Skip to comments.10 years later, memories of Waco tragedy linger - fatal Branch Davidian standoff
Posted on 04/17/2003 10:28:27 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
10 years later, memories of Waco tragedy linger
City hopes to put fatal Branch Davidian standoff behind it
WACO, Texas During business trips across the country, Mayor Linda Ethridge likes to talk about Waco's small-town comforts and big-city amenities, the new programs at Baylor University and the local plant that makes Snickers candy bars.
She can name famous native Wacoans comedian Steve Martin, author Robert Fulghum and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards among them. Ethridge will talk about the Dr Pepper Museum, honoring the soft drink created here in 1885 and the expansion project at the award-winning zoo.
She and other city leaders don't mention the 1993 standoff at a religious sect's compound that burned to the ground and left nearly 80 people dead unless someone asks about it.
And that happens sometimes, even now.
"For some people, that association is still there," Ethridge said. "You'll have random interchanges with people, but it's a little less often."
The Branch Davidian site was some 10 miles east of the city, down a two-lane winding road through farmland and then off a dusty road. The group had been there quietly for decades but had been growing since the mid-1980s arrival of leader David Koresh.
Few in Waco even paid attention to them until Feb. 28, 1993, when federal agents tried to arrest Koresh for stockpiling illegal weapons. Four lawmen and six sect members died in the shootout following the raid, which led to a 51-day standoff.
Day after day, for nearly two months, people across the world heard about a town called Waco and saw television images of the rudimentary compound buildings rising out of the wind-swept prairie.
They saw authorities clad in cowboy hats and boots, guns slung in hip holsters. They heard late-night television comedians call the town "Wacko."
Then on April 19, 1993, viewers saw the inferno.
"People were watching the Branch Davidian events unfold, and it sort of engraved that association to Waco in the minds of many people," said Ethridge, who was elected to the City Council in 1993 and mayor in 2000. "And a lot of that played to existing stereotypes: It was Texas, there were guns and it involved religion."
Many of Waco's 113,000 residents say it's an unfair association because the incident was outside city limits and involved federal agencies.
"Do they associate airplane crashes with the city where it happened?" said Joe T. Hayward, 81, a retired professor. "What bothers me are people who don't look at the facts and associate anything they can with a tragedy."
Some locals have little sympathy for surviving Davidians who claim the blaze was started after military vehicles rammed the buildings and sprayed tear gas inside.
A 2000 report on the final government investigation said the Davidians started the fire and shot each other even some of the two dozen youngsters in a mass suicide, ending the standoff.
"It was a tragedy but a tragedy that didn't have to happen, and it could have happened anywhere," Hayward said.
In the months after the compound burned, city leaders didn't notice a drop in tourism. But folks stopping by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce wanted to know all about the Branch Davidians and how to get to the site.
After lengthy discussions on how to handle the issue, officials decided to have maps printed.
"It's a historical event, and you can't deny it happened. If we did, we'd look like we were trying to hide something," said Jack Stewart, president and CEO of the chamber. "We really had nothing to do with it, other than geography."
As time has passed, the maps have run out, and fewer people inquire about the out-of-the-way site with no signs or markers.
Those living nearby say several hundred people stop each year at the site, which now has a one-room visitors center, some memorial plaques and a chapel built on the compound remnants. A grove of 82 trees was planted several years ago, one representing each victim, including some unborn children.
Meanwhile, city officials have been busy touting Waco as a neighbor to President Bush, who several times a year visits his 1,600-acre ranch about 20 miles away in Crawford.
Because Crawford has no motels and few restaurants, the media and those traveling with Bush must stay in Waco where city officials have seized what they call a golden opportunity to showcase hometown hospitality.
Each time Bush goes to his "Western White House" or appears in Waco, the Chamber of Commerce distributes media kits containing a calendar of events, list of restaurants and information on laundry and other services. The chamber even sets up a hot line for the visiting media to call with questions day or night.
Now, reporters seem interested in finding out about Waco's history and attractions, and they rarely bring up the Branch Davidian standoff, Stewart said.
"We've been fortunate," he said. "We felt strongly that the president's residence would have a positive impact on Waco's image, and that's happened."
It was more than 82 people murdered there. Don't forget about the guy shot in cold blood and hung up like a slab of meat on a meat hook during the standoff.
And old farts like that "retired professor" are simply lying.
It was murder. Plain and simple. In my mind, I will always associate the disaster at Waco with the ATF, the FBI, Janet Rhino, and His Slickness.
May they burn in HELL!!!
An American Massacre at WacoNo matter how the media continues to try and spin it ... no matter how the elitists and statists try to bury it, no matter how many people just try and forget it ... the killing of those innocent people by their own government stains our colletcive consciousness and will continue to do so until the truth comes out and until the guilty are clearly identified and brought to justice IMHO
The Final Incineration of the Davidians
A couple of faces from the Waco Holocaust
May they burn in HELL!!!
Sauro, Thanks! Peace and love, George.
