Do you know about the Waco massacre?

For years my wife has been saying that if you want to really get people in trouble in America make everyone believe they are a ‘cult’. I think she has a point, but younger people might not because they might not know what happened at the Waco, Texas siege back in 1993 when the government murdered men, women, and children in a “photo-opp” invasion of private property.

A fellow named Anthony Gregory has done many essays and short histories on the event and one could do a lot of good research reading his work. His latest essay on what happened is here. He has listed at the bottom of his latest post a convenient list of links to many of his past articles on the subject and you might want to look at some of those if you find the time. I lived through those days and remember a lot of it even these twenty years later, and so, I would like to share some of my remembrances of those days since this is the twentieth anniversary of that atrocity and since the Boston Marathon Bombings bring to mind major disasters/slaughters of the past.

The Waco Siege is important because it showed Americans, those with their eyes open at least, the truth about American law enforcement. Many of us already knew what the American government was capable of due to close observation of our many invasions and brutal occupations overseas over the decades, but Waco clearly showed the utter lawlessness, brutality, and sadistic nature of the domestic side of the American government. Unfortunately the Americans that were alive and observant in 1993 grow older by the day and the event is becoming a myth written by government historians that papers over the real nature of the horror. I guess it is always like that.

Anyway, on to the story as I remember it and as others have recorded it. It all began with several scandals that plagued the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) federal agency. There was a sexual harassment scandal  and there was a racial discrimination scandal. Especially in the 90’s the charges of sexism and racism inside a federal agency were explosive and damaging. There was some talk of reducing the agencies scope and budget hearing were coming up. So, the agency looked for a “photo-opp” situation to improve their public image. [UPDATE: A friend left a comment to remind me that “… the internal codename of the BATF assault was “Operation Showtime”. — yes, and what an arrogant and revealing code name it was]

The first step was to demonize the Branch Davidians which were a weird Protestant group that originated in 1955 from a split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church which itself is often seen as a “cult”. They were accused in the papers of child abuse, gun law violations, and other unsavory matters. They kept to themselves and lived on a secluded ranch which itself is suspicious to most urban Americans. Their leader was David Koresh who was their “prophet”. Koresh often came into town and knew the local sheriff well. His group did make some money buying and selling guns but that was not unusual in Texas in the 1990’s. Koresh had always cooperated with the sheriff and had even had beers with him at a local tavern.

The ATF decided to execute a public raid on the campground home of the Branch Dividians on TV. They invited the press and proceeded to stage a militarized raid on the home of these peaceful people on February 28, 1993. Gunfire ensued and after it was over there were ATF agents shot, but the Dividians stopped shooting as soon as the government stopped shooting. Reports later indicated that some ATF agents shot their own people in what is called “friendly fire”. Remember, there were many women and children inside this building. The government choose to invade the home of a large group of peaceful Americans guns a blazing rather than just take Koresh into custody on one of his many, many trips into town. The local sheriff later said that he could have produced Koresh any day with a simple phone call, and so then came the now famous standoff.

The FBI took over from the ATF and America witnessed a military operation against the Dividians. The FBI used psychological torture methods including blasting the compound with loud, obnoxious music and blinding lights for starters. Their water was cut off. They were denied communications with the outside world. All across America this group were demonized by the press with unsubstantiated (and later disproven) charges of child abuse and sexual immorality.

Finally after many days and weeks the FBI was ordered by President Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno to put an end to it. On April 19, 1993 the FBI pumped flammable and poisonous CS gas into the Branch Davidian’s home. This gas is banned internationally for use in warfare! And yet the American government incinerated men, women, and children with this illegal gas. The FBI and the Clinton Administration knew well that innocent women and children were trapped in the section of the home exposed to this gas. The government pumped this illegal gas into the compound for 6 long hours.


The government continued to deploy gas for almost six hours.  As Anthony Gregory pointed out:

Chemistry professor George F. Uhlig testified in congressional hearings that he estimated there was a sixty percent chance that the gassing alone killed some children. “Turning loose excessive quantities of CS definitely was not in the best interests of the children,” Uhlig said. “Gas masks do not fit children very well, if at all.” He said that the gassing could have transformed their surroundings “into an area similar to one of the gas chambers used by the Nazis at Auschwitz.”

If that was not enough, the FBI then used an Abrams tank borrowed from the Army to attack the home. At the time the laws (Posse Comitatus Act) preventing the military from operating on US soil were still being honored and so the site of this tank being used to flatten a home in America was a very unusual sight. The FBI latter lied over and over to the press about what had really happened that day, and since they used the tank to destroy evidence by flattening the compound they were able to hide the reality for a short while. But the fact they used internationally banned gas did come out in the press. It is recorded that more than seventy people died that day at the hands of the FBI. Everyone of these men, women and children (more than twenty children died) had never been charged with any crime. As the fire was burning the home and with children trapped inside, the FBI prevented the fire department from trying to put out the fire. Think on that for a moment.

There was a show trial of the few survivors and many went to jail to satisfy the government’s lust for revenge on any group that would dare try to protect itself and make the government look bad. There was a whitewash report issued by congress absolving the Clinton administration of all blame and the nation moved on to other matters as it always does.

Folks, that Waco incident mean to me that the US government is lawless, brutal, sadistic, and totally without redeeming feature. The only good thing to come of that sub-human atrocity was that many, like me, saw the true nature of the government in all its horror. I recommend to you, gentle reader, that you study reports of that brutal assault on innocent men, women, and children and look into the eyes of the beast. The Waco Massacre shows us the truth about law enforcement and brutal nature of the state itself as well as the often demonstrated propensity of the authorities to blatantly lie to the public over their actions.


2 thoughts on “Do you know about the Waco massacre?

    • Thanks, I inserted your comment into the post to make that point since I had left that out.

      I think Waco created many libertarians. I was already a Rothbardian anarchist at the time but the atrocity did reinforce my beliefs, that is for sure.

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