The Randy Weaver family has disappeared down an Orwellian memory hole for most Americans. Their story doesn’t offer occasion for waving flags and singing patriotic songs. Despite the tragedy that befell them, Randy Weaver is still vilified by major media for, “crimes and strange beliefs”, in particular distrust of government.
Randy Weaver, an ex Special Forces Sergeant, had reason to distrust his government when in 1991, an agent of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) entrapped Randy by hiring him to cut off a shotgun. Arrested, BATF tried to force him to inform on “subversive organizations”…he refused. For the next 18 months, the U.S. Marshal Service spied on the Weavers’ isolated mountain cabin, where Randy lived with his wife Vicki, son Sammy (14), daughters Sara (16), Rachel (10), and Elisheba (10 months), and a young friend named Kevin Harris.
The morning of August 21, 1992, six government marksmen wearing ski masks and camouflage, armed with automatic weapons equipped with silencers, crept up on the Weaver cabin without warning or warrant and without identifying themselves. First they shot and killed the family’s yellow Labrador, Striker, who had been barking at the intruders. When young Sammy witnessed this, he fired a .223 mini-14 in the direction from which the shots had come, then ran back toward the cabin. Agents fired at Sammy, his arm blown off , the youngster got back to his feet and began running again. Moments later, a second automatic weapon burst caught Sammy in the back, killing him.
Within 24 hours, one Deputy U.S. Marshal was dead and some 500 federal agents arrived at the scene, along with helicopters, “HUMVEES,” armoured transport vehicles and personnel carriers. The Weavers’ dead dog was left in the road, repeatedly run over by government vehicles.
On the afternoon of August 22, Vicki Weaver, standing at the cabin’s door, armed with nothing more lethal than baby Elisheba, was shot in the head by a sniper…while nursing. Kneeling on the floor, still clutching her baby, Vicki bled to death. This a carefully timed “two shot” whereby Kevin Harris was also hit. Shortly afterward Randy too was shot. Nine days later, Weaver, a badly wounded Harris, and the surviving kids surrendered to Federal agents.
Eleven months in trial, a jury in Boise, Idaho, acquitted Weaver and Harris of murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the government assault. The trial resulted in a not-guilty verdict. Weaver turned to his lawyer, Gerry Spence saying, “I’ve learned something about the system …it works.”
In 1995, Congressional hearings into the Weaver tragedy revealed a cover-up and gross negligence by government officials, yet, there was never prosecution of the killers of Sammy and Vicki Weaver.