From the June 2009 Idaho Observer:

Patriot’s victory: A lesson to remember

By Ron Cole

We were terrified I’m not now ashamed to admit. Crouched low near the floor of our 100-year-old cabin, high in the remote Colorado Rocky Mountains, we jumped at every shadow cast by the dim interior lamp. Our windows were blacked-out. We had guns in our hands. While countless people around the world followed reports of our situation on CNN or the BBC, we were cut off, effectively under siege, by federal government authorities. Very alone but determined to defend ourselves, we waited for the attack to commence.

No crime had been committed, but we were nevertheless in the position of outlaws—rebels or insurrectionists—poised to resist lawful authorities. We were rabbits in a hole being hunted; it didn’t matter that the wolves carried credentials; not when the pack had drawn our blood before.We were the last remnant of a persecuted people—the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas. Our community had been attacked just 12 months before by government agents (February 28, 1993) and then all but exterminated while the world watched us burn on international television. Eighty-two men, women and children were killed.

In the mountains near Gunnison, Colorado, that May of 1994, it seemed that we’d fall victim to atrocity a second time. Many Americans, however, were determined to stop that from happening and, when our new plight became known, their response was decisive.

Attorney General Janet Reno later referred to our experience in her testimony before Congress as, "almost another Waco," but without any explanation of how violence had been thwarted or by whom. Randy Trochman, leader of one of the largest Constitutionalist organizations in America, gave a hint when he told The Boulder Weekly, "Colorado would have experienced a population increase if Ron Cole hadn’t called us off, because patriots from all over the country were going to go to Gunnison, Colorado and take care of it." But the national media, preoccupied with the arrest of O.J. Simpson, failed to present a clear picture of events.

We almost died - but didn’t. That was hardly the whole story.

What grew into the crisis in Gunnison didn’t have a tangible beginning. We’d been subjected to overt surveillance and harassment ever since the deaths in Waco. Our move from Texas to Colorado was, in part, an attempt to get away from the constant tension of that environment and begin a new life.

In spite of that desire for peace, we’d all been very outspoken about the crimes committed by federal authorities in 1993. I’d written a book about them (Sinister Twilight), and co-produced the video documentary, "Day-51, The True Story of Waco." We’d drawn a lot of attention to ourselves (and angered powerful people) as a consequence of that audacity, but still hoped that we could avoid the violent demise of our brethren if we conducted ourselves within lawful means.

Following our move to Colorado, however, we were victimized by a campaign of psychological warfare that far exceeded our experiences since the Waco atrocity. We were not only followed to and from town, but chased, at one point in excess of 100-miles-per-hour on dirt roads. Agents from the FBI subjected our neighbors to questioning that was clearly tailored to frighten them—and us. A ranch near ours was turned into some kind of command post.

After about three weeks of these tactics I received a very credible warning—a virtual mirror-image of the warning given our community just prior to the Feb. 28, 1993 Waco attack—that our home was going to be raided by the FBI.

The wolves, it seemed, were at the door.

In an attempt to de-escalate the crisis, I called our county sheriff, Richard Murdey. I explained our situation and invited him out to our ranch to search it for any evidence of illegal activity. The overture was refused, and the sheriff was evasive in response to my questions about the FBI’s plans. I was not at all reassured.

Still, we had nothing to hide: The FBI could transport our entire ranch to their forensics lab in Quantico, VA and never find a hair against us. But observance of the law did not promise anything anymore. If the government’s behavior in Waco was any indicator, our names might be cleared before our ashes were released to our next of kin—but probably not. We’d tried moving; we were followed. We’d tried appealing to the law; we were ignored. I saw only one option left. I winced, held my breath and sounded the alarm.

By that evening I’d called every phone number in my Rolodex - from the ACLU to militia leaders, from former Attorney General Ramsey Clark to rapper Ice-T. The most dramatic response came from American patriots, many of whom pledged to come to Gunnison as a collective show of force against any illegal action of the government. Conservative talk radio exploded with a national call to arms and the mainstream media began to take notice.

The initiative—and any element of surprise—had certainly been seized from the FBI. I couldn’t help but feel that if America had reacted similarly in 1993, many innocent people would have been saved.

One question remained: "What would the FBI do now?" My concern was that any plan of attack would be initiated before our home could be reinforced; before the media physically arrived. As a result, our ranch did take on the character of a fortress under siege and we endured a very long and stressful night during which nobody dared to sleep.

Dawn brought a new day—in more ways than one. The sheriff called me in a state of near-panic; he’d been flooded with calls and FAXs from people all over the country who were demanding that he protect us from the FBI. The Associated Press was reporting Sheriff Murdey’s promise to do so, as well as a statement from FBI Director Louis Freeh to the effect that we would not be attacked. In response I issued a press release announcing the resolution of the crisis.

The results were immediate, both in Gunnison and in Waco: all obvious surveillance and harassment evaporated. New troubles were as quick to surface, however. We entered a new era of conflict: A public relations drama due to our expressed intentions to defend ourselves against an FBI attack. The development sparked spirited debate among the Waco survivors regarding the wisdom of speaking out against the government and the practicality of ever living together again as a group. From our point of view we’d won a battle—at great cost.

The Gunnison crisis was, nevertheless, a pivotal moment from which many enduring lessons were drawn. I sadly realized that adherence to the law and genuine efforts to live a peaceful life meant very little to a government juggernaut armed with a political agenda—a rather poignant fact in light of my current address.

Our experience did reveal what can be accomplished when the American people—embodied in a grassroots movement or as a confederacy of individuals—take a stand together in the interests of liberty and against lawless government.

In that respect Gunnison was a great victory, especially for American patriots. Remember it.

Ron Cole



PO Box 10

Lisbon, Ohio 44432

Note: Ron Cole was convicted of trumped up federal nonsense and sent to prison for a couple of years for, essentially, at one time being an outspoken Branch Davidian. His scheduled release date is Oct. 24, 2009.