LaVoy Finnicum was the spokesman for the militia standoff up until late last month when he was shot dead at a roadblock where he and several other militia members were to be arrested for illegally holding a national wildlife refuge shelter in eastern Oregon. Reviewer Magazine went to Bend, Oregon, and met with the militia members on January 9 and that is where this interview took place.
A lot of fun has been made of his group, about how un-televisable they were, and they were called insane and host of other unflattering pronouns. But listen carefully to Finnicum on this tape with our ace reporter Sarah Shafer and you’ll find their position is pretty well thought out. There’s some issues with the federal government being able to seize land willy-nilly that are not getting discussed in the mainstream press.
One Small Oregon Town Deals With America’s Growing Trend Of Gun Violence
In the aftermath of the tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, the test every student needs to prepare for.
It’s something we all grew up with.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
The fire alarm would echo through the school hallways over the intercom. Depending on the class, there would either be a collective sigh throughout the room as we began our choreographed shuffle, or eyes would flutter to attention, scoping the room for a classmate with whom to pass this brief reprieve from monotony. Undoubtedly a teacher would tell everyone to leave their belongings and instruct the students where they were expected to meet outside the building. Once outside and corralled to the designated “safe zone,” roll call would be taken to make sure no one was left behind in the building. Simple, right?
My high school participated in several versions of this kind of emergency protocol. We also rehearsed what to do should an earthquake or intruder threaten the school. How helpful these exercises can be is debatable. Being inundated with the same kind of Pavlovian association our whole young lives, the fire alarm bell or the call for a lockdown, is it really necessary to repeat the same exercises as an adult in college? Surely these lessons transmigrated with the students to their higher institutions of learning, or is it possible they need to be continued, if not upgraded? College campuses have multiple buildings and a multitude of not only full, but part-time students to coordinate. The POP POP of a gun going off at school will certainly elicit a different response in them then the sound of the bell we were all raised with.
On October first of this year, nine people lost their lives, and more were injured by a single gunman on the grounds of the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon. This shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, later took his own life after police arrived.
According to a thorough study done by the Strategic Management Department at the University of Quebec, in over 85% of school shootings, the attacker is affiliated with the school. Chris Harper Mercer, a student enrolled at UCC this term, adds himself to this ghastly statistic. Aspects of his personal life, as appropriated by an article in The New York Times, reveal that among his interests were the methods employed by the IRA, and a fervent belief, if not feeling of personal obligation, to exercise his Second Amendment rights, made evident by his personal arsenal of at least 13 firearms. Whatever fueled Mercer’s sudden violent break, it’s possible more may be revealed once his as-of-yet undisclosed manifesto is made public.
Until then, if sharing his collection of weaponry with his mother, getting discharged by the army before he could complete basic training, or too little tit as a baby was a predisposition for becoming a killer, no one can know sure.
What is obvious, is that school shootings have become a horrible trend recurring at an outstanding rate over the last 20 years. Searching for solutions or something tangible to blame, I wonder why places of education everywhere shouldn’t review and instruct students about these horrible but possible scenarios. While a difficult notion to swallow, school shootings are no longer a nightmare experienced by an unlucky few, rather they are the reality for whole communities. Carrie Hilliker-Neet, a Roseburg resident, mother of a UCC student herself, Samarah Nichole Neet, and relative of the victim, Rebecka Carnes, writes to Reviewer Magazine, “Being such a small community, we know each other intimately. A fear of the unknown has overwhelmed many. On the surface we look strong but under it we are still screaming why.”
I polled 31 students all currently enrolled at either Umpqua Community College, Lane Community College’s main or downtown campus, or the University of Oregon. When asked to recall how their schools prepared them to respond to emergencies on campus, nearly all the students shared similar responses.
The nine UCC students who participated in the poll were all were on campus the day of the shooting save Samarah Nichole Neet, her mother thankful that, “By the grace of God we both overslept.” Each of the students answered with an awe-stricking “No” when asked if their school had ever prepared them in any way for emergencies on campus. While most of the students requested I omit their names, one woman expanded on the subject, sharing, “It was a big issue after the shooting that no one was ever given any instruction on what to do in case of an emergency. Also the emergency procedures were never used. They [Umpqua Community College] have an emergency system at the school, but no one used it. I’m not sure if staff didn’t use it because they were not educated on it or because they just didn’t use it. It was a lock down system and it was not activated. I’m sure their thought was that nothing would ever happen here.”
Over at the University of Oregon, the story is much the same. Hailey Pratt-Stibich, a student in her junior year studying physics, both long in hair and long in legs, revealing, “I can’t remember any kind of instruction being given on the subject, but I had orientation three years ago,” and, “I’m not really the person to ask about what to do.”