I hate them for causing me to find comfort in that video clip where they're carrying the dead BATFag, with what's left of his head flapping around like a sack of s***.
A dead bully with a gun is a beautiful thing.
A dead bully with a gun is a beautiful thing.
Words can't describe how I feel about this post. You wonder why the politicians of both major parties, the media and the general public despise self described hard right conservatives? Its idiots like you, making sick and twisted comments like this.
This was so over the top that I was tempted to flag a mod in order to see your sorry soul banned, but instead, I think I'll leave it up for all posterity, so all who look can see what people like you are about.
Seek mental help, please.
will settle for that, but would like to see something tangible in this corporeal sphere first ...
Let's agree to disagree. You like your bullies with guns alive, I like mine dead. History teaches us that the world is a much better place without them.
Your statements are pregnant with threat.
Unlike these vile pigs that attacked Americans for having the very weapons that they used during their psuedo military raid, my guns are strictly for recreation and defending myself and those I love against the abberant amongst us.
The people who did this will face punishment, eventually, if not in their lifetimes, then afterwards. They just can't escape it.
Repeat for posterity, it is a beautiful thing. The federal agents that got killed at Waco brought it on themselves and had it comming. The real tradegy is that the ones who survived are not all rotting in prison.
It is puzzling to me how someone who professes to believe in the rule of law or God could not believe otherwise.
A dead bully with a gun is a beautiful thing.
You're a disgusting government hating conspiracy freak. You're as bad as Palestinians who dance in the streets after Israelis have been blown to bits.
May whatever you find "comfort" in happen to you or someone you love. Maybe then you'll learn.
You and all the Montana Militia Men like you sound EXACTLY like the FREAKS on DUhhh who run around calling President Bush "Hitler" and our Troops "Baby Killing Storm Troopers".
All of you are fringe freaks and nothing more.
Ah! Someone with a lecture on humanity who wishes other's family members dead. Pretty rich. If you want me harmed you should try to do it yourself sometime.
I never thought it was a conspiracy, as most conspiracies are secret. The BATFags (simpleton morons that they are) brought the press along so that their evil and banality could be fully documented. The only "conspiracy freaks" are the minority who are pro-Reno and pro-Klintoon on Waco.
Here's just one example of your hero's handiwork:
As I said, the only good thug with a gun is a dead thug with a gun.
I only wish apon you what YOU seem to revel-in when it happens to others.
It's COMPLETELY your call.
I don't feel sorry for them, any more than I feel sorry for a dead Nazi, or a dead gangster.
Innocents? I've heard some stupidity out of you but referring to those who "do" women, children and pets with gear more deadly than what I was issued in the military as "innocents" tops all. I'll put you on my "blockheads who'll say anything to make a point list". "Innocents" ....good one.
Yes...So bad that he kept brain-washing his followers up until the day they all ALLOWED themselves to be burned to death and took their children with them.
Yeah...David Koresh was a great guy...Big heart. He cared about those federal agents.
Ha ha ... even Ian Goddard has debunked the 'work' done by McNutty:
Debunking the Waco FLIR
(c) 2001 Ian Williams Goddard
The Waco FLIR gunshot claim purports that federal agents machine gunned men, women, and children as they tried to escape the Waco fire. In other words, the United States government is guilty of the systematic mass murder of its own citizens -- a crime against humanity. However, as the facts above demonstrate, the alleged evidentiary basis for this most serious charge -- that the official report lists fifteen bodies shot to death near the rear exit -- is completely false. And the flashes recorded on FLIR that are said to be the gunshots killing those allegedly trying to escape do not actually resemble real gunshots. Instead, the long durations of the flashes resemble thermal reflections. Furthermore, the flashes appear on detectable pieces of reflective debris. The entire Waco FLIR gunshot/mass murder claim is a confabulated mirage built upon falsity and bad analysis.
Prior to the acquisition of empirical data about gun-muzzle flashes and thermal reflections on FLIR, and prior to detailed analyses of the contents of the Waco FLIR, it was a reasonable concern that the flashes might be gunshots directed at Mt Carmel. However, the empirical data and analyses cited in this report leave no room for doubt that the Waco FLIR flashes are thermal reflections on debris, not gunshots. Yet the gunshot claim continues to proliferate due to a concerted effort to sell videos on the topic. Unfortunately the technical nature of the subject leaves most at a loss to see the Waco FLIR gunshot claim for the hallucination that it is.
Hopefully this report will serve as a beacon of reason in a sea of misinformation.
A well-researched report produced by a couple of dozen well-respected experts each in their field - SOMETHING the conspiro-loon crowd apparently ignores.
What - YOU thought Danforth wrote all the research and analysis himself?
The full report, plus appendices can be accessed here:
Report to the Deputy Attorneyand including such documents as
General on the Events at Waco, Texas
February 28 to April 19, 1993
the following children were successfully released from 2/28/93, continuing through 3/2/93.
