Lon Horiuchi is a murderer
June 5, 2001 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Lon Horiuchi is a murderer (or at least a potential manslaughterer), says 9th circuit appeals court. His immunity from prosecution for killing Vicki Weaver while acting as a sniper for the FBI has been denied.
posted by OneBallJay (14 comments total)
Whenever it is suggested that we have nothing to fear from a tyrannical government, I think of the Ruby Ridge story. I'm not sure how it can possibly be in America's best interest to have an agency that is not answerable to the public when it kills unarmed women holding their babies. For me, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
posted by OneBallJay at 3:49 PM on June 5, 2001

My goodness, did you even read the decision? The 9th Circuit said no such thing. Without getting into a debate on whether the agent acted appropriately, let me just point out that the panel merely remanded the case to let the trial court sort out the reasonableness of Horiuchi's actions. And before you go all "HE WASN'T REASONABLE, HE'S A KILLER!!!" on me, keep in mind that it would behoove you to understand (or at least try to understand) what is actually happening in this case.

The appeals court said that there are "factual issues [that] must be resolved by the district court prior to trial." If the district court (note: not a jury) resolves these factual issues and finds that Horiuchi acted reasonably, he will not stand trial.

Now, feel free to offer your own opinion on whether he did act reasonably, although somehow, accountingboy, I think I know what you're going to say.
posted by lawtalkinguy at 4:06 PM on June 5, 2001

Sorry I didn't make myself clearer, but I'm not saying that I'm sure he guilty, or that he acted unreasonably, and I'm definitely not saying that I think the Weaver family should be eligible for sainthood. I am saying that the court decided that he potentially committed the crime of manslaughter and can be accountable for it. Prior to this, he was immune from prosecution under state law simply because he was a federal agent, and that does not seem right to me.

Also keep in mind that it would behoove you to read more than the first five words (which was hyperbole, by the way) of a post -- I clearly said "a ... potential manslaughterer," which is exactly what the court said today: A federal appeals court ruled ... that the FBI sharpshooter who killed the wife of ... Randy Weaver ... can be prosecuted for manslaughter. Just because I feel that the government acted improperly in this case, and that if Mr. Horiuchi had been ordered to shoot Mrs. Weaver he should have disregarded the order, I certainly don't feel the Weaver family was acting angelic. They were wrong and they broke the law. It was a bad situation, but I think the FBI made it worse.

I posted this not to rehash the debate over Ruby Ridge, gun control, or racism, but to see how people feel about the responsibility of federal agents to follow the law of the land. Since the FBI clearly hasn't been forthright with the public or the court system in recent memory, it seems that giving people immunity from prosecution for their actions while working for that agency is a 'bad thing,' and it's a 'good thing' the court is recognizing this.

And just for kicks, I think I'll go HE WASN'T REASONABLE, HE'S A KILLER!!! on you.
posted by OneBallJay at 4:34 PM on June 5, 2001

Please ignore the first set of ellipses in the second paragraph above, I was just going ellipsis happy. There are no words missing from there.
posted by OneBallJay at 4:44 PM on June 5, 2001

He should be held responsible for his actions. How else can
we hope to prevent similar tragedies?
posted by keithl at 4:47 PM on June 5, 2001

Don't shoot at Federal officers and don't be a White separatist in a 14 day stand-off with the Government, that's how we prevent it in the future.

And this article does not say, "Lon Horiuchi is a murderer" it merely says he can stand trial. This is accountingboy's soapbox post anyway-- so goes another day of MeFi...
posted by perplexed at 5:13 PM on June 5, 2001

accountingboy is guilty of slander (or maybe the bolded text just makes it look that way).
posted by sad_otter at 5:31 PM on June 5, 2001

" Don't shoot at Federal officers and don't be a White separatist in a 14 day stand-off with the Government, that's how we prevent it in the future."

Yes, by all means. When you are framed by the BATF into cutting down a shotgun, make sure you cooperate fully. We promise they will treat you fairly.