I asked Haily if her school has at least reviewed safety strategy since the Roseburg shooting, “I haven’t heard anything like that,” she answers, “No.”
Andrea Cline, a full-time student studying at LCC’s main campus, answers the same questions I posed to the students before her: “Has what to do if there’s ever an emergency on campus ever come up in your classes at LCC, or been a part of any information you’ve received there?”
Andrea, who returned to school two years ago after a ten-year hiatus, strokes her yellow lab, Milo, and tells me what I’ve come to expect as a typical response to this poll. “No,” she tells me, “but I had orientation a few years ago. I don’t know if things have changed since then. All I know is the school has everyone’s number, and we’re suppose to receive emergency text messages if anything happens.”
A second-year student at LCC’s downtown campus, Mark Luden, is the only student I talked to who had both received some kind of information on safe zones in his school building and who had participated in at least one kind of drill there. However, according to Luden, the drill performed was a simple fire drill practiced only last term, not when he started school two years ago, and the information on safe zones was to be found only in an information packet he had been given.
Apparently, safety education and preparation amnesia has found its way into U of O faculty as well. A professor at the university who wishes only to be referred to as F, retired just this summer. He begins our telephone conversation listing his credentials for me, telling me of the 20 years he taught at the university and how in that time he rose to be the head of his own department.
“While you were at the U of O, how did the school prepare students and staff for emergencies that might break out on campus?” I inquire.
“It was not really clear,” he recalls, hesitantly searching his memory to ensure accuracy. “Only staff and student workers participated in any kind of drill I was a part of, and even then, there was no discussion of violent attacks.”
I let F continue, asking, “If students weren’t a part of the drills, what did the faculty do to prepare the students, or educate them on the matter?”
“I don’t think anything was conveyed to them. I taught classes and safety procedures were never something we went over on the first day of school. It was never a part of any of the information packets I went over with the students. There wasn’t even mention of natural disasters.”
F seems as surprised by the administrative oversights our conversation was revealing as I am. “As a faculty member, what were you trained to do in case of any kind of emergency?” I press on.
“We knew the emergency numbers to call, but it wasn’t clear how to react,” he replied. “That really wasn’t part of the training. Only if someone pulled the fire alarm would I know to do something, to evacuate. And then it was just assumed the staff would assist the students. Otherwise it would leave everyone for themselves.”
Further findings in their study of school shootings, the Strategic Management Department at the University of Quebec states that it’s this very thing: “In many of the school shooting events that were investigated, the root cause was somehow related to some ambiguities and or omissions in the hiring/firing/evaluation and promotion policies of the school involved. These policies – that were rather vague and lacked rigor – have contributed to creating frustration among the members of the organization and thus have induced in the organization a vulnerability to violence-related hazards.”
After my interview with F, I start to think this obvious patchwork of policy may be cause for alarm. With both part-time and full-time students falling through the cracks, and infrequently reminded of emergency procedures, if at all.
I sit down with Sergeant Glass of the Oregon State Police Department and Oregon SWAT team at a delicatessen in Springfield, The Lucky Lizard.
I shrug, trying to think where to begin. “What can the police really do to prevent these kind of events, especially when the students and faculty are the real first-responders?” I ask Sergeant Glass, in regards to the October first UCC shooting. With his shaved head and broad cop physique, Sergeant Glass starts numbering off counter-measures as concisely as a general would over a war-map discussing strategy.
“The first line of defense,” he begins, “in these situations has to be the students and staff. There has to be some kind of training. The police can only respond. A person’s morality or mental health, we can’t fix that. We can only respond and help prevent through education. I know the Oregon State Police or the Salem Police have been known to give presentations at schools upon request.”
I continue, “I know once you reach the scene, a lot of damage has already been done. What can students do while waiting for SWAT or campus police to protect themselves?”
“If you aren’t sure you can safely flee the scene then barricade yourself inside a room, preferably, or hide anywhere you can. If you’re in the room with the shooter then you have two options. If you are far away you can try to hide or escape depending on the situation, or even look for a way to defend yourself. If you are closer and being shot at, one tactic would be to have everyone in the room charge the shooter. A lot of people think this is a sure way to get shot, but then so does just standing there if you’re being shot at. Just look at what happened with the train shooting in France. Two guys, marines, as a matter of fact, rushed the shooter and subdued him before he could kill anyone (HERE). Everybody rushing the assailant at once has the possibility of startling him, for one, and it could also overload his senses so that he won’t be able to focus or find a target to shoot at.”
“I had no idea,” I interject, thinking myself how counter-intuitive the idea might sound to people at first, but ultimately understanding the logic.
