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We have learned a very important lesson about book reviewing! You should never, ever write a two-part book review unless you've written both parts ahead of time! Or if you're doing a weekly series, of course. But here we are, finally finishing our review of the late LaVoy Finicum's terrible post-apocalyptic fantasy, Only by Blood and Suffering: Regaining Lost Freedom, which we began reviewing a million years three weeks ago. As we noted last time, it's a story about how eternal American values -- devotion to God and family, self-reliance, and guns guns guns guns guns guns guns guns -- make the difference between freedom and slavery in a world gone mad. Shut up, guns are too a value.

Only By Blood and Suffering is sort of like The Turner Diaries without all the racism. Finicum was a savvy enough propagandist to go out of his way to build a crapsack world where the Enemy is Big Government, not the brown people. Most of his Bad Guys are Anglos, and several of his Good Guys are decent, hardworking Navajo and Mexican-American people -- who get written as two-dimensional stereotypes, yes, but in a book this bad, everyone is equally two-dimensional, at least.

Last week, we'd mostly looked at the setup of the end of the world: the scattered members of the Bonham family, all making their way to their Cowboy Dad's ranch after the Chinese and Russians have thrown U.S. America into chaos by detonating several nuclear weapons high in the atmosphere, destroying our electronic infrastructure with an EMP pulse. Finicum spends the first third of his novel introducing you to the plucky son and daughters; once they get to dad's ranch, they mostly fade into the background, as Finicum's Dirty Harry Sue stand-in, cowboy Jake Bonham, becomes the focus of the novel's action.

One last getting-home adventure, first: Before making it to the ranch, the oldest daughter, Cat, singlehandedly shoots a trio of bad guys who have raped a Native American woman mostly to death and thrown her infant daughter into the snow. With logic typical of this novel, she leaves the baby out in the snow while she gets her shooting on:

The door was ajar and in two quick steps I pushed the door open with my foot. Both of my hands had a firm grip on my pistol and as the filthy, naked man rose off the bed I put four rounds through his center mass.

Action! And never a missed shot, either. She's on a mission of vengeance, so Cat barely glances at "the women" lying in the bed, who later turns out to only be one women because LaVoy Finicum is as good with woman/women as he is with pedal/peddle. Cat dispatches the last bad guy, goes out into the snow, retrieves the baby girl, and gets her cleaned up and fed. She finds "a cupboard full of government issued welfare baby formula," which you might think is a good thing, but really, it's proof of the dying woman's (or women's) unfitness for life. Obviously, if the mother had had a man in her life, she'd have been safe and unraped. Cat forgets to go tend to the raped woman for a while but eventually remembers her; the welfare mom at least gets the privilege of seeing her baby one last time before expiring.

Later, as Cat is lost in the snow and starving, she comes close to shooting a bull so that she and the baby can live, but darned if her father's firm ethical conditioning and lectures about government overreach don't kick in:

This was an easy shot, no more than 50 yards but, my finger froze upon the trigger as a voice came into my head. “Cat," it seemed to say. It was the voice of my father. “Cat, if it's not yours, leave it alone" [...] “What about the baby?" I thought. I had grown up watching our government take from the producing segment of our society to help the children. If they could do it, why not I? This was a matter of life and death.
Dad seemed to rejoin my thoughts, “If you take without permission, even to give to those who are in need, it is still robbery. The same holds true for government. When they take from one group and give to another it is plunder, plain and simple. We cannot do it individually, and since our government derives its powers from us, they have no right to do it either."

Everything in this novel, especially internal dialogue, is a Tea Party lecture. Cat decides not to shoot the bull, but as she's about to croak from hunger and fatigue, Cowboy Dad finds her tracks in the snow and saves her. Cat's immediate rescue may be some sort of Ayn Randian analogue to the story of Abraham: She obeyed the principles of private property, and was thereby saved, amen.

Eventually, everyone gathers back at the ranch house, which gets a full chapter of room-by-room description all its own. We're reminded of somebody's observation that Hitler's best paintings were architectural studies -- he didn't do humans so good. That house, though, we feel like we know it. And also Jake's guns. As we mentioned last time, every model of shooting iron in the novel gets an endnote, a habit that reaches alarming proportions in Chapter 10, when the twins, HayLee and KayLee, are joyfully reunited with Jake and his arsenal. Here are Chapter 10's endnotes:

1. The 270 Winchester: Winchester, name of a rifle manufacturing company. The number 270 stands for the caliber of the bullet that the rifle shoots. 27 caliber with the weight of the bullet typically being 130 to 150 grains and is shot at the speed of about 3100 feet per second. The 270 Winchester is a popular deer and elk rifle. 2. The AR 15 is the military looking rifle that is currently being targeted by gun control efforts because of its looks and its ability to carry high capacity magazines. It looks like an automatic rifle but is only a semi-automatic. It shoots a .223 caliber bullet typically 55 grains in weight or the military 5.56 millimeter if the barrel is stamped with the 5.56.
3. The .308 is a 30 caliber bullet and that weighs typically 150 grains to 180 grains. This has been one of the common bullets used for years by NATO. Many snipers also used this cartridge.
4. The .308 cartridge shoots slower but has much greater foot pounds of energy than the .223 cartridge.
5. Hornady V-Max is an expanding or frangible bullet that is devastating on game such as coyotes.
6. FMJ is the acronym for “full metal jacket." It is not an expanding or frangible bullet

All this for a couple of paragraphs where Jake is prepping himself and his horse for a reconnaissance sortie. But such loving description!

