It’s been 20 years to the day since the events involving Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
On that morning, six trained government marksmen wearing ski masks and camouflage and armed with automatic weapons equipped with silencers, crept up on the Weaver cabin without warning or warrant and without identifying themselves. First they shot and killed the family’s yellow Labrador, Striker, who had been barking at the intruders. When young Sammy witnessed this, he fired a .223 mini-14 in the direction from which the shots had come, then ran back toward the cabin. Agents shot Sammy in the arm, knocking him down. The youngster got back to his feet and began running again. Moments later, a second gunshot caught Sammy in the back, killing him.
Within 24 hours, one Deputy U.S. Marshal was dead and some 400 federal agents were arriving at the scene, along with a helicopter, “humvees,” and armored transport vehicles and personnel carriers. The Weavers’ dead dog was left in the road and repeatedly run over by government vehicles. On the afternoon of August 22, Vicki Weaver, standing at the cabin’s kitchen door and armed with nothing more lethal than baby Elisheba, was shot in the head by a government sniper. The round hit Vicki in the temple, traveled through her mouth, tongue, and jawbone, then severed her carotid artery. Kneeling on the floor and still clutching her baby, Vicki bled to death.
Nine days later, Weaver, a badly wounded Harris, and the surviving kids surrendered to federal agents. Eleven months after that, a jury in Boise, Idaho, acquitted Weaver and Harris of murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the government assault.
20 years since that injustice by government agents at the place that would be a byword for anti-government sentiment. It spurred events like the bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma. The aversion to the Federal government didn’t begin at Ruby Ridge or Waco, but those events deepened the reaction which lives to this day. The phrase “Remember Ruby Ridge” represents the cynical distrust of the Federal government.
One of Randy’s surviving children of that day has extended forgiveness.
Sara Weaver-Balter has forgiven the federal agents who shot and killed her mother and brother 18 years ago on Idaho’s Ruby Ridge. That’s the message she wants to impart to the nation and especially the people who did the shooting.
According to the article Randy has forgiven those who’ve admitted the truth and asked for forgiveness. Sara is completely right saying, “The anger you hold for someone else imprisons you and keeps you from helping others…” Forgiveness releases the offended from the wrath of the offense. Over the years I’ve heard many Christian believers imply forgiveness to involve more than it does though. To forgive and forget is not how it works in the real world. Forgiveness should be extended to everyone, even to those who may continue to deny the truth and claim innocence. Reconciliation between the two can take place when the offender admits the truth and asks for forgiveness.
Twenty years later, it’s good to know Randy and Sara have forgiven and moved on from the offense. Though individual forgiveness and reconciliation has apparently happened in a few instances, the overall accountability of government for what happened this day 20 years ago at Ruby Ridge has never occurred. Government has never admitted the wrong for the siege and the killing of Vicki Weaver and others. They can and should be forgiven for what they’ve done. But a government smugly claiming responsibility for its beneficent wonders must not hide in the shadows for its transgressions. Until an admission of wrong is made, Ruby Ridge represents a divide between a government and its people.