Yes, Virginia — Even Our Government Commits Atrocities

At the end of World War II, General Eisenhower ordered subordinate commanders to parade German civilians through concentration camps near their homes to view the horrors therein. He and most people outside of Germany could not believe that the average German was unaware of what had been going on in these death camps. Today, the disbelief of the German people is understandable in view of many Americans' reaction to the incidents in Idaho last August and in Waco this year.

Since no one involved in the Waco siege has been brought to trial, information concerning this incident is limited to news reports. Yet, evidence is mounting to indicate the government's role was unjustified and even criminal. (See story pg. 8)

But on July 8 an Idaho jury acquitted Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris of all charges associated with the death of Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan. The government and the major media had painted both men as violent white supremacists. During the trial, however, so much evidence contradicted the government's version of the standoff at Ruby Ridge that the attorneys for Weaver and Harris presented no defense. The jury based their verdict solely on the testimony of prosecution witnesses and their cross examination by defense attorneys.

Witnesses testified that the normal rules of engagement had been changed to allow government agents to fire first upon the Weaver family rather than in response to a threat to themselves, that Marshal Degan was probably killed by friendly fire, that agents had been ordered to kill all adults regardless of whether they posed a danger to government personnel, and that government agents provoked the shootout.

Randy Weaver's crime was selling two shotguns, which were a quarter of an inch too short, to undercover agents. The jury found he had been entrapped into selling them.

The BATF suspected David Koresh of possessing a machine gun for which he had not paid the $200.00 tax.

Even if true, both are minor offenses. Yet, the government and much of the media treated Weaver and Koresh as public enemies.

The mystery is why? Neither the Weavers nor the Branch Davidians were a danger to anyone despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary. Could it be that these individuals and their followers represent a class of people who choose to exercise rights considered politically incorrect by a majority of Americans? Both the Weavers and the Branch Davidians separated themselves from the government regulated economy and controlled society, and attempted to become as self-sufficient and self-governing.

The problem arises when government becomes offensive in nature rather than defensive, when it regulates personal conduct rather than protects citizens from force and fraud. In doing so, it, of necessity, approves one way of doing things. Freedom, on the other hand, entails choice. The two cannot coexist. Were the Weavers and the Branch Davidians, then, a threat because of the example they set for those burdened by a government which now rules rather than governs? Was that their crime?

Despite mounting evidence contradicting the government's version of the attack and siege of both of these groups, most Americans, like their German counterparts during the Nazi era, refuse to believe that their government commits atrocities. Unlike our German counterparts a half century ago, we cannot claim ignorance.

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