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View Diary: the violence of Patriots' Day (135 comments)

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  •  So ask the question differently (0+ / 0-)

    As in

    Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver, who possessed weapons, who vowed resistance, whose family member killed a US Marshal, when Randy Weaver barricaded himself with weapons in his home with his family?

    If US Marshals retreating from the property had not been fired on, then none of this would have happened.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  No (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, foxsucks81

      Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver

      If I were to get a job in a factory, the first thing I'd do is join a union.---FDR

      by frandor55 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:39:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, there is substantial (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, frandor55, geomoo

      question to whether the Weaver's fired on the US Marshals until after they were fired upon.

      At one point, Roderick threw two rocks at the Weaver cabin to test the reaction of the dogs.[21] The dogs became alerted, and Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, and Weaver's 14 year old son, Samuel, emerged and followed the dog Striker to investigate.[1] Harris and the younger Weaver were hoping that the dog had noticed a game animal since the cabin was out of meat.[22] Sammy Weaver told his father he believed the dogs had sensed either a large animal or a man in the woods. The recon team marshals (Roderick, Cooper and Degan) initially retreated through the woods in radio contact with the OP team, but later took up hidden defensive positions.
      Later the OP team marshals and the Weavers both claimed that the Weaver dogs alerted to the recon team marshals in the woods after neighbors at the foot of the mountain started their pickup truck. The recon team marshals retreated through the woods to the "Y" juncture in the trails 500 yards west of the cabin, out of sight of the cabin. Sammy and Harris followed the dog Striker on foot through the woods while Randy also on foot took a separate logging trail. Vicki, Sara, Rachel, and baby Elisheba remained at the cabin, at first appearing anxious to the OP team, but later appearing relaxed. Randy encountered the marshals at the "Y"; Roderick recalled yelling, "Back off! U.S. Marshal!" and Cooper recalled yelling, "Stop! U.S. Marshal!" Later statements by Roderick, Cooper and Randy agreed that Randy responded by cursing and running away. About a minute later the dog and the boys came out of the woods and a firefight erupted between the marshals and Sammy and Harris.[23][24]

      Accounts differ at this point as to who first opened fire[25] but agree that DUSM Roderick shot and killed Weaver's dog and that Samuel Weaver fired at Roderick. Samuel Weaver was shot in the back while retreating,[26] and DUSM Degan was shot and killed by Harris.[27]

      The version of the firefight told by DUSMs Roderick and Cooper was that the dog, followed by Harris then Sammy, came out of the woods. DUSM Degan challenged Harris, who turned and shot Degan dead without Degan firing a single shot. Roderick then shot the dog once, Sammy fired at Roderick twice, and Roderick fired once again. Roderick and Cooper heard multiple gunshots from the Weaver party. Cooper fired two three shot bursts at Harris and Cooper saw Harris fall "like a sack of potatoes". An impact caused leaves to fly up in front of Cooper who then sought cover. Cooper saw Sammy run away. Cooper radioed to OP team Dave Hunt that he had wounded or killed Harris.[28]

      Harris' version was that, when the dog followed by Sammy then Harris came out of the woods, the dog ran up to Cooper and danced about as he did in playing with the children. The dog then ran to Roderick, who shot the dog in front of Sammy, who cursed Roderick and shot at him. Degan came out of the woods firing his M16 and hit Sammy in the arm. Harris then fired and hit Degan in the chest knocking him down. Cooper fired at Harris who ducked for cover. Cooper fired again and Sammy was hit in the back and fell. Harris fired about 6 feet in front of Cooper and forced him to take cover. Cooper announced that he was a US Marshal. Harris checked Sammy's body, found him dead, and ran to the cabin.[29]

      Probably the most disturbing thing about the Weaver incident were the "shoot on sight" rules of engagement and the fact that no one in the FBI accepted responsibility for formulating him.

