2:45 p.m.via Yahoo
Soft music played as hundreds of people from across the country crowded into a Mormon church in a small Utah town for the funeral of the spokesman for the Oregon armed standoff.
Pictures of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and his family were displayed at the church's entrance Friday, along with a saddle and a painting of a cowboy next to his horse.
Mourners filled the main pews, gymnasium and several overflow rooms in Kanab, near the Arizona line. Others stood against the walls. Some small children held American flags in their hands.
Police shot and killed the Arizona rancher during a Jan. 26 traffic stop after they say he reached for a gun. His supporters called it an ambush.
His death inspired a call for like-minded followers to come to Kanab, Utah, for his funeral. The day's events, billed as "LaVoy Finicum's Stand for Freedom," include a visitation and funeral, followed by a memorial horse ride to a local middle school for a benefit concert.The holdouts remain in the refuge and now we're starting to see the results of the Finicum shooting.
The events could draw up to 1,000 people, including many from Kanab and the nearby towns of Fredonia and Cane Beds, Arizona, where Finicum lived, said Sgt. Alan Alldredge of the Kane County Sheriff's Office. Others are expected to come from Nevada and elsewhere in Arizona.
"They've kind of put the call out nationwide," Alldredge said.
Sheriff's officials and the Utah Highway Patrol will be on hand to ensure the events are peaceful and orderly. Given the anti-government sentiment expected among the crowd, Alldredge said local law enforcement agencies have pleaded with the FBI and other federal agents to stay away.
"We've kind of asked them to stay away, and they say they will," Alldredge said.
While I thought the shoot was justified, apparently many feel differently and he's being hailed as a heroic martyr. Even worse is the news that his death is serving as a rallying cry for the militia movement which is something I feared.
The confusing part (at least for me) is that it seems as if we're seeing the melding of two groups that aren't natural allies. The militia movement is anti-govt to a large degree. Ok, we knew that, but what should concern law enforcement is the fact that farmers/rural landowners are beginning to move into their camp because of policies of the Bureau of Land Management being pushed by environmentalist.
That is a potent mix and in rural areas that could be a deadly for federal agents.