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Weaver jurors: Horuichi was a robotic killer.

Three former jurors celebrate, commiserate Pleased FBI agent charged, but sorry for Kevin Harris

Craig Welch/The Spokesman-Review

They were unanimous once again.

Three of the jurors who acquitted Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris of murder charges in 1993 were elated Thursday that an FBI agent was charged in Vicki Weaver's death.

``Oh good, good,'' said former juror Dorothy Mitchell, 49. ``I'm absolutely thrilled.''

``I'm all for it,'' said another member of the panel, Jack Weaver, 47, who is not related to Randy Weaver. ``People have lost a lot of confidence in their government because of this.''

But the three jurors -- who had been sequestered for two months of testimony and a month of deliberations -- were incensed by the charge against Harris, 29.

[The charges have since been dropped because of double jeopardy.]

``Doggone it, it was self-defense,'' said former juror Jerry Anderton, 74. ``They shouldn't make that kid go through that again.''

``That's no good,'' Mitchell said. ``I liked Kevin. I felt sorry for Kevin. He was a good kid in a bad situation.''

The jurors agreed another trial might answer lingering questions. Each recalled feeling the government had left missing pieces.

``How much evidence was destroyed?'' Jack Weaver said. ``I want to know.''

The new charges dragged some of the jurors back to an uncomfortable period, forcing them to relive old emotions.

``Everything that's happened -- Oklahoma City, the freemen -- I cry every time,''Mitchell said. ``I always wonder if those people took something from our verdict. I'll have this with me forever.''

Thursday, some jurors remembered the case in exquisite detail, recalling the caliber of weapons used at the standoff and gruesome autopsy results.

The new charges also reignited old arguments.

Jurors disagreed on whether Harris shot and killed U.S. Marshal William Degan. They agreed that if he did, it was self-defense.

``We went into that jury room with tape measures, did triangulations,'' said Mitchell, a junior high school teacher from Hazelton, Idaho. ``We didn't know who shot who. We only agreed Kevin wasn't responsible.''

Jack Weaver, a Boise pressman, was equally confident.

Jack Weaver, a Boise pressman, was equally confident.

``There was no question that he shot him,'' he said. ``The biggest issue was who shot first.''

Anderton recounted evidence that Degan must have fired first: the rounds fired from his gun, the distance he had traveled while shooting, the severity of his wound.

``You don't get up when you're hit as hard as Degan and fire a dozen rounds and keep running,'' the Boise man said.

When it came to FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, however, each juror recalled feeling chills.

``He was a robot,'' Mitchell said.

Anderton and Jack Weaver hoped more charges would be filed. Anderton even wanted charges against the U.S. marshal who shot Sammy Weaver's dog, Striker.

``He's the one who started the whole firefight,'' Anderton said.

None of the jurors held out much hope that Boundary County would be able to convict Horiuchi, who will be defended by federal government lawyers.

``It's rather like a gnat having a disagreement with an elephant,'' Anderton said. ``They can't beat them.''

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The Education of Lon Horiuchi
Joseph Sobran.

Washington, January 19

I know little about Lon Horiuchi--only that he shot a woman in the head while she was holding her infant in her arms. And one other thing: He did it for his government.

How could a man do such a thing and live with himself? Well, as I say, he did it for his government. But how did the government get him to do it? Was he brainwashed?

Mr. Horiuchi is an FBI sharpshooter who was assigned to the Randy Weaver case in Idaho a few years ago. Mr. Weaver so ardently loathes modern American society and government that he moved his family to a cabin in a remote part of Idaho, in an act of personal secession from the Union.

HE POSED NO THREAT to anyone, but the federal government took umbrage at his attitude and tried to set him up for prosecution on a dubious pretext. Soon government agents were laying siege to his property. In the course of a long standoff, Mr. Horiuchi killed Mr. Weaver's wife. His son was also killed.

Finally, Mr. Weaver surrendered, went to trial, and was acquitted on the chief charges, the ones that had been used as justification for the siege. The agents have not been punished.

