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As he recounts, the FBI told their agents they were going into an active firefight, authorizing them to open fire without warning if they saw an armed adult. Meanwhile, the Weavers and Harris had put Sam Weaver's body in an outbuilding. I was so drowning in grief. I pretty much felt that I didn't have a chance of coming out alive.

Ruby Ridge, 25 Years On

And as Randy Weaver reaches up to open the shed door, a shot rings out from the woods, and he's shot in the shoulder," Walter says. His wife, Vicki, holding their baby, throws the door open, screams 'Get back in the cabin. And this shot hits Vicki Weaver in the face and kills her. Randy Weaver, daughters Sara and Rachel, baby Elisheba and Harris holed up in the cabin for the next 10 days, scared that if they left the cabin, they would be shot. She had lost her brother and her mom — but after a harrowing 11 days, the standoff finally ended and Sara Weaver did come out alive, along with her two siblings, their father and Harris.

Ultimately, Randy Weaver was acquitted of every major charge because the jury ruled that the original weapons charge against him had been entrapment. Walter says the fallout from the incident derailed the careers of several federal agents. There were congressional hearings and government reports examining what went wrong. Arthur Roderick retired from the U. Marshals Service in He says he thinks of the experience often, but not the Weaver family. Very simply, that's all they had to do. I think again more about Bill Degan and his family, his two boys, his widow.

You know, his mom and dad. That's who I think about. Sara Weaver lives in Montana now. She works as an advocate for trauma victims and is raising a teenage son. My son is at that year-old age mark. It's been so healing to have that joke-around relationship with him like I had with my little brother. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. The Weaver case gave a name to that sometimes dangerous space between people and their government. It brought paranoia into the mainstream. How can you tell people to trust a government that covered up details of the case and assigned agents to investigate themselves?

But symbols are nothing more than half-truths and they fall short of explaining a place as hard and remote as Ruby Ridge. From this jagged point, the Weaver case is not proof of broad government oppression and tyranny, but of human fallibility and inhuman bureaucracy, of competitive law enforcement agencies and blind stubbornness. The Randy Weaver case is a stop sign, a warning—not of the dangers of right-wing conspiracies or of government conspiracies—but of the danger of conspiracy thinking itself, by people and by governments.

From here, the paths of the Weaver family and the federal government seem inevitable, trucks barreling toward each another on a one-lane road. For the Weavers, the trail to this place cuts right through our own backyards, through patriotism, the military, fundamentalist Christianity, and eventually paranoia. They were seduced by conspiracy and a religion called Christian Identity, by beliefs steeped in racism and fear of government oppression, beliefs that helped bring about the very thing they feared.

Ultimately, you come to the Weaver story along the same trail Randy and Vicki took, from the heart of Christian Iowa to the deep woods of North Idaho. Up a twisting, rutted dirt road, past gnarled pine trees and scrub grass, you come finally to a sign at the edge of the old Weaver property. Two sets of unbending law clashed on the mountain, two incompatible views of the world, outlined by defiant red letters painted on a plywood sign: Every knee shall bow to Yahshua Messiah. She had no idea whether it was day or night.

Had it been three days, now? A noise brought her eyes up to the windows, covered with the denim curtains that she and her mother had hung to keep the enemy from seeing them. Still, a few shards of unnatural light cut through the room and lit the cabin like constant dusk. He was still coughing blood. He would probably die. Her father was in better shape, awake, but staring off toward the kitchen. His gunshot wound was healing, but he seemed distant and tired, and Sara was afraid that he blamed himself for what had happened. She knew he just wanted to protect the family.

But there was no way she was going to let him feel so bad that he would surrender to the Beast. Her ten-year-old sister Rachel was asleep at last, curled up on the floor next to her. Sara was glad for that. The baby was asleep too and had finally stopped crying Mama. The voice startled Sara as it blew through the cabin like a December gust. There had been so many noises: tanks and trucks and helicopters echoing through the canyon. But it was the steady voice of the negotiator that was making her crazy—so calm on that PA system somewhere outside the cabin.

Pick up the phone, he kept saying, as if they were insane. Pick it up. He sounded Mexican to her. They will do anything to break us, she thought. Yesterday, he had called himself Fred. A Mexican negotiator named Fred talking on a PA system every fifteen minutes, trying to get them to step outside. The FBI had made it perfectly clear what happened when the family stepped outside. Agents blasted away at them. It was ridiculous and horrifying at the same time. Rachel stirred as the one-sided conversation began again, and she cried as the cruel, taunting words settled on the cabin.

Good morning, Mrs. Weaver, the voice called. We had pancakes this morning. And what did you have for breakfast? Why were they doing this? Her mom had practically built this cabin, pieced together the walls from mill scraps, made the quilts they were huddled upon on the floor, canned the food that was keeping them alive, and shaped the cupboards where Sara had to get the food. Sara sat up, her long, black hair in a ponytail, her eyes tender and puffy from crying, her lips drawn tight. Beneath her—where an open basement was framed with thick timbers—Sara listened for the agents of Babylon, who had crawled under the cabin with their goddamn listening devices, trying to get any edge.