      Here is FBI Assistant Director Danny Coulson's take on Weaver during the siege:

      Something to Consider

      1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.
      1. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
      1. Vicki has no charges against her.
      1. Weaver's defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was barking at. Some guys in camys shot his dog. Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position."[42]
      •  I Have Spent Time In Northern Idaho... (3+ / 0-)

        Coeur d'Alene.

        And my progressive /liberal friends who lived there during that time believe the government version of what happened is bullshit.

        If I were to get a job in a factory, the first thing I'd do is join a union.---FDR

        by frandor55 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:27:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think partisanship should extend to this (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catdevotee, frandor55, elwior, geomoo

          Why is it okay for the police state to inflict unnecessary harm under a democratic administration but an outrage if it does so under a republican one?

          I was horrified at the Senate hearings on the Branch Davidian disaster.  Chuck Schumer did his best to cover the Fed's mistakes and shout down the opposition.  

          You don't have to be a gun fanatic or right-winger to be very skeptical of the police, the feds, the ATF, the DEA, the FBI, etc.  These organizations have a history of abusing citizens and trampling on rights under presidents of both parties.  I'd rather a healthy skepticism be applied erroneously than to give them the benefit of the doubt when they don't deserve it.

          I could give a flying crap about the political process. We're an entertainment company. --Glenn Beck

          by foxsucks81 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:39:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Violence is not a viable tool of policy. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, foxsucks81

            Both these cases provide textbook examples of how things play out when violence is used to achieve ends, which gets us back to the basic theme of the diary. Beforehand, the binary mind sees a desired goal and sees a way of attaining the goal through violently sweeping aside obstacles.  Afterwards, the ground is littered with the dead, dying, and suffering, and the issues leading to the violence continue to fester.  This is the way of violence.

            To most of us, David Koresh was an abusive tyrant, heavily armed.  Is it our business to interfere, and when?  It is ironic that the same folks who want to prevent a woman from choosing abortion vehemently oppose the right of the government to stop a madman from exercising absolute control over women and children.  But the attack on the compound was filled with mistakes.  Once again, as so often happens with violence, they killed the children to save them.

            Bacevich makes this point with respect to Afghanistan Obama's decision to double down in Afghanistan:

            The very notion that we can ratchet up our involvement in Afghanistan and then state with confidence at this point that in 18 months we will carefully ratchet our involvement back down again. He seems to assume that war is a predictable and controllable instrument that can be directed with precision by people sitting in offices back in Washington, D.C. I think the history of Vietnam and the history of war more broadly teaches us something different. And that is, when statesmen choose war, they really are simply rolling the dice. They have no idea of what numbers are going to come up. And their ability to predict, control, direct the outcome tends to be extremely precarious. So from my point of view, the President has drawn the wrong lessons from his understanding of the history of war.

            This is why violence should be only a last resort.  It is always the worst possible strategy--the most unpredictable and most likely both to fail and to bring new, unforeseen difficulties--for achieving desirable goals.

            The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

            by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:53:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  When Federal Marshals come calling, you settle (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        salmo, elwior

        the matter in court.  To start shooting and "defend your rights" with violence when you have a legal means of redress at your disposal is immature, faulty thinking, and the Weavers and their ilk compound their own woes when they defy the legally appointed government agents with gun violence.  The Weavers may make the case for a survivalist's wet dream, but they are not mature thinking citizens for the 21st Century.  

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:43:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geomoo

          The Weavers were fruitcakes.

          But in this case during the initial part of the confrontation they didn't behave unreasonably.

          Their dogs started barking.  They apparently thought a deer might be near and went out because they were short on meat.

          They ran down the path and bumped into the Marshals.

          There was a confused incident.  The Marshals shot Weaver's dog and son.  Harris shot a Marshal.  Weaver and Harris ran back to their cabin and holed up.

          The US Government pretty much forfeited the normal presumption that government agents in such a situation are telling the truth and survivalist nuts are not when they issued shoot on sight rules of engagement and then all parties involved denied being responsible.

          The Ruby Ridge Rules of Engagement (ROE) were drawn up on the basis of reports from USMS and FBI headquarters, bolstered by unconfirmed news media accounts accepted by HQ, that exaggerated the threat posed by the Weavers.

