On Sunday night, Fox News ran the second part of their “Scandalous” documentary series on the Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992. The siege, which claimed two innocent lives, took place in northern Idaho, but a California senator played a role in the aftermath.
Army veteran Randy Weaver believed he was living in the end times and chose to become something of a survivalist. In 1983, Weaver built a cabin in the remote Ruby Ridge area of northern Idaho and lived there with his wife Vicky, daughters Sara and Elisheba, son Samuel, and family friend Kevin Harris.
Weaver held anti-government views but was not a member of the Aryan Nations. The federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms sought to make Weaver an informant among the group and when Weaver refused he was arrested. This led to a standoff in which a U.S. Marshall and Weaver’s son Samuel, 14, were both killed. Who fired first remains a matter of dispute.
This brought in the FBI, which deployed some 400 heavily armed agents, helicopters, and armored personnel carriers against a single family. The rules of engagement allowed the FBI to marshal deadly force against any family member seen with a firearm, but in effect it was shoot on sight.
Vicky Weaver was holding her infant daughter Elishiba in the cabin doorway when FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot the unarmed mother in the face, killing her instantly. Snipers wounded Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris, who was near death when he finally surrendered.
Harris, Vicki Weaver and Samuel Weaver were not under arrest and not guilty of any crime. In the aftermath Randy Weaver filed a lawsuit that paid more than $3 million to the family. The case became the subject of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Fox documentary briefly shows California’s newly elected Senator, Dianne Feinstein, but without any of her testimony or any recent statement on the Ruby Ridge siege.
Democratic senators Herb Kohl and Patrick Leahy sympathized with the Weaver family, but as the San Francisco Examiner reported, “Feinstein dealt sternly with Weaver, asking whether his children wore Nazi armbands and shouted Nazi slogans at neighbors.”
As the Fox documentary shows, the establishment media branded the family “white separatists.” Like those “separatists” profiled on shows such as “Mountain Men” and “Life Below Zero,” the Weavers posed no threat to their neighbors, much less to society. They simply wanted to be left alone. As Anthony Gregory noted, the issue was not the left vs. right, but the militarized central state versus, individual life and liberty. At the time, the militarized central state was on the march.
The Fox documentary fails to note that after Ruby Ridge, the FBI brought in sniper Lon Horiuchi to the 1993 siege at Waco, Texas, that claimed 75 lives, including 25 children. That siege was ordered by Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno. In her statement following Reno’s death in 2016, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California expressed full support of all Reno’s actions.