OPINION: Was it a Cold Weather Cover-Up? People on Both Sides Stretching for Answers Why 5 Federal Agents Covered-Up Shots Fired in Oregon Standoff


By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric

The internet is all a scurry with speculation as to why a federal agent failed to disclose firing 2-shots at the scene where LaVoy Finnicum  was killed in Oregon, on January 26. The knowledge that 4 other agents have allegedly helped hush it up are causing more than a few raised eyebrows. And, to make matters worse, we still do not know which of the 5 agents actually fired the rounds.

Supporters of Cliven Bundy’s militia and self-labeled “Patriots” are quick to come up with plentiful, and sometimes paranoid, talking points while those less conspiracy minded folks are having a tougher time coming up with reasonable scenarios to fit their narrative that it must have been an accident. Where Finicum supporters seem to have a never-ending supply of, “Ah Ha’s!”, non-supporters are struggling with having very few tangible, “What if’s”. 

There is one particular “what if” that is making me a little buggy. Maybe it’s in part because I live in Oregon, but it is bothering me enough I need to address it.

Many people online are claiming extremely cold weather contributed to or somehow caused the agent to fire his or her weapon unintentionally. If the 5 feds who are under investigation were to continue to cover up whatever they are covering up,  I suppose it is possible they could claim weather as an excuse, but that would be unlikely in my opinion and also, a mistake for some very factual reasons. 

Quantico, Virginia

FBI are trained for all weather. Elite teams, like the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), are especially trained for weather as they can be deployed anywhere at anytime of the year into any number of weather conditions.

Virginia’s Quantico is home base to FBI HRT training where the average January temperature is 27-47 degrees Fahrenheit. 

virginia average weather

Washington, D.C.

For those who want to believe the feds trained or were out of D.C., the average January temperature is 29 – 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

washington dc average weatherBurns & John Day, Oregon

The targets were driving north on a stretch of Highway 395 between Burns and John Day, Oregon. In the Deschutes County Sheriff’s “Incident Report” , an OSP officer stated it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit on the scene.

In Burns, Oregon the average January temperature is 15 – 35 degrees Fahrenheit. 

burns oregon average weatherOn the day of the shooting, according to U.S. Climate Data, the high was 34 degrees Fahrenheit in Burns with zero precipitation or snowfall.

john day oregon average weather

On the day of the shooting, according to U.S. Climate Data, the high was 46 degrees Fahrenheit in John Day with zero precipitation or snowfall.

What the OSP Had to Say

In the incident report OSP officers said they had all been briefed to prepare for cold weather.

According to statements from OSP their teams didn’t tac up with their gear until they got word from the drone that the target vehicles were within a certain distance to where they were staged for the felony traffic stop.

They had continuous updates via the overhead drone and each other on both police and FBI radios. They also had a satellite radio.  Too many people are imagining OSP and FBI sitting exposed to the elements waiting for hours, when in reality they had vehicles with heaters and had come prepared. 

Finicum’s truck did eventually freeze into the snow bank by the time it was ready to be towed late that night. The temperature had dropped to as low as 9 degrees Fahrenheit according to U.S. Climate Data. However, at the time of the operation, according to the report, an officer from the scene stated it was about 40 degrees during the incident. None of the OSP officers noted any severe weather, including any wind, in their statements and there was no precipitation or falling snow. The roads themselves were clear.

The snowbank  although deep and firm on the surface, was not a bank of ice at time of the incident . We all saw the wave of snow nearly bury an FBI agent and we also all saw Finicum himself walking in, not on, the snow.

Moral of the Story

It wasn’t THAT cold.



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11 responses to “OPINION: Was it a Cold Weather Cover-Up? People on Both Sides Stretching for Answers Why 5 Federal Agents Covered-Up Shots Fired in Oregon Standoff

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