NUMBER NAME DOB DATE RELEASED 1. ANGELICA SONOBE - WF 01/20/87 02/28/93 2. CRYSTAL SONOBE - WF 08/07/89 02/28/93 3. RENAE FAGAN - BF 03/17/86 02/28/93 4. NAHARA FAGAN - BF 02/26/89 02/28/93 5. LANDON WENDEL - WM 01/30/89 03/01/93 6. TAMARA WENDEL - WF 07/23/87 03/01/93 7. JAUNESSA WENDEL - WF 05/23/84 03/01/93 8. PATRON WENDEL - WM 10/01/92 03/01/93 9. SCOTT MABB - WM 09/30/81 03/01/93 10. CHRISTYN MABB - WF 07/21/85 03/01/93 11. JACOB MABB - WF 12/20/83 03/01/93 12. BRYAN SCHROEDER - WM 03/07/90 03/01/93 13. JAIME MARTIN - BM 05/31/82 03/01/93 14. JOSHUA SYLVIA - WM 11/07/85 03/01/93 15. NATALIE NOBREGA - WF 03/20/82 03/01/93 16. JOANNE VAEGA - WF 03/01/89 03/02/93 17. DANIEL MARTIN - BM 07/12/86 03/02/93 18. KIMBERLY MARTIN - BF 03/02/93During 3/3/93, three additional children were released bringing the total to twenty one (21) children:
NUMBER NAME DOB DATE RELEASED 19. MARK JONES - WM 06/27/80 03/03/93 20. KEVIN JONES - WM 01/06/82 03/03/93 21. HEATHER JONES - WF 10/25/83 03/03/93It is important to note that for the remainder of this siege, not one additional child was released. Negotiation team members repeatedly addressed the priority objective of affecting a total release of all remaining children. These efforts were undertaken on a daily basis, if not on multiple occasions daily, throughout each day of the siege to no avail.
It became readily apparent that KORESH had "thinned the ranks" of the children of those which he did not consider his immediate family and those that represented the direct "line of DAVID (KORESH)
1. 2/28/93 - (14:29) First demand: that KRLD broadcast a message that ATF is holding their fire and will not attack further. Granted 2/28/93, 16:15 and 16:45. 2. 2/28/93 - (18:10) Play recorded message of KORESH on KRLD and kids will be released two by two. Granted 2/28/93, 19:38. 3. 3/02/93 - (02:34) SCOTT SONOBE: Play KORESH'S tape on national T.V. and we will come out. Granted 3/02/93, 13:32 4. 3/02/93 - (04:55) RITA RIDDLE: Play tape during prime time and the remaining women and children will exit. Granted 3/02/93, 13:32 5. 3/03/93 - (09:47) KORESH wants 1501 telephone cord. Granted 3/04/93, 15:20. 6. 3/03/93 - (13:31) Allow KORESH to give a bible study and MARK JONES will come out. Granted 3/03/93, 14:48. 7. 3/03/93 - (17:27) STEVE SCHNEIDER: Wants dead, smelly dog removed. Granted 3/04/93, 15:38 8. 3/04/93 - (23:29) KORESH: Requests suture kit for hand. Granted 3/05/93, 12:59.
There was much evil to go around. Koresh was evil, and our government was evil as well. Heck even evil McVeigh was there. How spooky is that?
Satan had his way with America that day. For some strange pathological and pathetic reason, you continuously attempt to exonerate the evil actions taken by the BATF and others. You just can't do that.
When I say can't, I don't mean as in I don't think you should (I don't but that's not my point). I mean can't as in you won't be able to. You should change your screenname to _Jim_Quixote.
First off, this sounds more like a self-imposed personal limitation set quite arbitrarily than a true, reality-based assessment based on a clean, open-minded review of factual information available to date.
Secondly, the unfettered creation of propaganda by McNutty in his Michael Moore-class attacks on the actual facts in his films has had devastating effcts to date. Witness McVeigh and his stated reasons for pulling off the Murrah building in OKC ...
I hold McNutty partially responsible for misleading Tim McVeigh by wanton disregard for facts and the 'reckless charges' he cast about as confetti.
As I have personnally written in the past:
Waco ... was a terrible tragedy compounded by a misunderstanding on the part of the HRT for the zeal and allegiance his (Vernon Howell's) people had for him and the 'faith' they practiced.
An initial 'raid' whose element of surprise had been lost, continued in execution with tragic loss of life on both sides culminating 51 days later in the eventual exercise of a non-explicit [Note: We now know more about the probability of a 'suicide pact' than when I originally wrote this] 'suicide-pact' carried out by Vernon Howell as a culmnation of his Armagedon scenario under pressure by the eventual and slow demolition of the Mt. Carmel by the insertion of tear gas meant to hasten the departure of the people inside but intead resulted in the 'execution' of the Armagedon suicide pact by order of Vernon Howell, a scene replete with fire designed to instill fear and turmoil into his flock such as to allow Vernon to 'guide' them unto 'his' (Vernon's) final solution ...
Both very tragic *and* very sad ...
May it never happen again.
Let the truth be told, let the truth be known, let there be "No more McVeigh's".