As the details of the case have gained publicity, many Americans have felt outrage at the government's conduct, which was more recently paralleled at Waco. We may be seeing something similar in the seeming entrapment of Malcolm X's daughter on a charge of plotting to murder Louis Farrakhan.

Such cases have caused an explosively growing number of Americans to distrust their government. But I am interested in another growing breed of Americans: men like Lon Horiuchi, who presumably aren't what we call "criminal types," yet feel that a crime committed with government approval isn't a crime.

As the 20th century has amply proved, the state is the most murderous institution that has ever existed. Tens of millions of people have been killed by their own governments, who feel morally justified in killing-- whether the victims are their fellow citizens or foreigners--because they have official authorization to do so.

LIBERAL MYTHOLOGY blames these killings on monsters: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot. But individual rulers, however cruel, need lots of cooperation from people who have been predisposed to cooperate with any regime that may come to power. The real "monster" is the ideology of the state. And that ideology is propagated largely through the great system of mass control, public education.

I warmly recommend a new book by Sheldon Richman titled Separating School and State. It is published by the Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va, and is also being distributed by the Separation of School and State Alliance in Fresno, Calif.

Mr. Richman, a highly respected libertarian thinker, offers a provocative thesis: that far from "failing," as its critics charge, the public school system is succeeding in its real purpose: turning children into obedient creatures of the state. It doesn't tell them explicitly that they may someday be called upon to kill; nothing so crude as that. But it constantly teaches them, in innumerable ways, that the state creates moral obligations and special justifications. That is why so many young men in so many countries have been willing, eventually, to kill for their governments.

Mr. Richman isn't interested in "reforming" public education. He opposed even private school vouchers, because they would increase the state's authority over schools that might otherwise be independent. The only cure for the evils of public education is to get the state out of the education business entirely. The state has no more right to tell a child what to believe in secular than in religious matters.

STATE EDUCATION IS not about education; it's about power. It creates what might be called "virtual" truth. You don't really have to believe it, but you feel it's futile or even dangerous to deny it, so you condition yourself to save trouble by acting as if it's true and leaving the thinking to others. And so you become a good citizen, a faithful taxpayer, and maybe even a Lon Horiuchi.

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Battle Flags, Etc.

Even good (???) people can be sucked into the gov't's iron
fist, and be used to smash the innocent and our Constitution.


by Joseph Sobran

Washington, February 9---A few weeks ago I wrote a column about Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sharpshooter of whom I said I knew only that he had shot a mother in the head as she held her baby---and that he had done it for his government. I surmised that Mr. Horiuchi was a product of a public educational system that instills a code of mindless obedience to the state.

To my shock and mortification, this account has been challenged by friends of Mr. Horiuchi---who are also estimable friends and acquaintances of mine. In fairness I will cite the version of events and the description of Mr. Horiuchi I've received from Jeffrey Rubin, whom I've known for a decade as a devout, honest and utterly reliable man. He attests that my inferences are "utterly, horribly false to Lon Horiuchi," who he says bears no resemblance to "the secularized, government-worshipping zombie" I imagined.

As you may recall, Lon Horiuchi was part of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team that was assigned to capture Randy Weaver, the political dissident and recluse who had holed up in a cabin in Idaho with his family, where they were joined by a friend. During the ensuing siege, a federal marshal and Mr. Weaver's son were killed. Then the FBI unit was sent in, Mrs. Weaver was killed, and Mr. Weaver was finally arrested and tried, eventually winning acquittal on the original charges that had incurred the siege in the first place, though he was convicted on lesser counts.

Civil libertarians of the left and libertarians of the right still wonder why Mr. Weaver should have been a target of the federal government at all. Be that as it may, Mr. Horiuchi came into this drama in the middle stages, presumably believing the official story (later disproved in court) that Mr. Weaver's group had started the gunfight in which the marshal was killed. His friends contend plausibly that he assumed he was dealing with murderous fanatics.

