I was beginning to be sympathetic to the sentiments expressed in some opinion/editorial pieces [that were strongly against the government action at Waco]. Even though I saw the Koresh cult as extreme, and Koresh himself as a certain fanatic--I was swayed by the overwhelming force ultimately used and the finality of the results.
This is partly because I am such a rabid anti-Clinton conservative and I was beginning to let a kind of "halo effect" cause me to perceive virtually all of Clinton's appointees and friends [e.g. Janet Reno] in the same light; of course, no one is all evil (or good). I still despise Clinton, but I am better educated now--having read most of the information from your website.
I am more than 60 years old and have known many law enforcement officers in my life. As a rule they are inclined to be hard and I tend to be very soft hearted. I realize that though like any group of people, their numbers include a lot of different types--some good, some flawed. It is really impossible for me to conclude that the FBI or the ATF could somehow have become so totally corrupted that they are nothing but "jack-booted thugs,"--despite the errors that may have been made--not only at Waco, but at Ruby Ridge and elsewhere.
Like Steve Higgins said in [his letter published by] the Washington Post, federal agents are people with real faces and real families; they car-pool to work; they coach Little League sports; they mow their lawns; they're the family next door that waters your plants and takes in your mail while you're away. I would add that, generally speaking, because of the physical, psychological and academic requirements for entry into the FBI (and probably the ATF), these agents are more likely to be better all-around citizens than the average person.
After reading the material I already collected (and I will explore and read more), I am beginning to wonder why people I formerly have respected (like Rush Limbaugh and Gordon Liddy) have come down so hard on Reno in particular. I may not like her attitude, but the truth is, I am not qualified to pass judgment on any of the things she did during that period in early1993.
I tend to agree with you on these points:
Koresh was a lawbreaker, and probably a psychopath.
The Davidians probably shot first on February 28, 1993.
The Davidians had every opportunity to surrender peacefully.
I totally agree, and the presence of the media made it highly unlikely that anyone would have done harm to them had they done so.
Koresh was a pedophile who sexually abused children.
He also was able to exert a frightening degree of control over those who came into his cult. In the past. Six years, which have passed since the events at Waco--some people (me included) seemed to have at times forgotten that.
As to how the fire was set, the jury is still out. There seems to be evidence that Koresh did order it set, but I'm not yet convinced. It is still quite possible that the action of the [FBI] who were inserting tear gas may have somehow caused the fire to start, it was then whipped up by the prairie winds and quickly burned out of control.
Whether Koresh willingly abetted the deaths of his followers, or simply didn't give a damn, we'll never know. But one thing is fairly certain: The FBI and ATF didn't intend for that to happen and all the information coming out now about the incendiary [pyrotechnic] devices seems largely unimportant.
One of the most impressive things about your web site was the document you posted explaining the attempts to discredit you that have been made by [the supposed new "Cult Awareness Network"]. You were quite candid in admitting your youthful mistakes and I have to commend anyone who can be so honest. Few people are that ruthless when examining their own conduct--usually they look for excuses.
I guess finally I would say that I have such an instinctive distrust of Scientology [(who essentially own and run the "new Cult Awareness Network")] and that charlatan, L. Ron Hubbard--that anyone who is their enemy is my friend.
I'm passionate in my views, pretty opinionated about many of the major issues of the day (at least, those on which I am informed). But I also have a great respect for the truth and I try to consider BOTH sides of every question, thoroughly, so that I can understand my opponent's argument. Without the information you provided, I might have gone down the wrong path on this one. I really appreciate what you have done.
One of the most important and insightful pieces of information I found on your web site is this quotation from Chapter 16 of the book, "Snapping", by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman: "However, their driving forces in almost every instance [the Waco's, the Ruby Ridges, etc.] could be located squarely in the information dimension: in the domain of beliefs, emotions, ideologies and other messages passing among people, in the new realm of human communications and control, and in the effects of religious conversions and political convictions held by individuals in states of mind that eluded, and often completely defied, established psychological, social and legal conventions."
That was brilliant.
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