Guest opinion: The shadows of Ruby Ridge, 20 years later

The fatal standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho — coupled with the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas in 1993 — "combined to galvanize the extreme right in the United States," according to a researcher with the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, a human rights organization.

At the same time, the tragic standoffs also changed the way law enforcement now approaches such situations.

Writes Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League: "If the standoffs have had lasting negative effects, one positive impact of Ruby Ridge and Waco was finally to compel a reform in the way that law enforcement agencies — federal, state, and local — handled such incidents. After Ruby Ridge and Waco, there has been more patience, more willingness to let negotiators do their work, more of an effort to avoid bloodshed. In 1996, for example, the FBI resolved an 81-day standoff with the Montana Freemen with no bloodshed. During a few incidents, some people even complained that the government was too afraid to act, that it had developed 'Weaver fever.' But no one can complain that fewer lives have been lost."

Click at to read Pitcavage's guest opinion in full.


In the recent local story of the police exchanging fire with a guy staying in his apartment and then after CONSIDERABLE time the police sent in a robot:

We were shooting
We haven't heard from him in a long time...

hhhmmmmm maybe he's injured.

Sure enough.

Where's the potential liability that if the perp was shot and received medical attention he may have survived, as opposed to waiting 6 hours and sending in a robot to search?
Not being the Monday quarterback in this case, but there will be such a case in the future... lawsuit.

Waco and the 1st WTC bombing were contemporary events

The same day federal agents were raiding the Branch Davidian compound in Waco another group of religious fanatics went undetected as they carried out their plot to bomb the WTC. That pretty much sums up the priorities of the Clinton/Reno Justice Department, which insisted the terrorists in New York City were not terrorists at all but just common street criminals. Likewise, all the media coverage was focused on Waco 24/7 while the American people were left uninformed about the botched investigation of the 1st WTC bombing. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of this bombing and the nephew of KSM even left a note for the FBI warning that he would return and get the job done right, and so he did. Did you read or hear about that in the media in 1993 or any time pror to 9/11? Nope!

Again...basic facts please; WTC was Feb 26, Waco was Feb 28

Or were you taking poetic license.

Clinton/Reno had been in office less than 40 days; hardly enough time to get the letterhead printed let alone put into effect their 'priorities' that would have led to both these events. Do you understand how large organizations even work?

BTW, you seem intelligence, why do you continously pick hyper-partisanship over facts?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart


Feb 26th - Friday WTC
Feb 28th - Sunday Waco

What was the headline on Monday?

81 days for Montana Freeman
51 days in Waco
Olympic Park bombing fiasco

Reno was no gem.

It was not the 40 days into the administration, it was the 8 years Clinton had to react and address al-Qaeda.
Lack of adequate action from clear attacks:
12/29/92 Aden, Yemen
1993 Mogadishu
1998 Embassy Bombings
10/2000 USS Cole

Clinton 1993-2000 and few cruise missiles into aQ camps. Big deal.

That led to the 2001 events.

Here are the basic facts, Boisepoet

The ATF's search warrant used in the Waco raid was issued on February 25 - at 8:43 p.m. to be precise - that's approximately 16 hours before a truck bomb exploded at the WTC on February 26. The warrant was only valid if used between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Feb. 26, 27 or 28, but the raid itself had been in the planning stages since early February according to ATF and FBI testimony. So I was wrong in saying the two events occurred on the same day, but not wrong in calling them contemporary events.

Re hyper-partisanship, yeh, Ruby Ridge (Bush I) and Waco (Clinton) still stick in my craw after all these years, because they represent the height of arrogance, incompetence, and misplaced priorities, characteristics that as far as I can tell continue to permeate our Justice Department. When it takes 76 ATF agents and three helicopters to serve a search warrant on the leader of a small religious sect, that strikes me as a good reason to become hyper if not partisan. It shouldn't take one day, let alone 40, for any administration to decide that known international terrorists living in our midst are a higher priority than learning whether David Koresch might be converting legally obtained legal weapons into illegal machine guns.

I think the handling of these situations were terrible.

Not diputing that...but I won't go as far as blaming Bush for Ruby Ridge. My objection was your blaming the Clinton administration, and thus by implication, Democrats for what was essentially decisions by local bureaucrats.

As Kevin noted, apparently the departments learned their lessons by the time the Montana Freeman came along.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Beg to differ with you again, BoisePoet

Local bureaucrats? The U.S. Marshal's Service, ATF, and FBI are under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department and the White House. Regional directors can propose actions, but they can't execute them without approval from their superiors in the D.C. headquarters. Therefore, the buck stops with the AG's office and/or the White House where the potential political fallout from these types of raids are often carefully weighed - unintended consequences not so much apparently. The executive branch sets the tone and the boundaries for how these bueaucratic agencies operate as well as establishing their priorities. It's not as if Presidents Bush and Clinton personally gave the final order to go after Randy Weaver and David Koresch, but they are responsible for the policies that allowed these agencies to run amok of the rule of law and the Constitution.

Re lessons learned, uh, Larry Potts was promoted to the #2 position at the FBI by Louis Freeh. Another agent involved in Ruby Ridge was honored at a lavish retirement party - not in Boundary County, Idaho, by local citizens but in D.C. by career FBI bureaucrats. And who's that other guy who appears regularly on all the TV net works as a law enforcement expert and consultant - he was intimately involved in both Ruby Ridge and Waco - Cliff ???? Local bureaucrats, my foot!

Or consider deputy AG Jamie Gorelick who screwed up big time re the 1st WTC bombing, got herself appointed to the 9/11 Commission and made sure its investigation did not look at the FBI's actions prior to 1998. How convenient was that? I forget which position she now holds in the Obama administration.

You asked in your earlier post if I understood how large organizations operate? I think maybe I should be asking that question of you.