The Ruby Ridge IncidentJust about every group has a good reason to loathe the federal government. The feds have proven time and again that they are perpetually just a pussyhair away from victimizing the people Tienanmen Square-style. Native Americans have Wounded Knee. Japanese Americans can point to the World War II internment camps. African Americans, of course, have 100 years of slavery. But no longer is this sense of disenfranchisement and oppression strictly the domain of ethnic or religious minorities. And thanks to the brutal incident at Ruby Ridge (and later, Waco) rednecks can feel entitled to their rage as well.
Randy and Vicki Weaver were just your average white supremacist couple trying to make their way in Iowa. After a string of lost jobs and a failed Amway franchise, they became convinced that the Zionist Occupation Government was about to launch an all-out war against its own citizens. So they spent $5,000 on a 20-acre parcel in Bumfuck, Idaho and tried to raise a family beyond the clutches of the imminent New World Order.
If you're the anal-retentive type, you probably already know that there is no "Ruby Ridge" in Idaho. The Weavers built their cabin out of scrap lumber on Caribou Ridge, near Ruby Creek, eight miles from Bonners Ferry.
They homeschooled their kids and decorated their property with signs proclaiming White Power is Supreme and Bow Down to Yahweh.
Then Randy started hanging around with committed white supremacists. In July 1986, Randy attended the World Congress of Aryan Nations at their headquarters near Hayden Lake. In all, he would attend at least three Aryan Nations functions during his time in Idaho.
the setupAt the 1996 World Congress he befriended a 245-pound biker by the name of Gus Magisono. (In actuality, Magisono was an undercover ATF informant by the name of Kenneth Fadeley.) Three years later, Gus asked Randy to sell him some sawed-off shotguns. Randy agreed. According to Fadeley, the guns were sawed off shorter than the legal minimum -- meaning, Randy had violated federal weapons laws.
Of course, even if the guns were exactly as the snitch described, the whole setup reeks of entrapment. Coincidentally, the ATF confronted Randy in June 1990 and offered him the opportunity to be their eyes and ears in the Aryan Nations organization. Either that, or face hard time in a federal penitentiary for sawing off the shotguns. It was an offer he couldn't refuse.
Weaver's first mistakeRandy refused. He gave them the big "fuck you" and promptly told his white supremacist buddies. Not exactly what you'd call smart, but you have to admire his sense of personal loyalty.
The ATF spent a few months pondering their next move, then arrested Weaver in January 1991. They took him to the county lockup, where he spent the night. The next day, Randy was brought before federal judge Stephen Ayers.
the government's first mistakeDuring the hearing, Judge Ayers told Randy that he would probably have to pay the government's court costs. Weaver immediately realizes that, having no financial assets to speak of, this would mean losing his property.
Weaver's second mistakeRather than call around and see if they could get a lawyer to represent Randy pro bono, the couple decides that their best legal tactic would be to taunt the Feds. In February 1991, Vicki mailed two angry letters to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise. One was addressed to "The Queen of Babylon" and stated in part:
A man cannot have two masters. Yahweh Yahshua Messiah, the anointed One of Saxon Israel is our law giver and our King. We will obey Him and no others. ... "a long forgotten wind is starting to blow. Do you hear the approaching thunder? It is that of the awakened Saxon. War is upon the land. The tyrants blood will flow."
The other letter was addressed to "Servant of the Queen of Babylon, Maurice O. Ellsworth, U.S. Attny." It contained another friendly greeting:
Yah-Yahshua the Messiah of Saxon Israel is our Advocate and our Judge.
the government's second mistakeWeaver failed to show up in court on February 20, so the judge declared him a federal fugitive. Seems simple enough. Except that the summons they received in January had the wrong date printed on it. It said he was to appear March 30, not February.
Early on, the family assumed that the feds were trying to humiliate Randy as an example to other potential snitches. When they discovered that he was now officially classified a fugitive for no apparent reason, they turned paranoid and concluded that the government's goal was to assassinate him.
So they hid out in the cabin for a year and a half, making few appearances in town, and keeping rifles at easy reach.
the government's third mistakeThen the U.S. Marshals decided to mount a raid on the Weaver property. They knew that this would be difficult. The family lived in a remote, mountainous area. They kept rifles and knew how to use them. And Randy was a former member of the Green Berets in the Army. So the feds opted for a military-style operation.
It was probably the single worst decision in the entire chain of events. The escalating tension on both sides could have been defused if the feds had only dispatched a plainclothes agent to the cabin accompanied by the local sheriff. It probably would have mitigated the Weavers' fears that the government was trying to kill Randy. Maybe he would have refused to accompany them back to jail, but he would have understood that they were at least willing to obey the law.
When the family noticed their dogs barking at something in the trees on the morning of August 21, 1992, they soon realized that the Zionist Occupation Government had finally launched a sneak attack.
the assaultAn armed reconnaissance team crept up to the cabin. When one of the dogs noticed them it began barking, so they shot it. By this time, the two boys in the household were already outside. Sammy Weaver shot at the camoflauged intruders. One of the men returned fire and killed Sammy. Then Kevin Harris shot back at the commandos, killing U.S. Marshal William Degan.
Suddenly, the firefight ended and both sides retreated. Kevin returned to the cabin and the surviving Marshals carried their comrade's body back to base camp. Both groups would later claim they had acted in self-defense, and that the other was first to inflict death. In other words, both sides laid claim to the legal argument in John Rambo v. United States Government: "They drew first blood, not me! They drew first blood!"
Sadly, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in the beginning of the 21st century gives some indication of the potential for abuses that far outweigh the ones committed by the ATF.
From the beginning, Randy insisted that he had never been a white supremacist per se. As he reiterated for the zillionth time from prison:
"I'm not a white supremacist. I'm a white separatist. I was born white. I can't help that. If I was black I'd probably be affiliated with Louis Farrakhan's group, but as it is, I don't belong to anything. I don't believe I'm superior to anyone, but I do believe I have the right to be with my own kind of people if I choose to."
Nowadays, Randy Weaver spends a lot of time on the gun-show circuit, although as a convicted felon he is ineligible to legally own a firearm. Weaver gives speeches and signs copies of his autobiography.
And he's become an atheist. Consequently, he no longer believes that God loves the white man most of all. Randy still thinks the races shouldn't mix, but there's no thelogical basis for it. It's just his personal opinion.
See also Janet Reno.