Mr. Horiuchi insisted later that he had killed Mrs. Weaver by accident. For what it's worth, the government's own investigation eventually cleared him of intentionally shooting her. It means more to me that people like Jeffrey Rubin believe him. Whatever the full truth may be, Mr. Horiuchi and his family are paying dearly for the affair; they face civil and criminal lawsuits, social ostracism, and the public obloquy to which my column has contributed its part.

I hate to think I may have compounded the suffering of a man who acted in good faith and didn't mean to hurt the innocent. In one respect, I know I misjudged Mr. Horiuchi's character: He is anything but an unethical servant of the state that employs him.

According to Jeff Rubin, Mr. Horiuchi is a devout Catholic (an adult convert) and an ardent conservative. He has deep reservations about the federal government itself. He and his wife consider abortion a horror and

hope he won't be assigned to protect abortion clinics. They school their children at home, because, as Mr. Rubin puts it, "their view of the public school system is such that they would sooner put their kids into the public sewer system."

In short, Mr. Horiuchi's view of the U.S. government, in some respects, is strikingly like Randy Weaver's. But he accepts the government, for all its faults, as essentially legitimate. And that point of difference led to a horrible tragedy that has marred both men's lives.

Here is ghastly evidence that curbing the power of the federal government is more than an exercise in constitutional pedantry. The power of the state is ultimately the power to kill. The reasons and conditions of that power must be extremely sound and clear, and the restraints on it must be so powerful as to daunt any official who may be tempted to abuse it. Those who are assigned to enforce it are entitled to assurance that they are acting justly.

Reprehensibly as the government has acted in the Weaver case, I shouldn't have made Lon Horiuchi the eponym of its persecution. His heart-rending story should stand as a lesson to anyone contemplating a career in federal law enforcement in an age when the federal government knows no limits.

---Joseph Sobran, Copyright 1995, Universal Press Syndicate

[Editor's note: Let's assume Mr. H is the good fellow Sobran paints him to be (which may or may not be the case). Mr. Horiuchi is evidence of the evils even good people will commit when they blindly follow their government. If Mr. Horiuchi really had all those "deep reservations about the federal government," why did he blindly follow orders to shoot people on sight? Why didn't he object to those orders like some of the others did? Mr. Horiuchi failed one of the most important safeguards against a tyrannical government: which is for the law enforcers to refuse to carry out evil laws or orders.

It's safe to conclude that even good (???) people can be manipulated into smashing citizens and their rights, unless those citizens are continuously alert and instantaneously refuse to participate in unconstitutional or evil acts.

Perhaps we could even compare Lon Horiuchi to Tim McVeigh. Both wanted to help their country, and perhaps they both started out on the right track, but in the end they did the wrong thing in the wrong way, and because of what they did, neither of them can any longer be considered a good person. (Apologies to Mr. Sobran who stated the contrary, at least about Lon Horiuchi.) Of course, if either wanted to join the ranks of good people, they could start by confessing what they did, admit they were wrong, and ask the wronged parties--the families involved, and the entire nation--to forgive them.

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Feds Still Remorseless,
Justify Rudy Ridge and Defend Killer Horiuchi.

From The Spokane Spokesman-Review


Feds defend FBI sniper
Case should be moved, former Ruby Ridge commander says

Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review

The man who commanded federal agents at Ruby Ridge said he hopes the case against Lon Horiuchi is moved out of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, if the FBI sharpshooter stands trial.

``I don't think a federal official can get a fair trial in Boundary County, to be honest with you,'' said former FBI supervisor Gene Glenn.

Glenn, the on-scene commander at Ruby Ridge who has since retired from the bureau, said he was shocked and saddened that Horiuchi was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Charges against an agent acting in the line of duty are rare, he said.

Another federal law enforcement officer said Horiuchi is being unfairly painted as a cold-blooded killer.

``He made a split-second decision in a difficult situation and was not aware of the unintended consequences,'' said the officer, who asked not to be identified.

