Waco Siege : An American Tragedy


The Waco Massacre is one of the greatest tragedies and biggest failures of the government in U.S history. It would ultimately lead to the death of almost a hundred people including thirty-five children and two pregnant women. 

Some context is needed for a proper understanding of what happened. In 1992 the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), and the ATF were involved in the Ruby Ridge standoff. The standoff started when Randy Weaver refused to appear in court for charges brought against him by the ATF. He and his immediate family would lock themselves in their property in an attempt to prevent Randy from being arrested. Randy’s 14-year-old son and his dog would be shot and killed while they were outside, later his wife would also be killed by an FBI HRT sniper. Randy would live, later he filed a civil suit and the rest of his family would be awarded more than 3 million dollars. 

After the incident, the ATF was in serious trouble of being shut down. Even before Ruby Ridge, they were considered a useless agency and a waste of taxpayers money. They needed a big win to avoid being shut down and they thought they could find it in Waco. The Branch Davidians were a religious sect run by David Koresh. They lived in a commune in Waco Texas and made money selling guns at gun shows. There were some accusations of abuse from a local newspaper but there was no evidence to back it up. The ATF assumed they could spin the story to make it sound like they stopped a dangerous cult that abuses children.

The ATF would arrive and begin to open fire at the commune claiming to hear them firing shots first. However, the Davidians would call the police, who were not notified of the raid, and beg them to stop the shooting. The front door to the compound would also show this, as the half that was found showed that the bullets fired from it came from the ATF agents and not the Davidians. This first attack on the commune would leave 5 Davidians and one ATF agent dead

The FBI HRT would then get involved and begin the 51-day siege. During which they would try to convince the Davidians to turn themselves in but after just being unjustly attacked by the government they decided to refuse. The FBI would then start to get them to give up by blocking their access to food, water, and power. They would supply milk for the babies but without power or refrigeration, it didn’t last long. The FBI would also use sleep deprivation as a way to force them to give up, bright lights were shown into the windows and loud music was blasted all night. Eventually, the FBI would begin the final siege against the Davidians. The FBI would use tanks to destroy several walls and began to pump tear gas into the building. The problem with teargas is that it is extremely flammable and when you are running tanks through walls, shooting guns, and throwing flashbangs a fire is bound to start. Due to the destruction caused by the tanks, almost all of the Davidians were trapped in the building. Some died from the gas, some fire, and others suicide. In total 76 Branch Davidians would die 25 of which were children, David Koresh would take his own life after being trapped in the fire. 

Charges were brought against the FBI and the ATF after the incident but the government has a weird trend of always finding themselves not guilty. They would also claim that the Branch Davidians lit the fire in three places simultaneously. It seems unlikely that the sleep-deprived Davidians were able to coordinate a plan while being gassed and shot at. The FBI would claim that they believed that they thought the Davidians would hurt the children if they didn’t move in when they did. They sure did have an odd way of helping those kids, also why would the ATF be involved in a child abuse case anyways? Despite the evidence to the contrary, the media would portray the story exactly how the ATF had wanted them to in the first place. This incident would end up saving the ATF, all it took was 25 kids.