Many people know Ruby Ridge as the place where a violent confrontation took place between a local family and the federal authorities. It all took place in the northern part of Idaho, in 1992. The locals that were involved were Randy Weaver and his family, plus a friend of his called Kevin Harris. The other parties involved were the FBI agents and the US Marshals Services. According to the federal authorities, this event has been the source of the tragedy that took place at Oklahoma City in 1995.
Randy Weaver, was an ex worker in Iowa and he has combat experience, from the times when he was part of the Green Beret special forces, during the Vietnam war. The family moved in the north of Idaho in 1980, mainly because they wanted to escape the corrupted environment and to live according to their beliefs. Vicki, the wife, was the religious leader of the family. She believed that the apocalypse is coming and that her family will be the only one who will survive the disaster. In 1983, the Weaver family purchased 20 acres of land just outside Ruby Ridge. Randy and his neighbor called Terry Kinnison, had a fight in 1984 over a piece of land. Kinnison lost the lawsuit and he had to pay $2,100 to Weaver for damages and extra costs. Unhappy with the result of the lawsuit, Kinnison began to write various letters to the FBI, saying that Weaver is threatening to kill the Pope and the governor of Idaho. Citing this reason, the FBI started an investigation on Weaver’s family in 1985.
On August 21st, 1992, six marshals scouted the area, trying to determine if they can ambush Weaver and arrest him. The names of these marshals were: Art Roderick, Larry Cooper, Bill Degan, Frank Norris, David Hunt and Joseph Thomas. They were observing the house and testing the dogs, when they were caught by Harris and Weaver’s son. In the confrontation that followed, Degan was shot by Harris, and he was killed. USMS proceeded to alert the FBI that the marshal was killed and reinforcements were sent to the area. For the next twelve days, FBI agents have surrounded the house, trying to negotiate the surrender of the family.
On August 22nd, in the 2nd day of the siege, FBI had commands which allowed them to "shoot on sight". Eventually, negotiations which included Jackie Brown, Bo Gritz and Jack McLamb managed to resolve the stand off. On August 30, both Randy Weaver and Harris decided to surrender. The Weaver daughters were released, since Sara, the oldest one, was only 16 years old. Eventually, Randy Weaver was acquitted of all the charges that the government accused him of, except for him missing a court date and violating bail conditions. He received 18 months of jail time and a fine of $10,000. He only did 4 months of jail. Harris on the other hand was freed and didn’t do any jail time.
The Weaver family members which survived filed a civil law suit against the federal government and received $100,000 as a settlement. They later received another settlement of $1 million, but the government hasn’t admitted to this day that they did anything wrong.
Louis Freeh was the FBI director at the time and he proposed disciplinary actions against the twelve FBI employees that handled this event. In his statements he mentioned that the government had over reacted in Randy’s case and that they have taken excessive measures during the event. Still, no formal apology was ever issued.