Lessons from Ruby Ridge
For those too young to remember, it was thirty years ago this month that the DOJ entrapped Randy Weaver for his Christian beliefs, issued a death warrant, killed his dog, son, and wife, and shot Weaver and his friend.
Surely, the DOJ doesn’t just execute innocent people. Yet, as we learned at trial:
He had no propensity to commit crimes. Never even had a traffic ticket. Never been charged with a crime of any kind and honorably served his country.
While living in Iowa, Weaver learned it was illegal to homeschool his children independently, so he moved his family to a cabin in remote Idaho, Ruby Ridge.
Weaver attended Aryan Nation meetings three times, meeting not far from Ruby Ridge, “to exchange ideas, talk to people, I usually ended up arguing.” That’s where Gus Magisano befriended Weaver and tried to involve him in illicit activity. Weaver refused. But after three years of coaxing, Weaver finally agreed to make two sawed-off shotguns. Magisano was a fed.
What the feds really wanted was an informant, so they blackmailed Weaver: inform or face prison. Weaver refused; he was no “snitch.” With facts withheld, a grand jury indicted Weaver but, instead of simply arresting him, the feds concocted an elaborate ruse. Taking advantage of Weaver’s good nature, agents feigned being a family with car trouble stranded on a snowy bridge:
When I walked up to help, several agents jumped me and threw me to the ground. A female agent, posing to be the stranded wife, threw Vicki [his wife] to the ground.
Weaver’s probation officer erroneously wrote to Weaver that his court date was a month after the actual date. Because of the error, Weaver failed to appear, and the judge issued a bench warrant. To his shock, Weaver read about the warrant in the newspaper and later read a denial that the probation officer’s letter existed. Despite the letter’s veracity, a U.S. Attorney convened a grand jury, withheld the letter, and received an indictment for failing to appear. Weaver testified “this just added on to everything; we could not trust anything that was going on. I wanted reassurance that I would get a fair trial.”
Image: Vicki Weaver before she was murdered. Public domain.
So, Weaver waited in his cabin for a marshal to show up with the warrant for his arrest. No one ever came. Rather than arresting him, FBI agent Larry Potts signed a death warrant:
If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed if the shot could be taken without endangering any children.
The FBI knew Weaver, his wife, and his adult children regularly carried arms, as many did in the rural community. “We were right in the middle of grizzly territory, mountain lions, moose. They are very dangerous animals.” But certainly not more dangerous than government agents.
Eighteen months later, on August 21, 1992, marshals arrived making no announcement for surrender. They were “in combat gear. They were wearing full camouflage suits with black ninja-type hoods. They were carrying machine guns and semi-automatic pistols. They were trained to kill.”
Sam, Weaver’s son called out, “Striker [the family labrador] is acting weird.” Believing Striker had spotted an animal, Sam and Weaver’s friend, Kevin Harris, both armed, as usual, went to investigate when shots rang out. Striker was shot dead at their feet. Sam and Harris instinctively fired back in self-defense. Harris’s shot allegedly killed a marshal. Weaver yelled, “Sam, get home.” Sam turned and hollered, “I’m coming, Dad.” As he ran, a marshal’s bullet penetrated his heart.
After the melee, Weaver carried Sam’s lifeless body to the shed. As the family wept, locked in their cabin,
agents surrounded the property with elite hostage teams, snipers, military war-fare equipment, helicopters, high-powered rifles, machine guns, infrared heat scanning equipment, listening devices. They did not notify the family that they were surrounded, nor did they give anyone in the family an opportunity to surrender.
Desperate to see Sam one last time, Weaver went with Harris and his daughter to the shed. As Weaver opened the shed, without warning, a bullet struck his shoulder. Sara pleaded with her injured father, “We gotta go home. We gotta get in the house now.” As they ran back, Vicki, terrified, came to the door screaming, “what happened, what happened?” Clutching her baby in her arms, she held the door as her family scrambled for safety. Just as they entered, a sniper’s bullet shattered her skull, and the exiting bullet struck Harris in the chest and arm.
The siege would continue for 11 days. If it were possible to breed more mistrust, a robot carrying a phone was sent on the pretense of negotiations:
It had a sawed-off shotgun on the side aimed at the telephone, they later said was empty. I didn’t believe that. I have no doubt in my mind whoever grabbed that telephone was dead.
Lt. Col. “Bo” Gritz was brought in to negotiate, but convincing Weaver to trust the Government seemed impossible:
I thought I would step out the door with Bo and they would kill us both and then tell the world we had started shooting at them. I figured they could make up any story.
The NY Times ran the headline, “White Supremacist Surrenders. Weaver and his wife were believers in Christian Identity, which holds that Europeans are the lost tribe of Israel, that blacks are subhuman and Jews are satanic. The agency has said its officers fired only after being shot at.” With that, the guilt had been assigned, the DOJ absolved, and the demonization was complete.
Weaver, charged with first-degree murder, though he never fired a shot at anyone, faced the death penalty. The DOJ subpoenaed a staggering 51 witnesses over three months, and when it was done, Weaver was found not guilty on all counts except minor charges for failing to appear.
As for the DOJ, Larry Potts, who signed that death warrant, was promoted to Deputy Director. The marshal who put a bullet into Sam’s back was awarded the medal of valor.
The sniper who assassinated Vicki had charges brought but dropped. One A.G. was so outraged he worked without pay attempting to reinstate the charges. They
reacted to pressure to dismiss charges. It’s a very important issue for our safety and our liberty. If federal agents can commit violent crimes with impunity, where’s the rule of law? Who protects the people from their own government?
Answer: No one. The top law enforcement arm of the Government is itself above the law. The DOJ today operates with complete impunity, unaccountable, and corrupt.
The abuse is endless. When the Senate Oversight Committee had the temerity to investigate the DOJ, the CIA hacked into the Senate’s computers to thwart the investigation. When questioned about it under oath they lied. CIA Director Brennan, Director of National Intelligence Clapper, and FBI Director Comey would prove to be serial perjurers and never face consequences.
They’ve continued to entrap American citizens, most recently in the politically motivated Whitmer kidnapping hoax. They’ve brought the full powers of the DOJ to bear on parents daring to protest out-of-control school boards, suppressed Hunter Biden’s laptop, incarcerated J6 protestors indefinitely, and now regularly target political enemies with pre-dawn military-style raids.
Thirty years ago, the DOJ proved to be out of control at Ruby Ridge. Since then, its abuses have only accelerated, and oversight has proven impossible. The entire criminal organization needs to be shuttered, and rebuilt outside of the incestuous confines of the Beltway with a strict code of ethics that, if violated, would result in a permanent ban from government jobs and loss of pension. We are out of options.