Charging Horiuchi chills all law enforcement, the officer said, and agents may be reluctant to volunteer for special units such as the Hostage Rescue Team. Horiuchi is a member of that elite FBI team.

``Officers may be unwilling to put themselves in that sort of a situation and that might cost other people their lives,'' the officer said.

Ron Kessler, an investigative reporter and author of five books on the FBI, agreed the charge is unusual. But it should not be considered a surprise.

``It makes sense to me because he clearly did violate the `shoot' policy -- shoot to defend yourself or prevent harm to someone else,'' said Kessler, who doubted the charge will have a chilling effect on other agents.

On the second day of the siege, Horiuchi fired two shots as Randy Weaver tried to re-enter his cabin. The first wounded Weaver. The second killed his wife, Vicki, and injured Kevin Harris.

The sharpshooter testified at Weaver's trial that he hit Vicki Weaver by mistake.

Horiuchi would not comment on the charges, said Adam Hoffinger, a member of a Washington, D.C., law firm hired by the U.S. Justice Department to represent him.

``We are profoundly distressed and troubled'' by the charge, Hoffinger said, noting that Horiuchi was exonerated last week by the Justice Department ``after an exhaustive, two-year investigation.''

But he had no reservations about his client facing charges in North Idaho. ``We have no qualms about going to trial, anywhere,'' Hoffinger said.

FBI Director Louis Freeh issued a one-page statement praising Horiuchi for ``an exemplary record'' and saying he was deeply disappointed the charges were brought.

``He is an outstanding agent and continues to have my total support and confidence,'' Freeh said.

In another statement, the Justice Department was quick to note the difference between federal and Idaho laws.

Federal investigators concluded that Horiuchi could not be prosecuted in federal court for an intentional use of unreasonable force that deprived the Weavers of their civil rights.

Idaho has a law against using a firearm recklessly, carelessly or negligently, a department press release said.

``No federal crime covers the reckless, careless or negligent use of a firearm,'' the statement said.

Staff writer Ken Olsen contributed to this report.


WASHINGTON (Reuter) - FBI Director Louis Freeh said Thursday he was ``deeply disappointed'' that Idaho state prosecutors decided to charge an FBI agent with involuntary manslaughter related to the 1992 Ruby Ridge shootout.

Idaho state prosecutors charged FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi in the death of white separatist Randy Weaver's wife Vicki.

``Without question, the death of Vicki Weaver, like the death of Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Degan, was a terrible tragedy,'' Freeh said in a statement. ``The FBI has expressed its regret for Vicki Weaver's tragic death,'' he added.

Horiuchi's job on the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team involved making ``split-second'' decisions, Freeh said.

The Justice Department will continue to provide legal representation at government expense for Horiuchi. ``He is an outstanding agent and continues to have my total support and confidence,'' Freeh said.

Adam Hoffinger, counsel for Horiuchi, said: ``We are profoundly distressed and troubled by the Boundary County prosecutor's decision to charge Lon Horiuchi.''

Hoffinger added, ``particularly in the face of Mr. Horiuchi's exoneration last week after an exhaustive, two-year investigation'' by the Justice Department.

On Friday, the Justice Department said it would not prosecute any more FBI agents over the Ruby Ridge shooting.

The Justice Department said Horiuchi was charged under Idaho's involuntary statute, which makes it a crime to use a firearm recklessly, carelessly, or negligently.

``A different showing is required to prove a violation under federal law, which contains different standards than state law,'' a Justice statement said.

Boundary County Prosecutor Denise Woodbury also said Weaver's friend Kevin Harris was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shootout in which three people died.

17:26 08-21-97

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First They Came For The Gerry Spence

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First They Came For The Fascists....
by Gerry Spence


Randy Weaver's wife was dead, shot through the head while she clutched her child to her breast. His son was shot, twice. First they shot the child's arm, probably destroyed the arm. The child cried out. Then, as the child was running they shot him in the back. Randy Weaver himself had been shot and wounded and Kevin Harris, a kid the Weavers had all but adopted was dying of a chest wound. The blood hadn't cooled on Ruby Hill before the national media announced that I had taken the defense of Randy Weaver. Then all hell broke loose. My sister wrote me decrying my defense of this "racist". There were letters to the editors in several papers that expressed their disappointment that I would lend my services to a person with Weaver's beliefs. And I received a letter from my close friend Alan Hirschfield, the former chairman of chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, Imploring me to withdraw.

