Stand For the Truth: Perspectives on Waco

What we had here was an eye-opener. It was a judgement to show people just what these bastards could do. In broad daylight, televised all over the world. And then they come around later and lie about what they did. And say ‘They killed themselves. They burnt themselves up.’ No I knew these people they would not do that. It’s against their religious belief. They would never do that.

-Charles Pace, Branch Davadian

The “judgement” Pace referenced happened in 1993 outside Waco, Texas.

Recently Facebook friend Devin Griffith mentioned that he was writing a paper about the Waco Siege. I was only 13 when the incident happened but I recall the television coverage. I remember being struck most by the high costs incurred to maintain the number of men and equipment outside the “compound.”

Why didn’t the Davadians just come out? What chance did they have?

It was only after becoming more familiar with the situation and that I began to see things more clearly.

I read and re-read No More Wacos: What’s Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It. (This was when I was in school for law enforcement and thought things could be “fixed.”) I watched Waco: The Rules of Engagement a powerful documentary (free in its entirety here) and shared it with friends. When I hit the road with Motorhome Diaries in 2009 Waco was of two places I wanted to visit for sure (the other was Ruby Ridge).

On Griffith’s post I linked to the MHD video and asked him if, once finished, I could repost his paper to remind people of the incident and hopefully encourage them to think about how it went down. He was cool and agreed.

Supported by a four-page bibliography, his paper, Perspectives on the Waco Tragedy: Justifications and Criticisms of Government Action, is thorough. But it takes a more neutral tone than I could today muster. For example, Griffith wrote:

Although it seems clear that the Branch Davidians at Waco were certainly far removed from social norms and deserved a watchful eye, not so clear is whether or not government’s use of force in this situation was justified

To me there is no question on whether the force used was justified. It was not. But I recognize and appreciate that unlike most, Griffith posed questions. He did not parrot the “official” line and at times, put it bluntly:

However, this issue is not nearly as clear the Treasury’s report would suggest.

I encourage you to look into the incident without any preconceived notions.

Ask yourself, if you and a hundred of your friends acted as did those who wore badges (80 dead, property destroyed, evidence disappeared, investigations whitewashed) would you be in the wrong? If you said “Yes”, do you believe a piece of metal can suddenly make those actions right?

In the MHD video on Waco, Davadian Charles Pace stated, “It doesn’t matter where we go, we’re out-numbered, out-powered. . . But not if we all stand-up together for the truth.”

He’s right. Let’s be truthful about policing today. Granting extra rights – arbitrary authority – allows for incidents like Waco (and worse). The most totalitarian regimes exist only on the authority granted. Like Griffith, I’m sure many of you recognize that what happened at Waco wasn’t ideal, so how do we mitigate another such tragedy?

I’m sure most of us agree on the goals – a peaceful, prosperous society. The question is how do we best get there? Some believe they have the exclusive right to “provide” certain goods and services, such as security. I don’t think that makes sense. And I was hoping we could have a discussion with that in mind when viewing the content below.

Positive changes come through the recognition and application of truth.

  1. Read Griffith’s paper.
  2. Watch the MHD video. Still thinking?
  3. Watch this 5-min video by FSU Econ Chair Bruce Benson on the harms caused by the current monopoly on the provision of security.
  4. Watch this 5-min video by Austin-superactivist John Bush on better alternatives. often highlights principled activism (though I know some of y’all would describe it otherwise). Yes, some of the actions are admittedly trivial, but if we fail to stand up today for what’s right; if we fail to cease legitimizing a system of double-standards, it’ll only become more difficult tomorrow and for the next generation. Not just in Waco but here in Keene as well.

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  1. Thanks for posting this Pete!

    Its important to remember exactly what these people are capable of and remember that no matter the hearings and the pretty words spoken in DC, the people who murdered children by burning them alive walk the streets of America as free citizens.

    Charles Manson never gave the order to burn children alive.

    Janet Reno DID give the order to burn children alive.


  2. the gubmint (FBI) also shot at people who were running out, and then after that they charged the survivors with assult on gubmint officials or something like that. and gave the survivors like ten year prison sentences The FBI probably would do the same to my anarhcist village if it ever gets built. Theyll come and try to destroy it

  3. Until they opened fire on them, the Branch Davidians were very easy to find. They traveled into town often and arresting them (if uncle sham had any real evidence of someone actually being harmed by their actions) would have been easy.