Leaning against the post with the lantern, was a scoped AR-15 made by Colt.2 Chambered for the .223 or the 5.56, it had a collapsible stock and a Surefire sound suppressor on the muzzle. It was the scary and now very illegal, assault rifle. It was just one of a half dozen that he owned. The girls were not scared of the "scary assault gun." In fact, they were very proficient with them.

So, on to the confrontation with the New World Order: Finicum decides the evil secret society that's been manipulating world history since at least the early 20th century is the Fabian Society, but it might as well be the Bilderburg group, the Bavarian Illuminati, or The Jews -- the actual agents of the conspiracy don't matter so much as the indisputable fact that THEY are secretly running things. The New World Order's local representative is Zackary Williams, a local bully -- and son of Jake Bonham's best friend, of course, for the sake of pathos -- who has risen through the ranks of the secret agencies that run things. He technically works for the Department of Homeland Security, but that's only one of several alphabet agencies he's done wet work for over the years. Zackary runs the valley where Jake's farm lies, and thanks to ubiquitous NSA surveillance, has a dossier on everyone in the vicinity. He's divided the valley's residents into several categories, like the ones to be executed as useless eaters (JUST LIKE HITLER DID), the troublemakers who'll have to be destroyed, the pliable workers who can be used as forced labor to build the New Order, and the assorted scum from whom Zackary will recruit a civilian army -- hope that phrase sounds familiar and scary! And what kind of people make it onto the troublemaker list? Why, people just like LaVoy Finicum and his Bundy Ranch buddies!

  • Those who had bought three or more guns in the last five years and had no criminal or drug use history.
  • Anyone who had bought an assault rifle with no criminal or drug use history.
  • Those who may not have bought guns but had bought more than five hundred rounds of ammunition in the last five years and had no criminal or drug use history.
  • Those who, in the last two years, had visited web sites deemed anti-government.
  • Those whose food purchases in the last five years were in greater amounts than needed for the household size. (Seizing those food resources would be critical.)
  • Those who were registered Libertarians.
  • Those who were members of the Tea Party.

And who are in the pool of ne'er do wells the NWO will recruit from? Obviously, the usual cast of rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists. Plus these nasties:

  • Those who were young to middle age and in good health.
  • Those who consumed drugs and alcohol coupled with high amounts of pornography.
  • Those who did not have extra food on hand.
  • Any who had bought a gun or ammo and did have a criminal history.
  • Any with violent histories.
  • Those who were on government welfare.
  • Those who did not have a history of visiting anti-government web sites.
  • Those who consumed liberal news media and web sites.
  • Any who were members of any socialistic organizations.

And no, smartass, farmers and ranchers who get crop insurance and subsidies to graze their cattle on public land are not on government welfare, you commie. On the other hand, sure looks like all of us Wonkers will be richly rewarded for our aid in spreading the gospel of big government and Taking. Just like any good villain, Zackery Williams is the face of murderous violence hiding behind the mask of Big Government giving you Free Stuff:

Now was his day, now was his time. It was a time for the strong to rule the common man, the simple man. This experiment of a free republic, of people being equal under the law, was a failure. The law of force would now be restored.

Things come to a head when Williams and the local mayor, Ann Rafferty, order the seizure of Jake Bundy Bonham's cattle to feed the foolish locals who hadn't stocked up on food; at a town meeting, Jake makes a speech about how his cows are his cows, and no one has a right to take them, and he will not comply with this communism, no way! Needless to say, the town is split between the producers and the takers, the ones who grow food and are productive, and "the half that did not pay any income tax and most of them received a payment of one type or another from the government." The brave ones come and join Jake at his ranch, preparing for a shootout with the Army of Takers, and then we get a dumb, multi-chapter set piece where Finicum deploys all his brave local ranchers in bunkers with intersecting fields of fire, blah blah blah. Before the DHS goons come to take his ranch, Jake slips ahead in the predawn darkness and singlehandedly shoots something like a third of them, which is OK, because he is defending what is his, exactly as Jesus Jefferson Christ Washington told us to in the Declaration of Commandments.

