Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge

Paradise

In 1982, the couple's third child, Rachel, was born. This was no casual event, as it enforced the belief in Vicki's recurrent visions that they would have another daughter. The couple put their home up for sale and, in August of 1983, they received some $50,000 for it. Vicki's family strongly objected to their plan, but there was nothing they could do to change her mind. The Weaver family drove west to Montana in hopes of finding their new home. However, when they reached Montana, they considered property there to be overpriced and decided to head for Idaho.

Bonners Ferry (David Lohr)
Bonners Ferry (David Lohr)

Upon arriving in Idaho, it did not take long for the Weavers to find a beautiful spot southwest of Bonners Ferry in the Selkirk Mountains. The property overlooked Ruby Creek and on a clear day you could see Montana and Washington in the distance. A writer for the New York Times, Philip West, later stated that the view "could make you weep for the power of God's hand." The Weavers paid just $5,000 for the 20-acre parcel.

By March of 1984, Randy had built a cabin from scrap lumber and the family began living on the mountain. There was no electricity or running water, but for the Weavers it was paradise. Vicki home schooled the children and the couple soon had a close group of friends throughout the area. One of these friends in particular was a 15-year-old boy named Kevin Harris. His father had died when he was just 2 years old and his young mother found it too difficult to raise him along with his three siblings. As with many troubled youths, Kevin turned to the streets and eventually drugs. Randy Weaver met Kevin through mutual friends sometime during the mid 1980's and took a liking to the young man. He made it his mission to save Kevin from the evils of the world and took him under his wing. Kevin moved in with the family and Randy and Vicki considered him as their own son.

Boundary County Courthouse (David Lohr)
Boundary County Courthouse (David Lohr)

Many of their new friends held extremely racist views and eventually persuaded the Weavers to adopt some of these views. Vicki accepted as justification for these racist views passages in the Biblical apocrypha, the so-called lost books of the Bible, which describe the African race as sinners and "mud people." The Weavers's philosophies were ever changing, but bascially they accepted those who fit into their world, such as Kevin Harris, and rejected those who did not.

During the mid to late 1980's many of Randy and Vicki's friends stopped coming up to the cabin. Several people had accused them of theft, while others decided that they could no longer take their continuous preaching. Regardless of the cause, this situation led Vicki to file a document in the Boundary County Courthouse, which named several people in a supposed conspiracy to harm them. Interestingly enough, several members of the FBI, Secret Service and Boundary County Sheriff's Office were named in the document. Their belief that there was a conspiracy against them could be what prompted Randy to run for Boundary County Sheriff in 1988. However, he lost the primary and only collected 10% of the vote, probably because of his strongly racist ideas and his contempt for both local and federal governments. Randy never made any promises during his brief campaign, however one of his tactics involved handing out "get out of jail free" cards, claiming that anyone arrested for a nonviolent crime would get a second chance if he were elected. This publicity stunt may have been why the government began to focus its attention on the Weaver family.

 

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