By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
For 6-weeks dozens of alarmist YouTube broadcasters — along with friends, family and countless followers of the Bundy and so-called ‘Patriot’ militia, have perpetuated some pretty inflammatory anti-police and anti-government propaganda related to the January 6, shooting death of armed occupier LaVoy Finicum. Most of the fodder fueling this has come from two female eye-witnesses, 59-year old Shawna Cox and 18-year old Victoria Sharp. Both were riding in and then hunkered down in the back seat of Finicum’s SUV during the chase and at the time of the shooting on a curvy stretch of Oregon’s forested Highway 395 between Burns and John Day.
Today’s FBI press conference, utilizing defendant Shawna Cox’s own cell-phone video footage embedded with their own, blew many of the more outlandish accusations out of the water.
On the day Finicum was shot, his daughter Thara Tenney posted,
The same statement was also shared the same day on Finicum’s Stand For Freedom Facebook page,
This is Victoria Sharps testimony. She was in the truck with LaVoy. SHARE TO THE WORLD! This is the real story.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2wA18O_6dgw&feature=youtu.be
In it, Sharp asserts, among other things, that she herself saw Finicum shot “at least 6 times” while his hands were “in the air” including at least 3 times after he’d fallen to the ground. In addition she alleges “at least 120 shots altogether” were fired at the vehicle after Finicum was killed while she, Cox and Ryan Bundy were still inside.
When prompted, Sharp noted that only the left side windows had been shot out.
Throughout Morphonios interview, he emphasizes to Sharp that he is recording her statements in case “something” happens to her, further fearmongering an already traumatized teenager while providing the appropriate click bait language to up his own ratings.
Also that day,
These claims were repeated by YouTube spinner, yarndy,
On the same day, Laura Gunderson, for OregonLive, reported on the statement and noted,
“The family commissioned its own autopsy on Finicum that was completed over the weekend, according to a family member. The family hasn’t released details from that autopsy.”
If the family had received the private autopsy report, that shows they knowingly and intentionally released and then helped spread false information about the details of Finicum’s death in order to incite.
Shawna Cox was a guest on Dave Hodges’, The Common Sense Show. Hodges asked Cox if she and the other passengers of LaVoy’s SUV were spoken to or offered a chance to surrender at the first stop where where they has sat in the vehicle for several minutes, Cox’s well publicized reply was,
“No! They just opened fire on us as we sat there. They never gave us the chance to surrender.”
Hodges also reported that,
“Finicum (was) immediately shot upon exiting the car, several times, and was, again, shot at repeatedly while he lie in the snow dying“.
“After being shot at over 100 times, and lucky to be alive, Shawna was taken into custody. Shawna addresses the question posed and listed above, as she revealed to my audience some very detailed information which is also confirmed from the public accounts of 18 year old Victoria Sharp.”
Further stretching the truth, Hodges adds that according to Cox,
” … when the last man was taken into custody, they were asked if there were any others left in the truck. They responded that they were the last. The FBI promptly proceeded to fire over 100 more rounds into the vehicle after the vehicle was vacated.”
Photos were released today of Finicum’s SUV. The vehicle was not riddled with 120 or more bullets as both she and Sharp have claimed.
The Sons of Liberty suggest the Feds planted a 9mm on Finicum. They also shared a screenshot of a Facebook post by Barbara Davis who listed a serial number for a stolen gun she said matched the 9mm found on Finicum .
Davis removed her post not long after, but, not before her lie was shared many times over.
On February 3, Alex Jones’ Infowars flamed the disinfo fire by also claiming Finicum was shot 9 times and would have “no open casket” due to being shot in the face,
“LaVoy Finicum’s body was returned to his family with nine gunshot wounds including one to the face. There will be a closed casket visitation and funeral service Feb. 5 in Utah.”
It should be noted the Finicum family held an open casket viewing prior to the service and Finicum’s face and everything else was in fact completely intact.
After the February 5 funeral YouTuber Professor Doom live streamed a call from a funeral attendee. This caller claimed it was Finicum’s head that had been blown off –not his face, and that it had been reconstructed with plastic. He assured the listeners he was pretty sure there was a real body in the casket for those who thought Finicum was a “crisis actor” and the whole thing a hoax.
