AS this is written, calm still prevails at the Clark ranch in Montana. The FBI and local authorities have sealed off about two dozen followers of the "Freemen," a group that rejects all government authority, after arresting two of their leaders March 25. A third turned himself in last Saturday. Group members are charged with issuing fake checks, threatening the life of a federal judge, and stealing television equipment.
Happily, the FBI seems to have taken to heart the lessons of Waco and Ruby Ridge, where many lives were needlessly lost, both among federal law-enforcement officials and the besieged. The Freemen were arrested off the ranch. No commando raids. No SWAT teams. No combat uniforms.
The illegal activities of groups such as the Freemen cannot be tolerated. The FBI should stay this course and do all it can to get the job done without the bloodshed that would only create more martyrs.