On February 28, 1993,
agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF,
now known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms,
and Explosives or
BATFE) began their assault on the
home of the Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas. An
unarmed David Koresh was shot by the agents as he
stepped onto his front porch. A shootout resulted with
several deaths on both sides.
Shortly afterward, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took charge of the
situation, and on April 19, 1993 agents from both
departments (utilizing military hardware and both U.S.
and foreign military advisers) assaulted the dwellings,
which resulted in the deaths of 80 American citizens.
Most of the victims were
old men, women, and small children.
The events at Waco have
contributed to the disdain of federal abuse of power
like nothing since the
Boston Massacre back in 1770. (By comparison, the
5 Americans in that assault.) Moved by grassroots
pressure, the Congress of the United States convened
special hearings into the conduct of those federal
agencies responsible for the Waco debacle. The result
was less than satisfactory to many Americans.
hearings, along with eyewitness testimony and subsequent
infrared video of the events at Waco led many to believe
that federal agents were allowed to lie under oath with
impunity. It is a fact that crucial evidence was
conveniently "lost" by federal agents. Worse
still was the release of videotapes of the events by
investigative reporters showing the utter absurdity and
duplicity of the government`s account of the tragedy.
At the end of the
hearings, questions remained unanswered, and no one
within the federal government was held accountable.
Davidians who survived the raid were tried for murder. A
jury found them innocent, but no charges were ever
brought against any federal agents.
Whatever one thinks of
David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, they had
committed no capital crimes. Neither could the charges
child abuse, illegal weapons, or illegal drug
activity (charges that were
used by the feds to justify their raid) be
Furthermore, it is
unconscionable (not to mention a violation of U.S. law
as prescribed in the Posse Comitatus Act—a law that
President Bush recently
had the audacity to expunge, by the way) that tanks
and other military equipment would be used against
mostly women and children within our own country. The
bizarre tactics employed by the BATF and FBI at Waco
are unfathomable and unforgivable! Our government has
been more lenient and patient when dealing with many of
America`s deadliest enemies than it was in dealing with
those poor Davidians.
There must never be
constitutional liberties apply to every American, even
those who are considered strange or unconventional.
Under no circumstances must we allow federal agencies
(or any other agencies, for that matter) to circumvent
the laws of our nation that protect individual life and
liberty. And, unfortunately, with the advent of the
Patriot Act, the federal government has far more power
and authority–and individuals have far less freedom and
protection–than in 1993. This portends an even more
ominous future for liberty.
The demands of liberty
and justice rest upon us all. Certainly, Congress plays
a part. Their investigation into Waco was inept, to say
the least. The media also plays an important role. They
have the power to inform; they also have the power to
sedate. Absent a love for truth and justice by a
lackadaisical media and a cowardly Congress, the
fires of Waco still burn in the heart of the
Beyond that, under the
Bush administration, we have watched the size and scope
of the federal government burgeon to proportions never
before seen. It seems clear that we have entered an era
of unlimited and unbridled federal power and authority.
Can we assume, therefore, that more Wacos are on the
It is incumbent upon
each of us to seriously ponder our future. It is
imperative that each of us be willing to study, once
again, the great principles upon which this country was
built. Such a study demands that we re-familiarize
ourselves with the
U.S. Constitution and
Bill of Rights. We must re-read our
Declaration of Independence. We must read the words
of wisdom and warning delivered by our Founding Fathers.
In short, we must be completely familiar with the
principles of liberty, because those principles made us,
and those principles will keep us. Without them,
liberty`s future is about as permanent as the wooden
buildings at Mt. Carmel. Without them, the fire of
tyranny will reduce us to the cinders of obscurity as
surely as did the fire outside Waco, Texas on April 19,