The caller is a classic example of someone suffering from “True Believer Syndrome” which I will discuss momentarily.
Les Zaitz of the Oregonian reported on Cox for OregonLive saying,
“Finicum told the women to get out if they wanted to, but Sharp was terrified of being shot. Cox said her motherly instinct took over and she chose to stay to protect Sharp.”
But, in Cox’s personal video Finicum does not tell the women to get out. He asks them if they want to and both women decline. Also, from her video it is clear she spends more time bad-mouthing the authorities to Sharp than she does mommying her. Throughout the video all seem oblivious to any wrongdoing that caused the stop to begin with.
Cox was the leading female face throughout most of the occupation. Her big role at Malheur Refuge was whiteboarding visitors to educate them on the Constitution and their cause. She was also often seen by Ammon Bundy’s side at their frequent live streams and press conferences.
Victoria Sharp’s only real role in the occupation itself was that of a performer with her family. She was interviewed by Kyung Lah on CNN who after letting Sharp talk, Lah pushed on playing the FBI video of the shooting pointing out Finicum reached in his jacket where a 9mm was said to have been found. Sharp, wild-eyed and wobbly-mouthed, was a stark example of someone suffering from cognitive dissonance.
Dissonance is felt when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs.
The sad truth is there will be many involved left simmering as they continue to buy into and or feed the falsities. Many of these will suffer from “True Believer Syndrome”. No truth will ever break though, least of all the information put forth in today’s press release. That only somehow reinforces, to them, their righteousness.
This syndrome is best explained by the late social psychologist, Leon Festinger, author of, When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World.
Festinger said five conditions must be present if someone is to become a more fervent believer after a disconfirmation of their beliefs.
- A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he or she behaves.
- The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual’s commitment to the belief.
- The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.
- Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.
- The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.
What we perceive to be a lie from many are in truth … their truths, and these deeply ingrained beliefs are part of a bigger societal problem.
The CULTure of Tech
The psychology involved in groups like these cannot be overlooked or even downplayed. These groups are cults or at least cult-like. Today, people are more apt to brainwash themselves by way of confirmation bias. Unlike cults of the past, modern technology allows you to be isolated in the privacy of your own home and whereas before there would be a singular “cult leader”, now there are many leaders speaking cross-over language while preaching to their flocks on websites, podcasts, YouTube channels and other live-streams. Taking their cue from corporate media’s model of “frequency sells”, these alternative and independent mediums lather, rinse and repeat at alarming speeds.
In the late 1980’s, psychologists and sociologists began to abandon theories like brainwashing and mind-control, but in her 2004 book, neuroscientist and physiologist Kathleen Taylor disagrees. Wiki says of her book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control,
“Certain brains with more rigid pathways will be less susceptible to new information or creative stimuli. She uses neurological science to demonstrate that brainwashed individuals have more rigid pathways, and that that rigidity can make it unlikely that the individual will rethink situations or be able to later reorganize these pathways.”
Creating Their own Propaganda
The only real surprise that came out of today’s FBI press conference addressing Finicum’s shooting is that five federal agents are now under investigation. One for allegedly accidentally discharging his weapon twice; and four others for potentially covering it up on his behalf. It is said one shot did hit Finicum’s vehicle, but did not strike anyone. Neither of those shots caused injuries to anyone.
The agents who purportedly covered up the accidental discharge by their colleague, and the agent who misfired, should be investigated. There is no question. They should get no free pass. Honest investigations have no place for deceit and after so many officer involved shootings they have an onus to provide transparency to a leery public.
That being said, an accidental discharge of a weapon with no resulting victim is hardly a conspiracy yet within minutes of today’s revelations speculation, rumor and outright accusations have already manifested in such.
In his 2007 book, Propaganda American Style, Noam Chomsky remarked,
“For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments.”
Those who seek only to confirm, stop seeking truth and in doing so become the creators and curators of the very propaganda they say they fight against.
UPDATE 03/08/16 11:53 pm pdt: The original story Tweeted claiming “accidental discharge” that I based that commentary on has since been removed. This article alludes to the same conclusion. I still stand firm FBI’s undisclosed discharge of a weapon must be investigated whether discharge was accidental or intentional. Also, it must be determined and disclosed whether or not it was the shots fired by FBI that struck Ryan Bundy in the arm.
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