Skip to comments.24 Years Ago Today the Federal Govt Changed its Rules to Launch a Sniper Attack on Off-Grid Family
Posted on 08/22/2016 6:10:48 AM PDT by HomerBohn
Randall and Vicki Weaver and their children wanted nothing more than to be left to live an isolated life in peace in their cabin enclave on a northern Idaho mountain top called Ruby Ridge. Untrusting of the federal government and of the belief society had taken an insurmountable turn for the worse, the Weavers as many residents in the remote and breathtaking area taught their children to be self-sufficient and defend themselves with firearms from unwanted intrusions onto the familys property.
But the Weavers seemingly idyllic life came to an appallingly violent end over several hours from August 21 to 22, 1992, in a horrendously botched federal raid that would also profoundly alter perceptions about the U.S. government in the minds of even ordinary Americans.
Often afterward reported to be white supremacists, the Weavers considered themselves race separatists only and intended no harm against others beyond that belief though their stance often included the company of people with a more vehement ideology.
Regardless of the Weavers beliefs, the account of what federal agents perpetrated against the family under the premise of effecting law enforcement action implores Americans of every race to consider the telling outcome of untrammeled government power run amok.
In 1989, Randall Randy Weaver came under the scrutiny of federal agents intent on infiltrating sometimes-violent white supremacist organizations like the Aryan Nations and eventually wound up charged for selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns to an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [now, also, explosives] (ATF).
Weaver, notably, claimed he had been set up thus flatly refusing the governments offer to drop the charges if he would turn informant, feeding the feds information about various Aryan Nations members and was indicted in December the following year.
Though Weavers insistence about the set-up leaves his failure to show up for a scheduled court date in February 1991 an altogether open question, a clerical error marking that court date for March didnt prevent authorities from issuing a warrant for his arrest.
Knowing the Weavers possessed a relative arsenal which Randall, Vicki, and their children were well-trained how to use agents werent entirely sure how to carry out the warrant and so began intense surveillance of the familys mountain home while carefully formulating a plan of action.
During this period, Vicki reportedly penned several darkly but vaguely threatening letters to federal agents, containing phrases such as the tyrants blood will flow.
Considering the family originally relocated to their outpost over mistrust of the government coupled with Randalls claims concerning the charges which ultimately generated the warrant, Vickis language is understandable.
Remember, whatever narrative about dangerous white separatists federal officials proffered about the Weaver family, Randall had only sold under questionable circumstances two sawed-off shotguns to a federal agent, and his failure to appear in court, for all intents and purposes, was the fault of the court clerks ultimately egregious error.
All in all, an isolationist family on a remote mountain hardly posed an imminent threat to anyone.
Nonetheless, federal marshals set in motion a plan in August 1992 that would send shockwaves across the country and around the world for its deadly ineptitude and wholly disproportionate use of force.
On August 21, marshals surprised Randall, his 14-year-old son Sammy, friend of the family Kevin Harrison, and the Weavers family dog, Striker, on a road near the familys property. Though some of what happened next remains a matter of conjecture, the events mark a disturbing turn in the use of force for the purposes of an otherwise relatively innocuous warrant.
A fully camouflage-clad marshal shot and killed Striker prompting Sammy to return fire at the group of marshals. Shots then rang out from both sides in the end, both Sammy and U.S. Marshal Michael Degan lay dead. After the brief gun battle, Weaver and Harrison retreated to Ruby Ridge and marshals regrouped, bringing in FBI agents and setting up a sniper to watch movements on the property.
One of the most contentious aspects of following events concerned an abhorrently arbitrary relaxing of the FBIs rules of engagement to handle the case.
Larry Potts headed the FBIs criminal division and oversaw the deployment of the agencys Hostage Rescue Team to break the standoff at Ruby Ridge but in doing so, loosely nullified longstanding rules of engagement preventing agents from firing in anything other than self-defense. In doing so, Potts created a monstrously rogue agency capable of firing at will and the results were expectedly disastrous.
Agents were ordered to shoot any armed man on sight on the Weavers private property and when Randall appeared with a weapon alongside his 16-year-ol daughter Sara and Harris, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi opened fire, hitting Weaver in the arm.
Weaver, Harris, and Sara sprinted back to the safety of the cabin, but another shot from Horiuchi hit Vicki in the head, killing her as she clutched the couples 10-month-old daughter in her arms but the bullet passed through her and also wounded Harris.
An incredibly tense 11-day standoff ensued, as the terrified survivors holed up in the Ruby Ridge home, but ended when mediators convinced Randall to turn himself in.
