SUNDAY POST 02/07/2016
It is polished and shiny and looks so fine.
Once you earn it you have to tow the line.
The minute you wear it upon your chest
it becomes a symbol that you are the best.
It means honesty, integrity, and fairness to all.
Your life is never your own, but at the public’s call.
Night or day, any hour, it makes you a mark.
It doesn’t protect you from a shot in the dark.
Over the years the shine starts to fade,
but brighter still is the man its made.
It is often what separates you from the crowd.
It is a second family of which you are proud.
It’s another sad day for the family of badge keepers described in the above poem. It’s also a sad day for the Finicum family. A man has died at the hand(s) of the police in the small community of Burns Oregon. A rancher cowboy named Lavoy Finicum was shot and killed reportedly by the Oregon State police. Arial video of the of the murder here
LaVoy Finicum was a man who was representative of the old west. A proud rancher who traveled from his ranch in Arizona to Oregon to let all know that he represented Ranchers who only wanted to ranch in peace as their fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers had done. They wanted back the land that was cleared, maintained an utilized to graze cattle and feed our country and that had been taken from them by the Federal Government. It was public land, it was not owned by the Federal Government or the State of Oregon.
Its always sad to lose a loved one, a father, husband, son or other family member but this loss has special meaning and reason for all of us to give thanks. I personally want to thank the family of this brave and honorable man LaVoy Finicum. He gave his life for what he believed in. He gave his life just as all the men who stepped up in the face of danger and went to war and lost their lives in the name of the United States of America. They did it for the protection of us all and in the name of every single citizen who didn’t go and stand with them. These brave men died for our freedom without question. Mr. Finicum was one of these men. He stood, unarmed and looked the grim reaper in the eye and declared that he was not afraid to die. He stood alone. The person or people who shot him were not alone and they were afraid to look LaVoy Finicum in the eye, face to face. They did not represent the Citizens of the United States of America.
As a retired Colorado police detective I take LaVoy Finicum’s death personally. The gunshots that took LaVoy’s life came from the guns of authority. An authority granted by rights of oath. This oath is represented by a badge that says the word “Police Officer”. It is worn on the left chest so all that all who see it will know that the man who wears this badge stands for honor, bravery, and the protection of the innocent. It is a protection guaranteed to every single citizen of the United States of America. This badge is a symbol of trust. The people who wear this badge are members of an elite brotherhood who have all taken the same oath. The police brotherhood is an informal membership granted by rite. The ritual is the first time the badge in pinned onto the chest. This is membership bequeathed and the acceptance of membership is not optional.
The people who killed LaVoy Finicum are allegedly members of my brotherhood. The same brotherhood that I belong to now and until I die, the same brotherhood that I represented for almost 20 years.
We the members of this brotherhood do not condone cowardice, or the breaking of the oath. In fact we loathe it. There have always been members of our brotherhood who should not have been members but we have no control over the hiring practices of our governments. Our members are unquestionably accepted in the belief that the oath was taken and witnessed by a solemn swearing on the bible The police brotherhood has no recorded numbers or even a spokesman. It is a brotherhood of spirit.
Fortunately the brotherhood places a few more requirements on these badge wearers than do the government authorities. These authorities do not like the brotherhoods demands on those who wear the badge because these demands may be contrary to some of the beliefs and motivations of the political entities that all police officers work for. I said work for, not represent. The keepers of the badge represent the badge of honor. The badge of honor represents the people of the United States of America and is authorized by the Constitution of the United States of America, not the FBI, nor the CIA, nor the BLM, nor the many States Counties and Cities of the Untied States. It is an honor and a privilege to serve our country wearing this badge.
Albeit, today we, the members of the Police Brotherhood shed tears. Our tears are not just for Mr. LaVoy Finicum but our tears are for those members of the brotherhood who broke their oath to the Citizens of the United States of America and our Constitution when they disregarded Mr. Finicum’s right to live and killed him. The individual(s) who did this were not brave or honorable lawmen. When they set up a road block they were setting a trap of death. There was not going to be a killing in the name of the laws of the United States because that would require probable cause or a trial of piers. This killing was going to be a killing based on the laws of the weak, the laws of dishonor and cowardice, not our Constitutional law. But what laws specifically were created by these men that LaVoy Finicum broke where in the penalty was immediate death? We have no such laws in this county.
The Finicum killing may have been in fear but I doubt it. But if these men were so petrified of Mr. Finicum that it was necessary to kill him, I suggest they are not qualified to wear the badge. These lawless men did not represent the badge, they did not represent the Citizens of the United States of America. they represented themselves, the Sheriff, the Governor and the State of Oregon.
The police brotherhood will remember the names of the people who took the life of LaVoy Finicum. We will remember those supposed policemen who claim such fear for their own safety as to shoot a man multiple times because he might have had a gun in his pocket. We will remember those who shot a man who was protesting the actions of the Federal Government, a man who had not committed any violent crime that precipitated his killing. We will remember those who shot at Finicum’s van indiscriminately and not caring who or what they were shooting at. We will remember the shots that killed a man standing with his hands in the air in submission. We will remember those who set up a confrontational road block on a slippery snow covered road and when Mr. Finicum’s car careened into a snow bank, the brave police were afraid for their lives and wearing masks to conceal their identity didn’t give Mr. Finicum a chance and immediately began shooting at him. We will remember all that and we will hold them up as a shameful examples of what we, the brotherhood do not represent. And should there be a time that these lawless people are deemed immune from judgment before a tribunal of their peers, we will remember those who participated in this immunity and hold them accountable as if it were they too killed Finicum. And all this accountability can be accomplished without resorting to the same type of justice and adherence to our constitution that Mr. Finicum was subjected to. There is a name for Mr. Finicum’s fate and those who participated in it. It is CORRUPTION.
And so we shed a tear for the brotherhood, and for those despicable people who’s fingers pulled on a piece of steel knowing that they were taking a life they had no right to take in the name of the United States of America. These men and or women might think that they now have some sort of esteem within their ranks. They might believe that their actions have exhibited bravery and fulfilled their need to be somehow admired by those who witnessed the confrontation. They do not deserve any of that and if and when they ever become real men, they will live in disgust of themselves for the rest of their lives. Until then the bone-fide policemen within the brotherhood no longer recognize their passage of membership. These poor examples of police officers should actually be held in the same classification as those in prison for murder. It matters not to the brotherhood how much they are exonerated by their employers. It matters not that the police heroes claim they committed no wrong doing because LaVoy Finicum committed “suicide by police”. When LaVoy Finicum died with his hands in the air and presenting no threat to anyone so did any and all honor bravery or professionalism claimed by the police who were present or supervised this incident.
Mr. Finicum not only succeeded in his quest, but was the only person that fateful day who exhibited bravery normally seen on battlefields and in some dangerous situations by honorable policemen and firemen and did it for all to see and admire. The admiration was not of those in overwhelming numbers of badge wearing heroes, it was of LaVoy Finicum.
To the family of Mr. Finicum I say that the brotherhood is with you, not against you. The people who shot your loved one do not represent the spirit of the law nor the Constitution of the United States of America. There are those of us who will step up to the plate when the time comes to seek justice and avenge the wrong doings of those who have sought to destroy us. La Voy Finicum’s death is an unequaled example of patriotism, selflessness, honor and bravery.
God Bless You..
James D. Benish