Ruby Ridge used to refer to a geographical location in the state of Idaho, but after an incident that took place there 10 years ago on Aug. 21, the phrase has come to refer to a scandalous series of events that opened the eyes of many people to the inner workings of the federal government, including the vaunted Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now that 10 years have passed, the feds will accelerate their ongoing effort to "move forward" and have the scandal declared "ancient history." But the Ruby Ridge episode should not be soon forgotten.
On August 21, 1992 a paramilitary unit of the U.S. Marshals Service ventured onto the 20-acre property known as Ruby Ridge. A man named Randy Weaver owned the land and he lived there with his wife, children, and a family friend, Kevin Harris. There was an outstanding warrant for Weaver's arrest for a firearms offense and the marshals were surveilling the premises. When the family dog noticed the marshals sneaking around in the woods, it began to bark wildly. Weaver's 14-year-old boy, Sammy, and Kevin Harris proceeded to grab their rifles because they thought the dog had come upon a wild animal.
A firefight erupted when a marshal shot and killed the dog. Enraged that the family pet had been cut down for no good reason, Sammy shot into the woods at the unidentified trespasser. Within a few minutes, two human beings were shot dead: Sammy Weaver and a marshal. Harris and the Weaver family retreated to their cabin and the marshals retreated from the mountain and called the FBI for assistance.