    President Clinton: Who can we openly murder on t.v. and get away with it, because we're the government and people will believe our side of events?

    Janet Reno: Let's find out just who, it's not like I actually have a conscience or anything.

  4. Oh, it wasn't random.

    See, the Branch Davidians were stockpiling parts to make AR-15's. Seems they had some sort of insane idea that Clinton would try to create an "assault weapons ban," and that they could get rich by building a stockpile pre-ban rifles.

    All perfectly legal, but embarrassing for the administration. So they invented a story about them building machineguns (not the semi-auto rifles they were actually building), and got a judge to sign a warrant based solely upon the fabricated story they presented.

  5. First off, my actual viewpoint on the issue isn't that neutral. However, my goal was to simply present as much pure information as possible along with some balanced viewpoints so that people could make up their own minds. Its pretty difficult to find unbiased information on this issue, and I'm usually suspicious of a source even if it supports my own viewpoint.

    Also, for anyone going into more depth, all of my references to "Stuart" were actually references to Stuart Wright. I meant to use his last name, not his first, but mistakes happen in the wee hours of the morning. Wright is probably my favorite author on this issue and goes into a lot of depth on various aspects of Waco in different writings of his.

    Thanks again to Pete for helping me get involved.

  6. Branch Davidians are an awry sect of the Christian Protestant and Sabbath-keeping international major denomination, Seventh Day Adventists. My mom and I converted to SDA members when I was 10 years old, but I've been non-practicing on and off for several years. During the Waco compound siege I was 19 and living in the Mid-South (U.S.) Our local pastor at that time wrote a editoral letter, which was published in the local newspaper, to explain and proclaim our denomination's disassociation from David Koresh's off-shoot sect. David Koresh's real name was Vernon Howell and had been an S.D.A. before he became an egotistical megalomaniac false prophet and pervert.

    A female journalist interviewed Timothy McVeigh among the protesters and witnesses on a road near the compound. She later was a TV news anchor in my city and testified in McVeigh's trial.

    During and after the siege I thought "Oh, shit! Now we're coming off looking even more like a cult and those Davidians are really being persecuted." One way to make Adventists and other Christians freak out, believe Armageddon end-time prophecy is real and that beastly gov't will persecute and torture them is for the fu*#ing, God-forsaken ATF and cops to actually attack, burn, gas and surround them with CS/CZ gas grenades, machine guns and tanks!

  7. SEE!…THIS is what KPD needs that armored vehicle for!

    How can Keene, NH, EVER have it's very own WACO, if we don't even have an armored vehicle…???…

    No-knock raid? NO PROBLEM!…a couple rounds from that Mk19 grenade launcher mounted on tha Lenco Bearcat, and we here in Keene, NH, can have our very own WACO…

    Shit, we'll be lucky if we can get another Thomas Ball…

    Ya think Waco being right near Crawford, TX, had anything to do with it…???….

    Ya think…???…

    There is SO*LITTLE of any real importance happening today, that it's good to dredge up this stuff from ancient history…

    ME?…They pre-empted Sesame Street to show news from Waco, so screw you guys…

    "Sunny day, laughing the clouds away, can you tell me how to get,

    how to get back home from WACO STREET?…

    (thanks, pete, give MARV some high-test gas for me, will ya'?…)



  8. Back in the day, the government questioned the need for the BATF. It was argued that it should be disbanded, and their various functions parceled out to other agencies (FBI, DEA, FDA, and so on).

    In response to this, the BATF would annually seek out a "flashy bust" that they could use to justify their existence.

    In 1992, this was Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge. The resulting standoff and debacle resulted in civil charges against the US government and monetary damages awarded to Randy and others involved.

    In 1993, this was Waco and the Branch Davidians.

    After these two debacles, the BATF (I believe) stopped looking for "flashy" busts.

    The Waco siege wasn't about the government restricting the rights of citizens, it was just the immoral corruption of a self-serving department. The Branch Davidians were random targets chosen to promote an agenda, not part of an overall plan of subjugation.

Care to comment?