What an idiotic statement. While it can easily be said that no good comes of an armed standoff with the feds, this case is a textbook example of a government that is out of control. A man, entrapped into violating a law, is attacked by armed police at his home wherein they kill his son. Then, refusing to give up because he believed they would kill him - an understandable assumption, considering his last run in - he holes up. While doing so, an FBI sniper shoots his unarmed, pregnant wife while she is standing on the porch holding a baby.

You consider that justifiable? Disgusting. And if you *don't* consider it justifiable... well, let's say your post didn't give that impression.

And, please note that your attempt to devalue their lives ("Don't be a white seperatist") hasn't been missed. We get the message; it's ok to kill those who hold values you don't agree with. I'm certainly glad *you* aren't in charge of any armed troops.

Predicted next move: accusing me of being a racist, or some other attempt to smear me.

I think that, perhaps, you've missed the bigger picture; if you are an officer and you commit an atrocity - which has not been proved in a court of law yet, I admit - then you can be held accountable. The Nuremburg defense - "I was just following orders" - is no defense. Even if Horiuchi gets away with it this ruling is a good thing.
posted by hadashi at 7:08 PM on June 5, 2001

Re-reading my own post.
Must cut down on caffiene... Must cut down...
I meant everything I said. I just wish I had said it more - um, calmly.
posted by hadashi at 8:10 PM on June 5, 2001

I apologize sad_otter, I sometimes confuse killing unarmed women with a high-powered rifle from hundreds of yards away while she poses no immediate threat to anyone murder.

Orders or not, that is murder. He had no obligation to carry out that order, since the assassination (at that time, but not anymore) was illegal. He may be charged with only manslaughter, but that woman was murdered and he was the one who did it. This ruling just affirms that he can stand trial for his actions.

This may be a soapbox I'm standing on, perplexed, but the wonderful thing about MeFi is that if you think I'm wrong, you can stand on the same box and tell us all about it. If you have something to add to the discussion other than flippant dismissals, please do.
posted by OneBallJay at 8:35 PM on June 5, 2001

I remember reading an article on the sniper (I think it was Time mag.) back when the incident happened which said that Lon Horiuchi is a very patriotic and religious person (Catholic, I think) who was hesitant to become a sniper for the Feds. because he thought he might have to *protect* abortion clinics someday, which would be against his religious beliefs.

I guess this is ironic because he has now become a target in the eyes of the religious/right-wingers of whom he is probably a part of. I'm guessing the court will have to balance the gravity of the act (the death of mother and daughter) with the importance of Randy Weaver's arrest for the felony gun possession or whatever they were arresting him for.

Also, I strongly believe that this prosecution is politically motivated, being that Idaho is a very conservative state, the locals probably very weary of the Feds. trying to arrest Randy Weaver on gun charges, and the local DA probably wanting a shot at a higher office, and this seems to be his ticket. Otherwise, it is very rare that a local prosecutor will go after a federal agent for manslaughter charge under these circumstances.
posted by Rastafari at 9:39 PM on June 5, 2001

accounting boy said, "This may be a soapbox I'm standing on, perplexed, but the wonderful thing about MeFi is that if you think I'm wrong, you can stand on the same box and tell us all about it."

No, that's exactly what's wrong with it, if you would read the guidlines before you posted:

"And lastly, don't troll (quick definition: posting purposely inflammatory things for the sole purpose of baiting others to argue the points until blue in the face - basically people do this for kicks, to destroy conversations and communites, for the hell of it)."

You deserve nothing more than a flippant dismissal from me.
posted by perplexed at 11:06 PM on June 5, 2001

...and randy weaver asks, "do you wanna buy a gun" or 'things said on tape to a federal officer'
posted by clavdivs at 11:45 AM on June 6, 2001

I found the link interesting, and worthy of discussion. I also think Lon Horiuchi is a murderer regardless of what a judge or jury thinks. Usually people come down on me for saying that I think my DVD player is worth more than the life of someone who would try and take it from me so I find it odd that an arbitrary barrel length on a gun is worth destroying a family over. Wasn't it one quarter of inch too short? They should have firebombed the place for that.

Government get around to killing those kids in Sandpoint yet? Tomorrow?
posted by thirteen at 12:04 PM on June 6, 2001

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