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Government Of Law Makes Good On Debt

Tue., Feb. 10, 1998

By now, most Inland Northwesterners are familiar with the 1992 shootout on Ruby Ridge. We’ve read countless articles about it. We’ve watched Congress try to deal with it. We’ve tuned in the television miniseries starring Randy Quaid as Randy Weaver.

We know about as much as there is to know about the standoff except, of course, who fired the first shot and the identity of the FBI official who approved the infamous shoot-to-kill order. Yet, there remains one story left to be told: the Weavers’. And Weaver and his daughter, Sara, are about to tell it in a book to be released next month.

Sure, we want to read it. We have inquiring minds, too.

We’re curious to see how Weaver’s daughters are doing after being weaned on racist paranoia and then enduring a horrible abuse of government power. We want to know if Randy Weaver has admitted to himself that he largely is responsible for the deaths of three people, including his wife and a son. We’ll read to see if Randy’s views have softened toward the federal government.

We won’t hold our breath, however.

Recent comments made by Weaver about his book show he’s mellowed somewhat but still has contempt for the government. “I want the American people to realize the government can do what they want and, in most cases, get away with it,” he said. “They didn’t at Ruby Ridge. They got caught with their pants down.”

Unquestionably, the federal government erred badly on Ruby Ridge. A mother with a babe in arms and her young son shouldn’t die over a minor weapons charge. But our system didn’t fail at the subsequent murder trials of Weaver and his friend, Kevin Harris. In fact, if Weaver were honest, he’d admit the system has worked very well for him since Ruby Ridge, despite his unpopular political views.

Consider. He and Harris were represented free of charge by renowned attorney Gerry Spence. They were found innocent of murder. A handful of FBI agents, including former Deputy Director Larry Potts, were suspended or censured for their role at Ruby Ridge. One went to prison for participating in a cover-up attempt. The government paid the Weavers $3.1 million to settle a civil suit and try to compensate them for their losses. Now, FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge for killing Vicki Weaver.

Our country has shortcomings. But it is one of the few that would try to make amends to critics for a terrible mistake, enrich them and leave them free to make even more money by criticizing the government.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board


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