My mind couldn't wrap itself around the thought back then, when a few people said tyranny had come to America. I remember being unable to contemplate the thought that my government would ever begin to treat it's citizens the way Russia or China or South Vietnam treated their citizens. This was unthinkable. I clearly remember putting the thought of an unarmed mother holding her baby out of mind, and I went about my life.
I'm a mother. 20 years later. And I think back on the murder of an unarmed woman holding her baby.
|Her last photo|
NBC: Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
Randy Weaver and his family were just another set of "troublemakers" who wanted to be left alone. While I, and most of Americans like me, paid no attention to the atrocity, a substantial minority on both sides of the political spectrum did pay attention. They were outraged and wouldn't forget. And dear Lord, forgive me, I want to forget. I don't want to remember. I remember seeing the funerals on the news. Yes, I prayed for the baby who would never know his mother. I remember.
The actions at Ruby Ridge were studied long ago. And, damning as the Justice Department investigation was, officials are believed to have destroyed evidence to keep it away from investigators. The Justice Department completed a 542-page investigation on the case in 1995. Then hid the report from the public. However, the report was acquired by Legal Times newspaper, which placed the report on the internet. The report revealed that federal officials may have acted worse than even some of their harshest critics imagined.
Federal officials claimed a violent confrontation between the Weavers and the government began when the Weavers ambushed federal marshals, but the report tells a very different story. A team of six U.S. marshals, split into two groups, trespassed onto Mr. Weaver's land on Aug. 21, 1992. One of the marshals threw rocks at the Weaver's cabin to see how much noise was required to agitate the Weaver's dogs. A few minutes later, Randy Weaver, Kevin Harris, and 13-year-old Sammy Weaver came out of the cabin and began following their dogs. Three U.S. marshals were soon running away through the woods.
At one point, U.S. Marshal Larry Cooper "told the others that it was ['expletive deleted'] for them to continue running and that he did not want to 'run down the trail and get shot in the back.' Cooper told them to take up defensive positions. They took a position behind a stump and waited. As Sammy Weaver and Kevin Harris came upon the marshals, gunfire erupted. It was Sammy who was shot in the back, killed while running away from the scene (probably by Marshal Cooper, according to the report).1
Does tyranny begin when an angry young man, remembering Ruby Ridge, blows up a federal building filled with babies in a daycare, along with men and women innocently going about their day? Or would that be anarchy?
When does tyranny begin? A dad, a 13 year old boy, his mother and his baby brother were innocently going about their day, too.
My government wants legal permission to send drones, instead of federal marshalls, to kill Americans they think are a threat. And I want to be protected! I want my government to do a good job keeping my family safe. But what happens when my government runs amok? They want to control who gets to buy automatic weapons, to protect me they say. Like they protected me from an unarmed woman holding her baby?
Slowly, like a child testing the weight of ice on a lake in winter, my government has tested the waters of tyranny, to see how far they can go.
The U.S. Supreme Court said "It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error." - in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, at 442.
Please God, please help the American people ask what I'm asking now. And dear God... please let the powers in Washington listen to the American people they serve. Please let them ask, when does tyranny begin? No, better still, let them ask what will the anarchy that follows look like?
1. source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Ridge