          1. If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed, if the shot can be taken without endangering any children.
          1. If any adult in the compound is observed with a weapon after the surrender announcement is made, and is not attempting to surrender, deadly force can and should be employed to neutralize the individual.
          1. If compromised by any animal, particularly the dogs, that animal should be eliminated.
          1. Any subjects other than Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Kevin Harris, presenting threats of death or grievous bodily harm, the FBI rules of deadly force are in effect. Deadly force can be utilized to prevent the death or grievous bodily injury to oneself or that of another.[34]

          Standard deadly force policy of the FBI was: "Agents are not to use deadly force against any person except as necessary in self-defense or the defense of another, when they have reason to believe they or another are in danger of death or grievous bodily harm. Whenever feasible, verbal warning should be given before deadly force is applied."[35] Under the Ruby Ridge ROE 3 and 4, the Weaver dogs, the Weaver children and third parties were subject to the standard deadly force policy and could only be shot in self-defense if they presented a danger of death or grievous bodily harm. However, under the Ruby Ridge ROE 1 and 2, deadly force against the Weaver adults was permitted without the justification of defense and without any verbal warning.

          The Denver FBI SWAT team assigned to Ruby Ridge thought the ROE were "crazy" and agreed among themselves to follow the FBI deadly force policy. However, most of the FBI HRT sniper/observers accepted the ROE as modifying the deadly force policy. Examples: HRT sniper Dale Monroe saw the ROE as a "green light" to shoot armed adult males on sight and HRT sniper Edward Wenger believed that if he observed armed adults, he could use deadly force, but he was to follow standard deadly force policy for all other individuals. Fred Lanceley, the FBI Hostage Negotiator at Ruby Ridge, was "surprised and shocked" at the ROE, the most severe rules he had ever heard in his over 300 hostage situations and characterized the ROE as inconsistent with standard policy.[36] A later Senate report criticized the ROE as "virtual shoot-on-sight orders."[37]

          Before the negotiators arrived at the cabin, an FBI HRT sniper, Lon Horiuchi, shot and wounded Randy Weaver in the back with the bullet exiting his right armpit, while he was lifting the latch on the shed to visit the body of his dead son.[38] (The sniper testified at the later trial that he had put his crosshairs on Weaver's spine, but Weaver moved at the last second.) Then, as Weaver, his 16-year-old daughter Sara,[39] and Harris ran back toward the house, Horiuchi fired a second bullet, which passed through Vicki Weaver's head, killing her, and wounded Harris in the chest. Vicki Weaver was standing behind the door through which Harris was entering the house, holding their 10-month-old baby Elisheba[39] in her arms.[40] The Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility Ruby Ridge Task Force Report (June 10, 1994) stated in section I. Executive Summary subhead B. Significant Findings that the second shot did not satisfy constitutional standards for legal use of deadly force.[41] The OPR review also found the lack of a request to surrender was "inexcusable", since Harris and the two Weavers were running for cover without returning fire and were not an imminent threat. The task force also specifically blamed Horiuchi for firing through the door, not knowing whether someone was on the other side of it. While controversy exists as to who is responsible for approving the ROE that were being followed by the sniper, the task force also condemned the so-called "rules of engagement" allowing shots to be fired with no request for surrender.[38]

          •  Once the shooting starts, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, foxsucks81

            the neat "rules of engagement" quickly disappear.  We Americans need to purge ourselves of the delusion of the upright soldier of integrity always making humane decisions.  That is the stuff of superheroes in comic books.

            The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

            by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:57:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually no. For professionals the ROE (0+ / 0-)

              stay in place right through the engagement.

              We have some of the most professional military and paramilitary forces in the world and when they are given reasonable instructions they don't produce cluster fucks like Ruby Ridge or even Waco.

              I totally agreed with the Horiuchi prosecution except for one thing.  Horiuchi was not a lawyer and couldn't reasonably determine the legality of his instructions.  The prosecution should have been of the superiors who produced those ROE.

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