Ruby Ridge survivor shares her story |
Title (Max 100 Characters)
It happened so long ago, it feels - for some - like ancient history. 20 years ago, federal agents descended on a home near Naples, Idaho. For the world, it was a show of force - a battle between the government and a family that did not trust it. But, for Sara Weaver, that old cabin on Ruby Ridge was home.
I've known about Ruby Ridge for years, but didn't really know much about what happened until I moved to the Inland Northwest. I picked up a copy of Jess Walters' book about the incident - and, knew instantly there was a story to be done. Now that I knew what happened then, I wanted to know what happened next. I googled Sara Weaver - and, found the story.
Sara lives Marion, Montana on a beautiful farm with her husband Marc and her son. The first thing we noticed when we drove up was the American flag hanging out front. The Weaver family has long been associated with anti-govermnment groups; clearly, that impression is wrong. Her home is beautiful and welcoming - and, she made brownies. But, as soon as you sit down and start talking with Sara about what happened to her family and what has happened since, you can see - 20 years means nothing when you're talking about losing your family.
"Its been 20 years, but it feels like yesterday," Weaver said. "It was very hard. I felt very hopeless. scared. Lost. The most important thing to me had been ripped away."
I interviewed Sara for about an hour and we covered everything from what happened the day of the raid to what the rest of the family is up to now. It ranged from being uplifting when talking about her faith, to heart-wrenching when she talked about her family. Most of all, I was struck by her honesty. Sara has been through hell and back - and, has the courage now to see it from the other side. Sara forgives the men who shot her family, but meets people all the time who say they can't forgive what happened at Ruby Ridge. Sara knows forgiveness is a choice and it can set you free.
"When I hear stories of other people who say - hey, you had the courage to share this, I now can face my own stuff. You had the courage to forgive - now I can forgive... that helps me," Weaver explained. "That tells me everything I went through was not for nothing."
I looked through a lot of old kxly file tapes for this story; I saw the anger and frustration of the protesters playing out in real time. The people who came to protest at the Ruby Creek Bridge didn't know the full story of what was happening up on that mountain. Looking back, they had every right to be angry. Even the FBI agents who were there that day have come out and said the federal government overreacted in the Weaver case. The government settled with the Weavers - and, Sara and her sisters bought back the property where that old cabin has since collapsed. The world has moved on from Ruby Ridge - but, Sara cannot forget her mom and Sam.
"They're a part of who I am. My son is getting to the age of where Sam was - it's kind of surreal sometimes. It's like I have my little sidekick back. I thank God for that - it's almost like he restored something I lost."
If you want to read more about Sara's story, you can visit her website. You can also read her book, scheduled to be released in late summer. And, of course, you can watch our story Thursday night and hear from Sara herself. You'll hear how her faith has saved her - and how she's finally telling her story about life after Ruby Ridge.
"I'm very grateful that we have the opportunity to start turning this around and maybe when you google Sara Weaver, you'll see it tied to forgiveness and you see God getting the glory for a life saved."