I thought this would be an interesting read because I wasn’t really watching news at the time that this happened and I never really understood it.
It IS an interesting book and I recommend it. But also, it’s very sad. This entire thing is sad. And at the end, no one looks good. It’s not like there’s ever any good guy to root for.
Basically, this family started as normal Iowa farm folk (I have relatives that are normal Iowa farm folk and let me tell you, that breed of people is AGGRESSIVELY normal) and then slowly started becoming religious extremists. This is pre-Westboro Baptist Church but they would have fit in there. They might, by the end, have been a little bit out there even for WBC. Keep that in mind.
They were pretty sure that the apocalypse would start in 3.5 years, starting from the time the wife received divine revelation that it was going to happen, which, ok, sure. I can’t fathom the level of narcissism it would take to assume passages in the Bible were written around your own personal revelation, but that’s how they rolled.
They moved to the middle of nowhere Idaho and built a cabin on a very inaccessible mountaintop. And started hanging out with white supremacists. As one does, when they’re in the middle of what is apparently a collective mental breakdown.
Then the dad makes some illegal sawed off shotguns and sells them to an undercover ATF agent. The question of the day is, did the agent entrap him into so doing, or did he offer? Since the ATF guy didn’t record the encounter, we’ll never know for sure, but I got the impression that the ATF was not above entrapment at that time.
They offer to make the gun charge go away if he gave them intel on white supremacists he knows but he’s no snitch! He and his family would rather die on that mountaintop than snitch!
They finally arrest him for the gun charge and the magistrate gives him inaccurate information about what the process would be from there, apparently accidentally but the question is, does anyone think that any level of information would have convinced him to show for his court date? They were already calling the government the “Zionist Occupation Government” which they did not intend as a compliment because as white supremacists, they were not fans of the Jewish people.
My point is, despite their later defense argument that they believed that the false information was a deliberate attempt to trap them and prevent them from getting a fair trial, I’m pretty sure that they would have felt that regardless of what went down at the bail hearing.
Then they refused to come down off the mountain. They had years worth of canned food. It was the parents, three children from the ages of 10-14, a baby of less than a year, and a family friend. They knew that the government would eventually want them to come in so they had the children–heavily armed–go out in front of the adults any time they left the cabin, to thwart snipers.
Let me repeat that, in case you missed it. THEY USED THEIR CHILDREN AS HUMAN SHIELDS.
Even if you can overlook the religious madness and the racism, it’s hard to overlook using children as human shields.
Then the news caught wind of the standoff with the US Marshals and it became a media circus. The FBI was done with this nonsense and sent in EVERYONE to get them off the mountain.
The morning the unpleasantness started, the family guard dog catches smell or sound of the hidden marshals and chases them down. The 13 year old son and the family friend take the lower trail with the dog while the dad stays on the upper trail, out of line of shot. These people!
The government claims that they identified themselves because the dog was coming straight at them and the family friend shot and killed a marshal for no reason, and then the son was shooting and running and it was chaos.
The family friend says that they stepped out of the trees and killed the dog and the son was yelling, you killed my dog! and shooting at the marshals and they shot and got the boy in the arm, and the boy ran back towards his dad and the family friend shot the marshal in self-defense. And the marshals started shooting and it was a mess.
The forensic evidence and common sense really points to the family friend being the truthful one. It also strongly implies that they were ALWAYS planning to kill the dog at the beginning of the siege because he was cramping their ability to get up to the house.
The marshal’s shot as the boy was running away got him in his back, killing him instantly. Dead children are not good.
Then they started the siege of the house. At one point the dad and the friend and one of the girls as cover came out and a sniper aimed for the dad but the dad moved and he got the dad in the shoulder instead of the head. They started running for the house and the sniper took another shot, which did not hit the dad, but did hit the family friend in the chest and the mom in the face. She died instantly, while holding the baby.
UNBELIEVABLY, the government is holding to the story that they had no idea they’d killed the boy or the mom for several more days.
Eventually, they get a dialogue going and the siege ends, and they put the dad and the friend on trial for murder, conspiracy, the gun charges, failure to appear, the entire enchilada.
They get off for everything but failing to appear and possessing weapons while on bail, and the government does an investigation into what went wrong there. The answer is basically EVERYTHING. It was all wrong. All terrible.
You can’t be on the side of the government because they decided before they got up there that it would be ok to shoot any armed adult, knowing that the adults never even went to the outhouse without guns, and without provocation. I refuse to believe that can be constitutional. We’re citizens. We have rights. You can’t really support the killing of children, either.
At the same time, there is no question that the family’s insane beliefs and refusal to come down from the mountain was the root cause of all that nonsense, and how can you be on the side of racist people who use their children as human shields?
Team no one. Ruby Ridge was a tragedy all around.