I hereby give you notice that you have 7 days from the receipt of this letter to return to my Coyote Springs tank 45,000 gallons of water. At the end of 7 days, if you have not restored my water, I will turn all 100% of the water onto my ranch until I have recovered the stolen amount. The spring flows approximately 500 gallons a day.”
It’s not a big spring, it’s just a little spring, my only spring:
“My daily amount is 250 gallons a day, that leaves 250 gallons a day that you claim is yours.”
Illegally, I may claim; they have no constitutional right to own that:
“To repeat, if my water is not restored in 7 days, I will be taking all the water flow of Coyote Springs for the following 180 days.”
Divide 45,000 gallons by 250 gallons it takes 180 days to make up the stolen amount:
“In addition, I give you notice to leave my water alone in the future to leave my cattle alone, to leave my grazing rights alone. I am sending a copy of this notice to the Mohave County sheriff and to the American people.”
This is me giving notice to you, the American people, so that you may know what is going on. Now you can see the pressure that is starting to come, and you know I’m not gonna bow, you know I’m not gonna bend down.
As I said earlier, when the states, when our politicians, when our representatives fail to confine the federal government to the strict confines of the law, remember, there are specific and enumerated powers narrowly defined that the federal government must function within, they are way out of bounds. When our politicians fail to hold them in that, and then when our courts, the Supreme Court fails to hold them in that…remember, people say, “If the Supreme Court says it’s okay, then it’s okay.” That’s not true; our rights are not defined by 5 men in black. Let me quote you Thomas Jefferson in 1820 as he got older and saw what the Supreme Court was doing, he said:
“To consider that the courts would be the sole arbiter of all constitutional questions is a dangerous doctrine and will lead to despotism.”
That’s what it’s done. My grazing rights do not exist because there is a federal government or there is a Supreme Court. Those personal property rights existed because they are natural to me, and I’ve explained how personal property rights are established; I won’t do that again here. When politicians and courts fail to restrain this federal government, then the individual states are to step up and restrain the federal government. Well, our states have failed to do that; they failed to restrain them. [Transcriber’s Note: Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to William Jarvis on September 28th of 1820, where he said, “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an Oligarchy.”]
What is the final recourse to uphold our Constitution, the law of the land, and the liberty of the people? It has to be individual Americans, that’s the last line of defense; it’s the last recourse we have, so here I am. Here I, as an individual person, can make a stand. I can stand up and defend the Constitution; that’s what I’m doing.
I’m telling the federal government that this land belongs to the state of Arizona and Mohave County. These are public lands for our state, you didn’t buy ‘em, you didn’t purchase ‘em, they’re ours, the state of Arizona’s. Those grazing rights are personal property rights; those mineral rights belong to the states, those lumber rights belong to the state – this is Arizona public land, and I uphold the rule of law, I uphold the Constitution. I believe in government, I do. This isn’t about me trying to be an anarchist, it’s me upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.
As an individual, here I can. I can stand up to the federal government, one of the greatest powers on the face of the earth at this time, and say, “I will not comply with your lawlessness.” I am not going to bow down, I’m not going to sign your mandatory terms and conditions. I am not going to present myself in 5 days and ask for your forgiveness. I am not going to pay your additional fines and fees. I’m not the only one; Cliven Bundy’s done it in Nevada, I’m doing Arizona, Stanton Gleave is doing it in Utah. Here are three separate ranchers, in their own sphere, with an opportunity to stand up and hold up our Constitution and to show the country and the world that the federal government has far outreached its defined powers; it is not restrained by law.
What can you do? Since I made the video back a couple of weeks ago, hundreds of you have contacted me through different means – social media and other avenues, saying, “We’re gonna come, we’re gonna come and stand by you.” You’re willingly gonna put your life on the line to help defend my ranch. Boy, I take off my hat to you; what more can one person give than his life? But now is not the time, it’s not the time to come down here and help defend my cows in this little place here. That time will probably come, but now is not the time.
What can you do now? I don’t have deep pockets, [yet] there is something you can do to help me finance this fight. I’ve written a book, a couple years ago, it’s just been published, and this is a way that I can help finance this fight with the BLM, and the book is called, Only by Blood & Suffering; Regaining Lost Freedoms (there’s a picture of it), and it just gotten published. It’s doing well on Amazon, it’s running 5 stars; it’s a novel of an end times scenario with a nation in crisis and a family trying to pull together in a time of great national crisis. [Transcriber’s Note: Finicum held up the a copy of his novel to the camera, the cover of which featured a cowboy squatting facing away from his horse, against a desert backdrop; the novel is currently retailing on Amazon.com today @ ~ $20 in new paperback.]
I’ve written what I believe what we’re going to be facing as a nation, and as individuals. It highlights the natural rights of man verses the collective; it is a great book to teach these principles at an emotional level (at the family level). I believe that it is a great tool to help teach your family; it pulls at the heartstrings. It’s difficult to read in that it emotionally gets to ya, at least it does to me; I’ve reread it a couple of times, and it still get to me even though I wrote the book. If you want to buy that book, it’ll help me to fund and finance this fight because they’ll come at every angle, at every level.
The time will come, whether it’s with me, or (again) with Cliven Bundy down in Nevada, or Stanton Gleave up on Utah. You Americans, you people who love freedom, in whose hearts and breasts that fire still burns, you’re gonna have an opportunity to come here and stand with individuals that are standing. I’m not sure which ranch it is that they’ll take out first, but they’ve got to crush all three of us, they can’t let this go. What happens if other ranchers start standing up?
They gotta put this down. The rumor is that the head of the BLM, ol’ Dan P. Love, trying to run this time – the FBI is gonna run the next operations against us. Not sure how it’s gonna come or when it’s gonna come, things could develop very fast, particularly over my water, ‘cause I am gonna protect my water (I am gonna use my water). That means I’m gonna shut the water off to the BLM’s ranch (they stole my water, didn’t replace my water), or they can take some tankers and fill my tank back up, then we don’t have an issue; be fair, be just.
Anyway, please share this; please let everybody know how it’s progressing. Don’t need to hop in your car or your truck and come here just yet. Might next week, might next month, or 6 months from now (or whenever); don’t know how it will progress, but please keep America in your prayers. Please keep those who are seeking to defend the Constitution, please keep them in your prayers; it means a lot. This land is a land of freedom, it was a land of freedom, it will be again if you as an individual American stand up. I’m standing here, and Cliven is standing there, and Stanton Gleave is standing over there. Other people are standing in their place, and we’ll stand together. We will uphold these freedoms, we will restore these liberties, and I truly believe that we will come out on top – I believe that God is on the side of freedom.
I want to say that, and thanks again for all of your support. Catch you later, keep you updated. Thanks.