Lessons learned from the Ruby Ridge standoff - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Lessons learned from the Ruby Ridge standoff

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

"A federal law enforcement official called it Weaver Fever.  That's what they try to avoid - this thing where something gets so blown out of proportion that people die because you're dealing with people who won't back down," Jess Walter said.

Protesters, supporters, and media from across the nation waited at the road block as information would trickle out day-by-day.

Walter, a former Spokesman Review reporter, says much of the violence could have been avoided.

"It's such a tragedy. You can look at these steps, Randy Weaver could have gone to court, the marshal service could have dealt with it differently," he said, "the FBI shouldn't have had those rules of engagement; you can look at those steps and see what went wrong."

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says the same extremist violence still exists.

"Case after case where we have put Neo Nazi leaning individuals in prison, one of those individuals wanted to take out three square blocks of downtown Spokane," he said.

Sheriff Knezovich is referring to Kevin Harpham who planted a bomb during the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade several years back.

"We've just been very successful in preventing the bad things they want to do," the sheriff said.

During the roundtable discussion, former Spokesman Review reporter Bill Morlin says Ruby Ridge was one of the events that led up to the Oklahoma City bombing.

"Essentially out of Ruby Ridge the modern militia movement was formed. It's two words 'Ruby Ridge'," he said.

"That was the early phases of it and now you have more and more extremism, I don't care if it's on the left or the right," Sheriff Knezovich said.

The sheriff says there needs to be more discussion from both sides, as wells as residents standing up and refusing the neo-Nazi movement.

"Quite frankly I think it's time for the everyday, mom and pop types, just say enough, we're done with you and make that very, very clear to both sides of the extremes," he said.

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