- The Weavers regarded themselves as white “separatists,” not supremacists.
- The family had guns, plenty of guns, as they prepared with their children for the apocalypse.
When such stories are heard, it would seem it was one of those tales from the movies, but this is not, it is one of those incidents that came to play on the scenes of history; it’s the Ruby Ridge Incident.
Ruby Ridge is a place situated near Naples in Northern Idoho, USA. Nevertheless, that’s not why the place is popular. What made it popular occurred on the property of the Weaver. It is no other than the eleven-day standoff incident which occurred between United States Marshals Service (USMS), the Hostage Rescue team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI HRT) and Randy Weaver, his family and a close friend, Kevin Harris. This incident led to death of a Deputy U.S. Marshal and two of Randy Weaver’s family members.
The next question that comes to mind is, “what could have transpired between this two unlike entities?” It all started when Randy Weaver moved alongside his family to Northern Idaho so as to escape the failing state of the world that was already crushing. They acquired 20 acres of land on Ruby Ridge in 1983 and resided on a hillside on Ruby Creek without troubles until a clash came to be between Randy’s neighbour, Terry Kinnison over a $3,000 worth of land. The clash, which landed in court ruled in favour of Randy and Kinnison was asked to pay Randy some additional $2,100 for damages. Kinnison, feeling distasted with the turnout, wrote a letter to the FBI, Secret service and the county sheriff, stating a claim that Randy had threatened to kill the Pope, the President and governor, John V. Evans. Subsequently, without much ado, the FBI and the secret service plunged into an array of investigation connecting Randy to this claim. The Secret Service were hinted of Randy’s involvement with the Aryan Nations as well as being in possession of a weaponry; an allegation Randy denied.
So after, on the 6th of May, 1985, the Weavers made a legal claim stating that there seemed to be an existing vendetta resulting into an instigation to provoke the FBI into attacking his family. In their claim, they mentioned that a letter had been written to threaten the president and was sent under a forged signature. This did not, however, come to play as no letter of such intent was said to have been received.
There was one other intricate piece in this case that formed the plot of the story, it was Randy Weaver’s case with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Randy had been on the watch of the ATF after being associated with Frank Kumnick who was a member of the Aryan Nation, a political extremist group. Randy had earlier on being invited to an Aryan meeting by Kumnick in which he was spotted by an ATF informer. The ATF tried to recruit Randy to spy on Kumnick but the whole attempt failed and this led him to be implicated by the ATF concerning an illegal possession and sale of firearm in 1990. With the case at its imminent hearing, Randy was to appear in court but failed to do so, leading him to be filled a bench warrant. Although, it was later discovered that the letter that was issued him contained an incorrect date.
Normally, the judge should have withdrawn the bench warrant but had refused to do so on the basis that he wanted to be sure Randy would show up in court on the proposed date of the hearing which was on the 20th of March 1990; a decision the U.S. Marshal Service had also supported. But contrary to the process, something else came up: the U.S. Attorney’s Office set up a grand jury on the 14th of March, instead of the proposed date. Failing to appear, the grand jury indicted Randy for failing to show up in court.
With all this in place, it was clear that Randy had become in the eye of the enforcement a runaway. But Randy wasn’t that kind of runaway. He maintained his stay in his home in Ruby Ridge and vowed to repel any attempt to take in using force by any enforcement agency. This was owned to several reasons: Randy didn’t trust that he would be given a fair trial which was perceived from the way he was issued a bench warrant, he was as well informed by his magistrate that losing the case meant forfeiting his land, therefore leaving his family homeless.
Randy’s heart was crossed, he would not surrender to any attempt by the enforcement agents to take him forcefully to court. This prompted the Marshals to put up some tactics to hinder Randy’s relentless quest. An operation code named “Northern Exposure” was set up on the 27th of March, 1992 and their first mission was to monitor closely the activities of the Weaver.
In April 18, 1992, there was another development. A fly-over helicopter belonging to Geraldo Rivera filed a report that shots were fired at it by the Weaver’s family. But contrary to this claim by the Rivera helicopter, the U.S. Marshals installing surveillance cameras on that day claimed to have seen the helicopter but didn’t record any fired shots, which in away, contended the authenticity of the claim. This claim by the helicopter was later received as false as the pilot, Richard Weiss in the long run submitted that the weaver never fired at his helicopter.
Subsequent to that period, the operation “Northern Exposure” was suspended for three months, but the U.S. Marshals, didn’t however drop the case. On the 21st of August 1992, there was a scouting at the Weaver’s surroundings to determine ambush points to the cabin. During the scout, Roderick, the Deputy U.S. Marshals, threw stones that caused the dogs to bark out leading Sammy (on the right), Randy’s 14 year old son and Kevin Harris, Randy’s friend to check out what had gone wrong. This led to an encounter between Sammy, Kevin Harris and the Marshals and out this was born a shootout that led to the death of Sammy, the dog and Weaver’s dog. However, shortly after the shootout, Vicki, Randy’s wife was shot and killed by a sniper who had earlier fired at Randy. The bullet had passed through Randy’s body, escaping through his armpit. Randy was alive, but his wife wasn’t lucky.
The shooting at the Ruby Ridge steered into a court case where Randy and his friend Kevin Harris were charged with different offences and were jailed until their trial came to date. Randy was nonetheless discharged and acquainted.
The Weaver, in a bid to fight for the life they lost in the shootout, later filed a suit against the government, a case which was won and led to them being awarded a total sum of $3.1 million. Kevin Harris also filed for damages and he as well won, thereby awarding him a $380,000 government settlement.
Indeed, what a story! A story that loosely resembles Waco and Jonestown Massacre Ruby Ridge incident couldn’t just go pass the eyes of the CBS miniseries as it was soon adapted and aired. It later came out as a movie called “The Siege at Ruby”.