A government official representing northwest Arizona said Cane Beds cattle rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum wanted to go out in a blaze of glory given his contempt for grazing right fees collected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Watson Knew Finicum
“Oh yeah. That was his intent,” Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson said Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that.”
Watson said he does not question reports that Finicum was shot and killed by federal agents in Oregon Tuesday.
Federal authorities have confirmed one man was shot to death when agents began making arrests of individuals who’ve been involved in the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but they’ve declined to identify the deceased. His daughter told the Oregonian newspaper that it was her father, Finicum, who was killed.
Watson said Finicum did not believe ranchers on the Arizona Strip should have to pay fees to the BLM for grazing permits. He said it was clear that Finicum envisioned that protesters could gain martyr status and support for their movement in a confrontation with the feds.
“That was where he was headed,” Watson said. “That’s what he wanted and to tell you the truth I am not at all surprised that this is where it ended up.”
Watson said many of his fellow residents and ranchers did not share Finicum’s views about grazing fees and the BLM. He said leaders in the local cattleman’s association and some of Finicum’s family members did not agree with his rebellious views.
Watson said he personally warned Finicum that his antics would bring negative repercussions for his ranching neighbors and that President Obama might simply take grazing opportunities away by putting more of the Strip into protected national monument status. Watson said he believes Finicum’s anti-government views were extreme and do not represent the mainstream.