The Ruby Ridge standoff in August 1992 was the beginning of an anti-government patriot movement that grew into the Oklahoma City bombing. Twenty years later, Sara Weaver and the rest of the Weaver clan have been able to find peace, despite living through a terrifying standoff with the FBI that resulted in the death of Sara’s mother as well as her brother Samuel.
Sara Weaver witnessed her father Randy get stuck in the shoulder by a government sniper’s bullet on August 21, 1992 as they ran back to the family’s cabin on Ruby Ridge, a mountaintop in the Idaho wilderness, reports The Washington Post.
Weaver’s mother, Vicki, opened the cabin door for the two, holding Sara’s 10-month-old sister in her arms. Just then, a sniper’s bullet struck Vicki in the head, killing her instantly.
The survivors spent the next eleven days holed up inside the cabin while hundreds of federal agents surrounded them in a standoff that ended on August 31 with the family’s surrender.
For Sara, the pain of the incident caused her to go “10 years without understanding how to heal.” It wasn’t until she became a Christian that she said, “All bitterness and anger had to go.” She added, “I forgave those that pulled the trigger.”
Randy Weaver moved his family to Ruby Ridge in Idaho in the 1980s in order to escape what he viewed as a corrupt world. Federal agents began investigating the Army veteran over time for possible ties to both white supremacist and anti-government groups. Ultimately, Weaver was suspected of selling a government informant two illegal sawed-off shotguns, according to MSNBC.
The August 1992 siege on the Weaver clan ended with Randy Weaver and his friend Kevin Harris being arrested, while Weaver’s daughters were sent to live with their mother’s family in Iowa. Randy Weaver was eventually acquitted of the most serious charges, while Harris was acquitted of all charges.
The surviving Weavers filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the Ruby Ridge standoff, and the federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 settlement and gave his three daughters each $1 million in 1995.
Following the ruby Ridge standoff, federal agents laid siege to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, which ended violently after a 51 day standoff, leaving 76 people dead. Timothy McVeigh cited both Waco and Ruby Ridge as motivators for bombing the Oklahoma City federal buildings in 1995.
But, for Sara Weaver, who has finally found forgiveness for Ruby Ridge, every time someone commits a violent act in the name of the Weavers’ standoff with federal agents, the 36-year-old is devastated. Weaver stated of the Oklahoma City bombing that, “It killed me inside. I knew what it was like to lose a family member in violence. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”