So it's been 20 years now since the federal government laid seige to the Weaver family home in rural northern Idaho, and I still find myself wondering if the government ever actually learned anything besides how to kill more without leaving witnesses, as we observed with the "we had to kill the kids to save 'em from possible abuse" approach in Waco.
A brief history of the seige. Randy Weaver, a white separatist Christian, had moved his family to northern Idaho, and for a brief time had attended the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, a.k.a. the Aryan Nations Church led by Richard Butler. Weaver wasn't really that impressed with Butler or the white supremacy message, and began to seek another church for his family. Federal agents who were trying desperately to gain access to the Aryan Nations Church eyed Weaver and approached him to try to coax him into turning informant. Weaver wanted nothing to do with that, and so the federales used an informant to set Weaver up by getting Weaver to saw off a shothun for him. Weaver repeatedly refused to do so until finally he caved in and sawed it off, to what he later swore in open court was 1/4 of an inch longer than the legal length of the barrel. The informant took the shotgun to his place, shortened the barrel even further, then turned the gun over to the federales. A warrant was issued with an erroneous date, and Weaver had intended to show up on court on the date specified on the warrant. When it was discovered that the date was wrong and another warrant had been issued for failure to appear, Weaver devided that he was being set up and chose to remain at his home instead.
That decision led to the US Marshalls sending in a 2 man recon team to observe the Weaver home. On one of the days that they were observing the home, Randy's son Sammy and their live-in roommate Kevin Harris were out hunting on their property with the family dog when the dog caught the scent of the marshalls. In a panic, one of the marshalls, William Degan, shot the dog right in front of 14 year old Sammy Weaver, while never identifying himself as a lawman. Sammy returned fire, wounding Degan, and was himself shot in the exchange of gunfire, and both Sammy and Degan died from their wounds.
This was the start of a standoff that would last more than a week, and find a sniper's bullet taking the life of Weavers' wife Vicky, seriously wounding Harris, and Weaver himself being wounded. It was also the spotlight moment for Bo Gritz, who ended up talking Weaver into surrendering, and it would shine a light on the ATF's rules of engagement.
So have the federales learned anything from Ruby Ridge? I would contend that they have not. If anything, they have further eroded the rights guaranteed under the Constitution by allowing for warrantless searches and indefinite detainment of suspects without bringing charges in open court. We see criminals who "may" yet be threats to society being detained indefinitely beyond their determined sentences.
The bottom line is that from my perspective, the federal government views Ruby Ridge as "practice" as they herd the populace toward the work camps of the future.