How it Started
Weaver had been approached by an informant
to the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) to sell him sawed
off shot-guns. Weaver apparently relented
after several times telling the
informant no. He sold two shot-guns to the informant in October of 1989. The
shot guns sold to the
informant according to the FBI were a mere 1/4" short of the legal barrel
length for shot-guns. Weaver contends they were perfectly legal at the time he
sold them to the informant.
Weaver was given bogus information on when to appear in court on the weapons charges. Rather than correcting the error, the Federal officials declared him a fugitive.
However, a Federal Judge ruled after the siege at Ruby Ridge that the weapons charges amounted to entrapment by the FBI. Weaver had been sent erroneous information on when to appear for his court date - in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt by Federal authorities to initiate the confrontation. It would have been a simple matter to correct the error and give Mr. Weaver another chance to appear. That in part is why the Federal Judge ruled the gun charges amounted to entrapment.
What bothers me the most about the Ruby Ridge affair is the cavalier attitude our high government
officials have towards the abuse of power of in this case. Lost documents, altered rules of engagement,
an FBI official in charge at Ruby Ridge (Larry Potts) being promoted, and now the FBI sniper taking
the Fifth so as not to incriminate himself.
Originally, when this all started to surface, we heard that Randy Weaver was not a nice man. He was a "white separatist". A label that is still used by the media whenever his name is mentioned. His political views, and his personal views on who he wants to associate with should not be on trial here!
Part of living in a free society is to be politically incorrect. That is what freedom is all about. But you don't shoot someone because their view of the world is different than yours and mine. What appears to have happened here is that the BATF, failing to get Weaver to sell illegal firearms, may well have manufactured their 1/4" short barrel story in order to entrap Weaver. At least one Federal Judge thought the entire weapons charges to be bogus enough to declare Weaver was indeed entrapped by the government.
After the shootout that kills Weaver's wife and son, the government continues its persecution of Weaver and Harris with a trial in which they were acquitted of all charges.
I personally know FBI officials (in fact my nephew works for the Bureau) and like all groups of people, the majority are fine Americans I would be proud to have as friends and neighbors. However when absolute power corrupts, it corrupts absolutely! In these cases I firmly believe it is the attitudes of the likes of Potts, Reno and other ranking officials in these departments that transmits the wrong messages to the troops! In this case they went so far as to rewrite the rules of engagement with what amounted to a shoot to kill order.
Even as a soldier (which FBI operatives are not), you have a moral obligation to say no to orders you know to be unconstitutional or illegal. You may not like what happens to you and your career, but there is a higher calling everyone must answer to than his or her career. But when their commanders and role models are in so much need of repair, Ruby Ridge and Waco are the shadowy outcomes that result.
Stay tuned to the hearings on this affair. It seems rather strange that the ones who are calling for more federal power and more agencies to carry weapons are also the strongest opponents to firearm ownership by the general populace. Coincidence? I don't think so.
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