Horiuchi later claimed he had not been aware Vicki stood in the doorway when he fired the fatal shot. Though he was charged in 1997 with involuntary manslaughter for the killing of Vicki Weaver, a federal judge dismissed the charges the following year under the controversial alleged immunity of federal officers from state prosecution.
In 2001, a federal appeals court overruled that claim to immunity, stating federal officials who violate the U.S. Constitution can, indeed, be held accountable at the state level but the Idaho prosecutor never pursued the manslaughter charge.
Randall and Harris both faced murder charges for the death of the federal marshall but in a surprising move by an Idaho jury, all charges against them were dropped, save the original failure to appear charge against Weaver that generated the fateful warrant.
Surviving members of the Weaver family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and in 1995, the patriarch received $100,000 and three of his daughters, $1 million each.
To this day, the grievous abuse of power fuels doubt in segments of the public about federal agencies ability to restrain itself in the use of unnecessary force disproportionate to putative threats.
Though the enormity of consequences of Ruby Ridge certainly echoed far into the future, the events have unfortunately sometimes been clouded by the Weaver familys controversial ideologies. But those beliefs as the families of countless other victims of a growing epidemic of state violence can attest are of little consequence when the government acts with reckless impunity against a wide range of people from grossly different backgrounds.
Agents participating in and overseeing the siege of Ruby Ridge forced a sweeping internal investigation and concurrent reevaluation of policy particularly due to the removal of imperative rules of engagement meant to protect civilians from the exact massacre that took place there.
And as is widely known, when the government receives the green light to abandon strictures protecting the public one time, its virtually guaranteed to happen again. As testament to this, the deadly and terroristic siege in Waco, Texas, by federal agents occurred shortly after the incident at Ruby Ridge.
On the 20th anniversary of her mothers and brothers murder by agents of the government, Sara Weaver poignantly recalled the harrowing details of her experience in an interview with the Associated Press though she noted her father refuses to do the same. Losing her mother, who was indeed unarmed when she was killed, has been the most difficult aspect for Sara to come to terms with.
We miss her terribly, Sara lamented. It never goes away.
Despite the unprecedented mishandling, the payout to the surviving Weaver family, and the sh*tstorm of debate and controversy ensuing from the incident at Ruby Ridge, the government has never fully admitted any wrongdoing in the case.
Clinton's Reno sent troops in to hold Elian Gonzalez's family at gunpoint while they snatched the child to be given to Fidel Castro.
There's much, much more and events in the socialist government's hopper to degrade and punish citizens.
The government assassin, Lon Horiuchi went on to kill Branch Davidians at Waco.
America has one and the final chance to stem this evil central government and that is by electing Donald Trump president. It has been inconceivable to me that there are enough stupid citizens to elect a Hillary Clinton their (and our) president. Her election will absolutely be the worst action by a people who will end up enslaved.
Horiuchi was a Rambo scumbag IMO. It is too bad he got off scot free.
Whoraldo, like the ditzy Juan Williams, is a prize schmuck!
These attacks by the federal government forces occurred during the Clinton reign of terror, with Janet Reno carrying out these atrocities on behalf of Pres. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton was in Austin, TX plotting with then TX Gov. Ann Richards the weekend before the attack on the Branch Davidian home in Waco. The fire set by the U.S. military burned to death 82 people including over 20 children. That blood is still on the Clinton’s hands. They should NEVER be allowed the power to destroy people who disagree with them again. But the Lord assures us, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19) And so we wait ..
mookabooker got a promotion.
He should be hanged along with ALL his bosses.
To be fair, Waco and Elian happened under Clinton (Reno) but Ruby Ridge was under GHW Bush.
The attack on the Weavers at Ruby Ridge happened during George Bush I’s presidency.
What’s Lon doing these days.
Lon Horiuchi is a cold blooded government assassin, he should never be forgiven or forgotten.
Yes All of them connected with Ruby Ridge and Waco are scumbags.
Oh but they’re just Whites! No need to be outraged over this. Whites enjoy White Privilege and it’s OK to shoot them when they are not threatening anybody. The outrage is reserved for blacks shot while they are threatening cops.
I don’t know but a few years after this killer (IMO) retired I found some tactical website in ND or somewhere like that hawking him as their expert. It was then I embarked on a campaign to that company to tell them I wouldn’t buy a damn thing they sold because of Horiuchi and I told them I’d do my best to let everyone know the same.
A name that will live in infamy.
Bush was president then. GOP is no better than the others.
goggle him, there is more out there than I would of guessed.
This one really is “Bush’s fault” and one of the reasons he didn’t get reelected.
I remember that. They dropped him like a hot rock.
Little different than gunning Levoy Finicum down in the snow in Oregon. The nature of the US govt never changes.
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