He Wrote:

"After much thought I decided to write this letter to you. It represents a very profound concern on my part regarding your decision to represent Randy Weaver. While I applaud and fully understand your motives in taking such a case, I nonetheless find this individual defense troubling. It is so because of the respectability and credibility your involvement imparts to a cause which I find despicable.

The Aryan Nation, The Brotherhood, and The Order are all groups dedicated to only one premise--hatred of the unlike by the like. They deny the Holocaust and preach the gospel of ethnic debasement and racist supremacy. They are societal malcontents and misfits who espouse nothing worthwhile. It is the beliefs of these groups that Mr. Weaver represents."

Mr. Hirschfield went on to argue that my involvement would lend dignity to an illicit and repugnant movement.

"This is not Huey Newton and the Black Panthers fighting 200 years of prejudice and second class citizenship, nor even the PLO seeking a homeland by terrorist methods. While I abhor terrorism of any kind I do understand its politics. Not so with the philosophy of the groups Mr. Weaver stands for.

The issues involved are reminiscent of the recent national uproar over the Warner Brothers recording made by a rap singer Ice T which advocates killing cops. Other tracks on the CD were virulently anti-semetic and homophobic. The right of Ice T to publicly record these songs was not the issue. What was troublesome to myself and others was the role of Warner Brothers in disseminating his message in the name of preserving their "creative integrity":. I gave an interview on this subject and suggested that at least in business there was a line to be drawn between unbridled creative freedom and corporate responsibility. In Warner's case they could have chosen not to distribute this record (it still would have found a distributor), instead they trumpeted the creative freedom argument and by lending their world renowned prestige to the issue they imparted to Ice T and his message a legitimacy wholly undeserved, and in doing so made the recording a national hit in contrast to his previous mediocre results. My premise, therefore, is not the right of Weaver or anyone else to the best possible defense but rather the message sent out when the finest trial lawyer in America undertakes that defense, simply to make that point. The message, I believe, will embolden those espousing the cause Weaver represents and encourage other mindless haters to join up. The resultant media attention will provide a platform previously never enjoyed by these people.

I clearly know this is not your intent in defending Mr. Weaver but I believe...there _is_ a time when a person of your extraordinary talent and commitment, and knowing full well the notoriety that comes with your representation, perhaps demurs, rather than allow your prominent and respected persona to add legitimacy and notoriety to a sick and twisted philosophy.

As you know I am not a religious person...but I am keenly conscious of my heritage and the endless persecution Jews throughout the world have suffered.There is in my mind no worse group of people than those involved here who espouse both hatred and violence against Jews, blacks and other minorities without any purpose other than the hatred itself. They don't seek a homeland, they don't propose alternatives and they don't want a solution other than the one Hitler sought. As a result of your involvement these same people will be given a greatly expanded voice at this trial.

It is because of this that I write and ask you to reconsider your decision to involve yourself in this case. I do so out of total respect and personal affection for you. And, of course, whatever your decision you will always have the same respect and the same affection from me.

Your friend,
Alan J Hirschfield

The next morning I delivered the following letter by carrier to Mr Hirschfield

"I cherish your letter. It reminds me once again of our friendship, for only friends can speak and hear each other in matters so deeply a part of the soul. And your letter reminds me as well, as we must all be reminded, of the unspeakable pain every Jew has suffered from the horrors of the Holocaust. No better evidence of our friendship could be shown than your intense caring concerning what I do and what I stand for.