She thought she heard their muffled whispers and wondered for a moment if they were really there. She wished she could yell at them or pound on the floor or something. She was just too tired.

Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the Randy Weaver Family - Jess Walter - Google книги

Too tired to crawl through the blood into the kitchen. Too tired to shield her dad when he stood in front of the windows. For the first time, her fatigue seemed stronger than her anger, and she wished Yashua the Messiah would just come and end this suffering. And so she prayed to Yahweh as her parents had taught, thanking Him for His blessings and asking for deliverance.

Lying on the floor with what was left of her family, Sara Weaver looked across the long room at the bullet hole in the kitchen window and she prayed that they not be picked off one at a time anymore, that they be taken together to Paradise. She prayed that the evil agents of ZOG just get it over with. She prayed that they firebomb the house. Behind the gun, a compact, muscular sniper watched the windows through a magnified, ten-power scope.

Lon Horiuchi knelt camouflaged and still in the low underbrush and rocky ground, separated from the cabin by two hundred yards. He ran his scope along the house again, from the covered back deck, which leaned out over a steep hillside, along the plywood walls of the house. There were ten other snipers on the hillside across from the cabin, another twenty agents crawling over the knob where the house itself sat.

First light settled evenly on the grayish brown cabin and glinted off its small offset windows as the sniper watched for any movement. Behind him, the hill broke at a severe pitch, covered by clinging mountain grass and leaning timber, cut occasionally by a logging road or a plunging stream, down the slope a mile, to a meadow where deputy U. Marshal Dave Hunt paced and smoked, killing another Marlboro with a few grave steps.

He paused in the middle of a meadow packed with sagging army tents as though a dull green circus had come to town. A couple hundred camouflaged federal agents and state cops filed in and out of the tents, catching some sleep before going back to the line or to the sniper positions. Any minute, Hunt expected more white separatists to break into the meadow from the woods and begin firing. It was like a war zone. Slope-shouldered and frowning, Hunt watched a handful of busy men across the meadow, FBI brass and investigators who climbed the steps to the trailer command post.

He knew this case. He knew Randy Weaver and his family like no one else in law enforcement.


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He knew their beliefs and the language they used. He knew the weapons their children carried. He knew Randy was a coward and a straw man and that if they wanted to end this thing, they had to negotiate with his wife, Vicki. He knew that unless they convinced Vicki to give up the kids, this thing might only get worse.

He watched trucks of all kinds—moving, army, pickups, and motor homes—beat the mountain field into dust. They broke through the forest one at a time on that narrow dirt road and began looking for parking in the perpendicular rows, which by now contained more than vehicles: cars, trucks, Humvees, armored personnel carriers, and bulldozers lined the edges of the tent city.

More agents were showing up all the time to secure the mountain and they reported here, to an encampment surrounded so completely by pine-covered ridges that it seemed entirely possible there was an enemy out there. The second-guessing carved away at him until he slid another tan-filtered cigarette into his mouth, lit it, and began pacing again. He just wanted to get as far away from here as possible, to grab his wife and hold her. Soon, he and the other guys would be leaving for the funeral.

The shoot-out flashed in his mind like someone flipping through snapshots: the Weaver men stroll down the hill with their rifles. And then nothing. For five awful minutes. Then a gunshot. Two more.

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And then bursts of gunfire like a loud shuffling of cards. And Hunt runs panting through the woods. Near the bottom of the hill, another barrage of gunfire drops him to the ground and lands him back in Vietnam, the shots cracking over his head like a round of suppressive fire. That was true enough. This case had gotten out of control because Randy and Vicki Weaver wanted it this way. On the bridge, cordoned off by the plastic tape, police cars, a military truck, and a motor home blocked the only road up Ruby Ridge.

A dozen state and federal agents with machine guns and bulletproof vests watched a crowd that grew larger and angrier by the minute. The agents lowered the tape so another green Humvee—a short, fat, military truck—could rumble past, and immediately the yelling started again.

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He jammed his index finger at the windows of the military vehicles and yelled at the drivers. Baby killer! Which one of you is going to shoot the baby? On the other side of the tape, the federal agents shifted their rifles like bachelors holding infants. The protesters—perhaps fifty now—closed in around the roadblock and held up signs— You Could Be Next! At one end of the police tape, a camouflaged ATF agent videotaped a bowlegged man in a black T-shirt, who, in turn, videotaped the ATF agent videotaping him.

Behind them, a nineteen-year-old boy from Las Vegas argued with his buddies over whether they should be wearing brown shirts or the black ones that all the other skinheads were wearing. On their own shoulder of the road, television satellite trucks hummed and photographers circled around the yelling protesters, who fanned out against the banks of the old highway. They half expected shooting to break out here at any time. Yes, Vicki Weaver was a white separatist.