The sergeant and SWAT veteran doesn’t hesitate in his answer. “In the state of Oregon you have to be 21 to get a concealed weapons permit. If, say, a teacher, has had the right training it’s possible firearms in the hands of the right people at a school could be a valid second line of defense. Some students have military backgrounds, like the men on the train in the France shooting, or Chris Mintz, the army vet at Umpqua, that tried to take down the shooter there. Another option is to allow students like Chris, that meet a certain criteria and have been through documented training with firearms, to be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on campus. But only those known and approved by the school and with the appropriate training.”
I thank Sergeant Glass for his time, realizing that school shootings have become a real threat, not just a few people’s nightmare. The needless loss of Sarena Moore, Rebecka Carnes, Kim Dietz, Lucas Eibel, Lucero Alcaraz, Quinn Cooper, Jason Johnson, Treven Anspach, and Lawrence Levine will not soon be forgotten by the Roseburg community. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to make sure school shootings never happen again. However, whether pro-gun control or not, all the students I polled agreed that they had yet to be thoroughly educated on the basic emergency procedures employed by their schools. While it’s appalling that a place of education should need to adapt such precautions, they might be worth their employ if it’s possible to have even one less name listed under the headline of a similar tragedy.
Turns out you can buy a tickle. Or, technically, the tickling is free, it’s just $15 cover at the door.
Fetish night at The Brickhouse in Springfield, Oregon immediately reminds me of a small town Halloween party I went to in grade school, hosted at the school auditorium, except instead of booths for bobbing for apples, face painting, or searching for pennies in piles of hay, these booths have caution tape around their perimeter, men and women in latex gloves at their entry, and waivers for employees and patrons to sign before participating. It may not be the high-octane fetish expected from the European underground, but in the realm of gentleman’s clubs, Springfield might be “keeping it weirder” than its neighbor to the North in Portland, not to mention most of the West Coast.
Most out-of-staters and out-of-towners are surprised to find liquor and pastie-less women all in one place, and in Springfield, Oregon no less. Larger cities like Seattle and L.A. usually allow one or the other, liquor or nudes, but not both. In the meantime, Springfield is starting to be recognized for more interactive club scenes. This DOES NOT mean, I want to clarify, that just because there are no 6-foot invisible bubbles surrounding the dancers that you should treat them like prostitutes or disrespect their boundaries. The reason they seem like human beings is because they ARE human beings!
That said, fetish night at The Brickhouse is that special day that only comes once a year where both patrons and entertainers get to play, and like any other holiday gathering, some years go better than others. This year the large bar with wraparound counter and stools shines an island of light and liquor at me as soon as I walk into the club. As my eyes adjust, I see a booth immediately to my right, taped off and with a pressing crowd surrounding. One of the club’s dancers has volunteered herself for what I’m told is an “electric wand.” The blond, tattooed beauty squirms on a black leather massage table in only her g-string and 6-inch heels as another woman, the technician, instructs her to squeeze the ‘wand,’ in one fist. This metal post has electricity running through it, and as the dancer grips it the technician moves her fingertips and long nails over the her as if she were a masseuse, and the dancer girl, her client. She continues stroking chest and breasts with her palms as the low-volt electricity moves between her palms and the entertainer’s exposed skin, provoking the dancer girl’s mouth to part with pleasure as her thighs press in squeezing her crotch and spread out again at the knees.
To my left is a small stage donned with the club’s usual suspects, but for the day’s festivities, these entertainers have upped their game. On stage they do striptease to sultry numbers as well as amazing acrobatics, dressed in leather or dressed in fur; one girl even does her set with a fresh corset piercing laced into her back just before at one of the booths. A woman walks by in plain clothes, her slave in front of her on a chain, shirtless and in tight leather shorts, bound behind by handcuffs.
Beyond the bar is a second seating area and a large stage flanked with cages on each side. The crowd pressing in is a mixture of patrons and scantily clad women in heels. It’s obvious a lot of the people here know each other, but even the new-comers don’t shy away from offering encouragement to the dancers on stage or the strangers participating at the booths. A husky man that originally came to watch the show, and a brittle looking dancer who originally just came to work, both end up behind the flog on the main stage at some point for their enjoyment only. The kink isn’t restricted to employees only tonight. An unfamiliar lady from the crowd shows everyone up in a lesson of pain as she gets a circle of needles pierced ornamentally above each breast. While some kind of grand finale might have been nice, the fact that it has little feeling of being a show here more than party isn’t discouraging.
As all this is going on, an older man in leather pants and bare chested underneath a leather vest starts weaving rope around a girl in black lingerie center stage. I move around booth to booth, strangers to friends, White Russian to Vodka Redbull, until I notice the process center stage is finally completed and the man has fashioned a harness around his beautiful assistant, a delicate dame now attached to a T-bar which allows her to flip head over feet and back again all while being bound. In this contraption, when the girl moves her arms in and her legs spread, and vice versa. She flips and spreads and stretches, posing as if sitting mid-air, splayed, or upside-down and curving her feet back towards her head.