I met Randy Weaver in jail on the evening of his surrender. His eyes had no light in them. He was unshaven and dirty. He was naked except for yellow plastic prison coveralls, and he was cold. His small feet were clad in rubber prison sandals. In the stark setting of the prison conference room he seemed diminutive and fragile. He had spent 11 days and nights in a standoff against the government and he had lost. His wife was dead. His son was dead. His friend was near death. Weaver himself had been wounded. He had lost his freedom. He had lost it all. And now he stood face to face with a stranger who towered over him and whose words were not words of comfort. When I spoke, you, Alan, were on my mind.

"My name is Gerry Spence" I began. "I'm the lawyer you've been told about. Before we begin to talk I want you to understand that I do not share any of your political or religious beliefs. Many of my dearest friends are Jews. My daughter is married to a Jew. My sister is married to a black man. She has adopted a black child. I deplore what the Nazis stand for. If I defend you I will not defend your political beliefs or your religious beliefs, but your right as an American citizen to a fair trial." His quiet answer was, "That is all I ask." Then I motioned him to a red plastic chair and I took a similar one. And as the guards marched by and from time to time peered in, he told his story.

Alan, you are a good and fair man. That I know. Were it otherwise we would not be such friends. Yet it is your pain I hear most clearly--exacerbated, I know, by the fact that your friend should represent your enemy. Yet what drew me to this case was my own pain. Let me tell you the facts.

Randy Weaver's principal crime against the government had been his failure to appear in court on a charge of possessing illegal firearms. The first crime was not his. He had been entrapped--intentionally, systematically, patiently, purposefully entrapped--by a federal agent who solicited him to cut off, contrary to Federal law, the barrels of a couple of shotguns. Randy Weaver never owned an illegal weapon in his life. He was not engaged in the manufacture of illegal weapons. The idea of selling an illegal firearm had never entered his mind until the government agent suggested it and encouraged him to act illegally. The government knew he needed the money. He is as poor as an empty cupboard. He had three daughters, a son and a wife to support. He lived in a small house in the woods without electricity or running water. Although he is a small, frail man, with tiny, delicate hands who probably weighs no more than a hundred and twenty pounds, he made an honest living by chopping firewood and by seasonal work as a logger.

This man is wrong, his beliefs are wrong. His relationship to mankind is wrong. He was perhaps legally wrong when he failed to appear and defend himself in court. But the first wrong was not his. Nor was the first wrong the government's. The first wrong was ours.

In this country we embrace the myth that we are still a democracy when we know that we are not a democracy, that we are not free, that the government does not serve us but subjugates us. Although we give lip service to the notion of freedom, we know the government is no longer the servant of the people but, at last has become the people's master. We have stood by like timid sheep while the wolf killed, first the weak, then the strays, then those on the outer edges of the flock, until at last the entire flock belonged to the wolf. We did not care about the weak or about the strays. they were not a part of the flock. We did not care about those on the outer edges. They had chosen to be there. But as the wolf worked its way towards the center of the flock we discovered that we were now on the outer edges. Now we must look the wolf squarely in the eye. That we did not do so when the first of us was ripped and torn and eaten was the first wrong. It was our wrong.

That none of us felt responsible for having lost our freedom has been a part of an insidious progression. In the beginning the attention of the flock was directed not to the marauding wolf but to our own deviant members within the flock. We rejoiced as the wolf destroyed them for they were our enemies. We were told that the weak lay under the rocks while we faced the blizzards to rustle our food, and we did not care when the wolf took them. We argued that they deserved it. When one of our flock faced the wolf alone it was always eaten. Each of us was afraid of the wolf, but as a flock we were not afraid. Indeed the wolf cleansed the herd by destroying the weak and dismembering the aberrant element within. As time went by, strangely, the herd felt more secure under the rule of the wolf. It believed that by belonging to this wolf it would remain safe from all the other wolves. But we were eaten just the same.

