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 IdahoStatesman.com to read Pitcavage's guest opinion in full.