After the battle, which bad guy Zackery Williams and his Top Men escape, but one of the twin daughters doesn't -- don't ask us which; they didn't have their own personalities anyway -- a lot more people see the wisdom of Jake's ways, and they decide that they can ask for help, but not demand it. Then Jake lynches Mayor Rafferty, for Justice. Rather than simply string her up, of course, he has to give a speech or two first:

Ann Rafferty, you may not have pulled a trigger on a gun but blood is on your hands nevertheless. I'm leveling a capital charge of murder against you. [...] If a man cannot own and control his own property, he does not have freedom. Just because you need it, you have no right to take it, even if a majority agrees with you. Generations ago people in this country took care of one another without the government in the middle. [...]
Right now, Ann, if everyone here voted to see if you should be executed for what you have done, you would get a majority who would be willing to set you free. The laws have become corrupt. And when a people supports plunder through a majority vote and then enforces that vote by bloodshed, they have become a corrupt people too.

And with that, he lassos her by the neck and hangs her from a barn, although he at least acknowledges that he'll face God's judgment for it. He's pretty sure God's OK with it. We then get a brief interlude on the international conspiracy that's brought America to this terrible pass:

The Society's grand vision was to rule this world as they believed it to be their right. They were wise in their own eyes and knew that if they could gain control they could impose their will and raise this world to a lofty state of utopia. For the ignorant masses, they held great contempt. The unwashed were foolish, ignorant, and in need of so much guidance. They were incapable of governing themselves. Every aspect of their lives should conform and bend to the will of the Society. For more than a hundred years they had been building and preparing for the implementation of this grand scheme. It had taken many hundreds of small steps over a century to move this forward.
Always, the enemy was the common man who held fast to the idea that he should be free.

We learn all the insidious steps: Social Security, which hid the theft of freedom in an "effort to care for the unfortunate," and then eventually the horror of "nationalized health care." And, of course, the worst thing ever, "taking the country off the gold standard and printing money out of thin air." And by god, agents of The Society like Zackery Williams can't let a single free man like Jake Bonham gum up the Plan, so off we go to the final hunt, the details of which hardly matter; Jake out-snipes and out-thinks Williams and his jackbooted federal posse, but while he's on the run, he has time for a little moral reflection about whether he was right to kill all those takers and federal agents and the Mayor. Needless to say, he rejects the empty philosophy of Charles Darwin (which Charles Darwin never espoused, if we're going to be all nitpicky:)

If one believed in Darwinism it was not wrong in what he did, it was simply evolution and survival of the fittest. No right no wrong, no good no evil. But I did not believe in Darwinism and I knew there was a God to whom I must give an account.

Ultimately, he decides that the Declaration of Independence allowed him to kill anyone who threatened his "life, liberty, or property," so Jake knows he's done just fine in God's eyes. He feels a little bad about lynching the mayor, but only because a gentleman oughtn't string up women.

Finally, after taking out a half-dozen of the posse, Jake is wounded and cornered, his trusty AR-15 shattered by a lucky shot. With only the old six-shooter in his holster, he lies at the feet of Zackery Williams and his two surviving DHS goons. Williams says he'd looked forward to hanging Jake in the town square as an example to troublemakers, but decides "I'll have to settle with taking your head."

We can't help but think that the scene which follows had to be going through the real LaVoy Finicum's head as he jumped out of his truck after trying to avoid an FBI/Oregon State Police roadblock on January 26. 2016:

Here they were. One, two, three, standing side by side, twenty feet in front of me. From the beginning of the conflict till now, never had I seen agents next to each other and never this close. A wicked grin covered my face and Zackary furrowed his brows even deeper. A cowboy does not pack a six shooter all his life and not know how to use it. My grandfather had taught me the fast draw as a child. Seldom had a week gone by in my life that I had not practiced.
My right wrist flicked and with a blur, my hand Spalmed [sic?] the rosewood grips of my 44-40. In a flash, the old pistol cleared the leather holster with the hammer eared back. By reflex, I pulled the trigger, the hammer fell, the gun bucked in my hand. The bullet took Zackary Williams between the eyes.
Reflex, speed, and muscle memory, Zackary was still standing when my second bullet struck the agent to his right. It entered below the right eye.
The agent on the left was barely raising his rifle when my third bullet clipped his chin and smashed through his throat.
I stood there in the sandy, wash holding on to the root of the ancient tree. The bodies of my enemies lay before me, not a twitch coming from them. Holding the old revolver in my hand, I could not help but spin it around my finger once before sliding it back into the holster. My family was safe.

Hell, if you had a really sick sense of humor, you could take the FBI video of the final chase of Finicum and pair it with a dramatic reading, perhaps with the theme from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in the background.

It's a pity that real life isn't as orderly or heroic as the fantasies of a sovereign citizen. We'll grant LaVoy Finicum this much: He was every bit as good a patriot and student of the Constitution as he was a novelist.

Only by Blood and Suffering: Regaining Lost Freedom, by LaVoy Finicum. Amazon Kindle E-Book, $6.99 or free to read with "Kindle unlimited" membership. 245 pages. Legends Library Publishing, 2015.

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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