No one knows better than children of the Holocaust how the lessons of history must never be forgotten. Yet Americans, whose battle cry was once, "Give me liberty or give me death", have sat placidly by as a new king was crowned. In America a new king was crowned by the shrug of our shoulders when our neighbors were wrongfully seized. A new king was crowned when we capitulated to a regime that is no longer sensitive to people, but to non people--to corporations, to money and to power. The new king was crowned when we turned our heads as the new king was crowned as we turned our heads as the poor and the forgotten and the damned were rendered mute and defenseless, not because they were evil but because, in the scheme of our lives, they seemed unimportant, not because they were essentially dangerous but because they were essentially powerless. The new king was crowned when we cheered the government on as it prosecuted the progeny of our ghettos and filled our prisons with black men whose first crime was that they were born in the ghettos. We cheered the new king on as it diluted our right to be secure in our homes against unlawful searches and to be secure in the courts against unlawful evidence. We cheered the new king on because we were told that our sacred rights were but "loopholes" but which our enemies: the murderers and rapists and thieves and drug dealers, escaped. We were told that those who fought for our rights, the lawyers, were worse than the thieves who stole from us in the night, that our juries were irresponsible and ignorant and ought not to be trusted. We watched with barely more than a mumble as the legal system that once protected us became populated with judges who were appointed by the new king. At last the new king was crowned when we forgot the lessons of history, that:when the rights of our enemies have been wrested from them, we have lost our own rights as well, for the same rights serve both citizen and criminal.

When Randy Weaver failed to appear in court because he had lost his trust in the government we witnessed the fruit of our crime. The government indeed had no intent to protect his rights. The government had but one purpose, as it remains today, the disengagement of this citizen from society. Those who suffered and died in the Holocaust must have exquisitely understood such illicit motivations of power.

I have said that I was attracted to the case out of my own pain. Let me tell you the facts: a crack team of trained government marksmen sneaked on to Randy Weaver's small isolated acreage on a reconnaissance mission preparatory to a contemplated arrest. They wore camouflage suits and were heavily armed. They gave Randy no warning of their coming. They came without a warrant. They never identified themselves.

The Weavers owned 3 dogs, 2 small crossbred collie mutts and a yellow lab, a big pup a little over a year old whose most potent weapon was his tail with which he could beat a full grown man to death. The dog, Striker, was a close member of the Weaver family. Not only was he the companion of the children, but in winter he pulled the family sled to haul their water supply from the spring below. When the dogs discovered the intruders they raised a ruckus, and Randy his friend Kevin, and Randy's 14 year old son Sam, grabbed their guns and followed the dogs to investigate.

When the government agents were confronted with the barking dog, they did what men who have been taught to kill do. They shot Striker. The boy, barely larger than a 10 year old child, heard the dog's yelp, saw the dog fall dead. and as a 14 year old might, he returned the fire. Then the government agents shot the child in the arm. He turned and ran. the arm flopping, and when he did, the officers, still unidentified as such, shot the child in the back and killed him.

Kevin Harris witnessed the shooting of the dog. Then he saw Sam being shot as the boy turned and ran. To Kevin there was no alternative. He knew if he ran these intruders, whoever they were, would kill him as well. In defense of himself he raised his rifle and shot in the direction of the officer who had shot and killed the boy. Then while the agents were in disarray, Kevin retreated to the Weaver cabin.

In the meantime Randy Weaver had been off in another direction and had only heard the shooting, the dog's yelp and the gunfire that followed. Randy hollered for his son and shot his shotgun into the air to attract the boy.

"Come on home Sam, Come home."

Over and over he called.

Finally he heard the boy call back "I'm comin' Dad". Those were the last words he ever heard from his son.

Later that same day, Randy, Kevin, and Vicki Weaver, Randy's wife went down to where the boy lay and carried his body back to an outbuilding near the cabin. There they removed the child's clothing and bathed his wounds and prepared the body. The next evening Weaver's oldest daughter, Sarah, sixteen, Kevin, and Randy went back to the shed to have a last look at Sam. When they did, government snipers opened fire. Randy was hit in the shoulder. The three turned and ran for the house where Vicki, with her 10 month old baby in her arms stood holding the door open. As the 3 entered the house Vicki was shot and slowly fell to her knees, her head resting on the floor like one kneeling in prayer. Randy ran up and took the baby that she clutched, and then he lifted his wife's head. Half her face was blown away.