All and all, fetish night at The Brickhouse had the feeling of a campfire kumbaya but with cross-dressing, flogging, tasteful nudity, and leather. All attending regulars, dancers, fetish vendors, and even the voiyer “just curious” category in their blue jeans and ironic T-shirts, all came together to forget social status and embrace their weird selves. In lue of a real central show, it was the people who came out that ended up playing both observer and exhibit, audience and entertainer. The club was alive with the sound of music, and, of course, consentual spanking.
Editor’s Note: In early Fall, 2005, I went on an exploratory expedition to the Northwest, driving from San Diego to Portland along the 101 from LA to SF and then up the 5 through Medford and into PDX, stopping finally at the doorstep of Powell’s Books bookstore. This little story is reposted from 9-11-2005 in the Reviewermag Livejournal account, which was, in the days before we had a dedicated website, our way of managing content online. Reviewer has been in print since 1996, and a domain was purchased as early as 2000 or so, but has been webmastering its own site only since 2009.
[Backposted from the same date in Reviewer Rob’s Sporadic Journal.]
I’m still in Portland. I can get back in time to catch the swell if I leave on Tuesday.
I have been meeting with people despite my hellacious head cold, which I think I caught in Medford. Or maybe in Marin, on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge. I had been checking out the Presidio and area around the Golden Gate and said what the hell and drove across it. On the other side there was a lookout point with a statue of a solitary sailor in the middle of it and lots of Japanese tourists acting all excited to be there. There was a fierce cold wind blowing. I mean, it was like you’d expect to feel on a ship in the arctic. This was still the first week in September and I was suddenly very aware of not being in Southern California any more. I put on a sweatshirt and it was still cold. On the water directly in front of the observation deck, down slightly to the right, there was a large rock sticking out of the water, a small shoreless island shaped like half a football jutting vertically out of the water. Plumes of the wind could be seen making small waves in the bay as blasts of air came over the Marin headland and struck the water at what must have been a sharp angle since the ripple pattern fanned out in all directions from a large central location near the rock. I went into a Sausalito dockside restaurant for a large plate of some excellent blackened catfish, beans, rice, salad and a pint of beer. The salad was better than any I’ve ever tasted. I ate every single morsel of this dish as well as the basket of bread while reading the local paper and was full. There was a TV over the bar and the weather man was at the chart. The sound was off but the unmistakable schematic of the Jet Stream could be seen making a high arc up by Alaska, curving down the Canadian Coast, and then going slightly out to sea before making a hard left and entering California right at the mouth of the San Francisco Bay. I know the Jet Stream is a high-altitude phenomenon, but it’s no wonder I imagined I could smell icebergs in that wind.
Berkeley was cold too, didn’t stop there for long. Drove up into the central valley and on for a couple of hundred miles before stopping to sleep.
I went to Medford, Oregon, the next day, and stopped in at a Starbucks to log on where there was a customer coughing. Maybe he’s the one who had something that I didn’t yet have any antibodies for… Or maybe it was the strippers at that one titty bar Medford has. They, like many Oregon erotic dancers, get up close and personal with their marks.
Since it’s a novelty for this California dude to be in a bar where nude girls dance I eagerly went in to this one place of live, erotic entertainment. The girls on stage were rubbing faces, clothed asses and crotches on customer’s faces, bare legs on faces… I was thinking like, “OK, how do I know that last guy on the other side of the stage you were rubbing your twat into his face on didn’t have fuckin pink eye?!”
But the girls were hot, so, I tipped well and drank my beer. I even bought a lap dance from a bright young lady who spent a few minutes before hitting me up for going private to tell me how nice Medford is, how it reminds her of her hometown in Minnesota, and about all the money she’s made over the last couple of years first buying a condo in Sacramento for 90K with her boyfriend and how they sold it a year later for over 100K in profit. Now she lives in Yreka and is a dental assistant. She was short, small breasted and 22, with braces on her teeth and a killer little rockin ass and figure…
Lap dance: $15.
Here I am now with a huge head cold in Portland, with all these new bugs swirling around me, money in my pocket and time on my hands. The people here are friendly and I’ve met a few I’d like to spend some time with before I make my drive back.
I’ll let you know though if I come down with a case of the Portland Whooping Cough or conjunctivitis.
Oh, by the way, almost forgot, one of the things I like to do in every town I stop in is buy the local Thomas Guide. The only complaint I have about it is that they don’t yet have GPS coordinates on the pages. Other than that the things are invaluable and a great street finding resource even if you have a really good onboard or pocket computer. They come with a CD and every year they update with new streets and the pages correspond year after year so places are easy to find in each edition.
In the Thomas Guide for San Francisco the map for North Beach is on page 666.