Kevin was also hit. Huge areas of muscle in his arm were blown out, and his lung was punctured in several places. Randy and his 16 year old daughter stretched the dead mother on the floor of the cabin and covered he with a blanket where she remained for over 8 days as the siege progressed.

By this time there were officers by the score, troops, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, radios, televisions, robots, and untold armaments surrounding the little house. I will not burden you with the misery and horror the family suffered in this stand-off. I will tell you that finally Bo Gritz, Randy's former commander in the special forces, came to help in the negotiations. Gritz told Randy that if he would surrender, Gritz would guarantee him a fair trial, and before the negotiations were ended, Randy came to the belief that I would represent him. Although Gritz had contacted me before I had spoke to Randy, I had only agreed to talk to Randy. But the accuracy of what was said between Gritz and me and what was hard by Randy somehow got lost in the horror, and Randy's belief that I would represent him if he surrendered was in part, his motivation for finally submitting to arrest.

And so my friend Alan, you can now understand the pain I feel in this case. It is pain that comes from the realization that we have permitted a government to act in our name and in our behalf in a criminal fashion. It is the pain of watching the government as it now attempts to lie about its criminal complicity in this affair and to cover its crimes by charging Randy with crimes he did not commit, including murder. It is the pain of seeing an innocent woman with a child in her arms murdered and innocent children subjected to these atrocities. Indeed, as a human being I feel Randy's irrepressible pain and horror and grief.

I also feel your pain, my friend. Yet I know that in the end, if you were the judge at the trial of Adolph Eichmann, you would have insisted that he not have ordinary council, but the best council. In the same way, if you were the judge in Randy's case, and you had a choice, I have no doubt that despite your own pain you might well have appointed me to defend him. In the end you must know that the Holocaust must never stand for part justice,or average justice but for the most noble of ideals--that even the enemies of the Jews themselves must receive the best justice the system can provide. If it were otherwise the meaning of the Holocaust would be accordingly besmirched.

Alan, I agree with your arguments. They are proper and they are true. I agree that my defense of Randy Weaver may attach a legitimacy and dignity to his politics and religion. But it may, as well, stand for the proposition that there are those who don't condone this kind of criminal action by our government. I view the defense of Randy Waver's case as an opportunity to address a more vital issue, one that transcends a white separatist movement or notions of the supremacy of one race over another, for the ultimate enemy of any people is not the angry hate groups that fester within, but a government itself that has lost its respect for the individual. The ultimate enemy of democracy is not the drug dealer or the crooked politician or the crazed skinhead. The ultimate enemy is the new king that has become so powerful it can murder its own citizens with impunity. To the same extent that Randy Weaver cannot find justice in this country, we too will be deprived of justice. At last, my defense of Randy Weaver is a defense of every Jew and every Gentile, for every black and every gay who loves freedom and deplores tyranny.

Although I understand that it will be easy for my defense of Randy Weaver to be confused with an endorsement of the politics of the Aryan Nation, my challenge will be to demonstrate that we can still be a nation where the rights of the individual, despite his race, color, religion, remain supreme. If this be not so, then we are all lost. If this is not so, it is because we have forgotten the lessons of our histories--the history of the American Revolution as well as the history of the Holocaust.

And so my friend Alan, If I were to withdraw from the defense of Randy Weaver as you request, I would be required to abandon my belief that this system has any remaining virtue. I would be more at fault than the federal government that has murdered these people, for I have not been trained to murder but to defend. I would be less of a man than my client who had the courage of his convictions. I would lose all respect for myself. I would be unable to any longer be your friend, for friendship must always have its foundation in respect. Therefore as my friend, I ask that you not require this of me. I ask instead for your prayers, your understanding and your continued love.

As ever,

Gerry Spence
Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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