Between each set of horizontal rules is an account of things that happened in my life that are directly related to Waco.
A very short, highly select, set of links to on-line resources regarding Waco follows those personal anecdotes and observations.
Before that date, I thought government was pretty much ok.
Since that date, I view "government" (or at least what is passed off as government) with increasing alarm.
I can support this statement by asking you to download the TCN program. Click Downloading to go to a page where you can do so.
August of 1992 is when I first wrote 120 pages of stuff about the Constitution and other rights documents for inclusion in the TCN program.
Reflected in those pages is a basic trust and optimism regarding government.
I had formulated my concept of Constitution as Social Contract and felt that this social contract was generally observed to a satisfactory degree by government officials.
While I was printing the first copy of those 120 pages, I walked to the local Post Office, which was less than 1/2 block from my office.
There, I found a copy of AntiShyster News Magazine which had been sent to me anonomously by an individual from Colorado. BTW, you know who you are, and, on the outside chance you may be reading this, thank you!
In that issue of AntiShyster Magazine, there was an account of events at Ruby Ridge written in vivid, strong language. Even though I would later discover that the account was totally accurate as written, when I first read it, I thought that it had been completely made up. I did not believe a word of it.
My reaction to this article influences me to this day regarding the tone of this site. I have adopted an editorial style of understatement. Over the years, I have observed that other individuals concerned with these issues have likewise toned down their language. Although I take no credit whatever for the decision of others regarding style of presentation, I am encouraged by this trend.
Nanny-gate, inhale-a-gate, and tax-gate were in progress regarding the confirmation of various Presidential appointments, including nominees for the office of Attorney General of the United States of America.
Following the initial raid in Waco, nominee Janet Reno was confirmed with little delay or controversy. Considerable information regarding this sequence of events can be found in Votescam : The Stealing of America by the brothers James and Kenneth Collier.
While still trusting the government and mainstream media, I began to follow unfolding events in Waco with intense interest. I was expecting confirmation of my then-held belief that "our" government would observe the social contract that I had extracted from the Constitution.
Little did I know . . .
I saw on that occasion a young Dan Rather trying to make his way to something happening on the floor. A policeman signaled Rather to stop. Rather push forward. Rather disappeared from view for a few moments, even though the camera remained aimed at the place he had been standing. A concerned Walter Cronkite (I believe it was him) spoke over the air concerning Rather's disappearance.
Rather reappears, and responds to Cronkite, anchoring in the booth, saying, "He decked me!" Cronkite echoes Rather's words and comments about freedom of the press or something like that.
But Rather pressed on and continued live coverage, without interruption.
I didn't appreciate that then as much as I do now. How many people do you know who could do that? Take a flooring punch in front of God and everybody, get back up and keep on doing their job? I ain't at all sure that I could do that. Could you?
I mention this event and comment upon it to this extent to make the point that in 1968, Dan Rather showed considerable dedication and courage.
Considerably (at least a year or two) after events in Waco had run their course, I happened to channel-surf past the CBS evening news as Dan Rather was reading an editorial. The gist of the statement from that editorial that struck me so profoundly at the time is:
"I may be dumb as wallpaint about some things, but whatever else I may know or not know, I consider myself darn lucky to have this job."
Translation: Folks, if they put it in front of me, I will read it. The rest is up to you.
The main thing I recall hearing reported by Dan Rather about the initial raid revolves around the footage of the BATF agents on the roof who broke out a window covered by a black curtain and entered.
One agent remained on the roof. He throws (according to Dan Rather) what appears to be a grenade (probably a concussion grenade) into the room immediately after the other agents enter it through the window. Then, without looking, he sticks his gun through the window and fires it into the room where his fellow agents are most likely still located. Shots from inside the room can be seen exiting the wall near the agent who is still outside on the roof. The agent is suddenly knocked away from the wall flat on the roof, apparently when struck on the helmet by a bullet fired from inside the room where his fellow agents had just been seen entering.
Later, Dan Rather reports that the agents who entered that window were among those who died and that they had all previously served as bodyguards of President Clinton.
I clearly recall thinking that President Clinton must feel bad knowing that these guys (that he had seen regularly and often for awhile and whom he had probably spoken with on more than one occasion) were dead.
Later, the report of these dead agents' former service as bodyguards for President Clinton was retracted without explanation.
At the Dallas Morning News Waco archives page, the agents' names were listed at one time, but I could find no mention of the reports of their previous service as Clinton bodyguards.
As I watched the escalating pressure exercised against the Davidians, I was torn between thinking, "Is this really necessary?" and thinking "They have it coming".
During the siege, and prior to the final assault, I confess, however sadly, that the "They have it coming" sentiment won out in me.
I am not proud of that.
I do not feel that way today.
But I remind myself that I was persuaded to an errant position on that occasion to alert myself to future events of similar nature.
I worked all morning without talking to anyone.
It was quiet in there.
I remember this distinctly.
At the time, I thought my ears were stopped up or something, because the customary hum of a few dozen conversations was noticeably absent that day.
Weeks later, I would recall this and realize why no one was talking.
They already knew.
That is when I saw the fires at Waco.
That is the moment when I first knew what had happened.
I fell on the couch as though struck with a baseball bat.
I did not know it, but my life was profoundly changed before I stopped bouncing on the cheap foam rubber cushions.
He calls the viewer's attention to an armored personnel carrier at the end of the building away from where the media's cameras were located. There is a man on top of the vehicle, on the outside fully exposed. Rather calls the viewer's attention to the sound of automatic gunfire in the background.
The armored personnel carrier drives right up next to the building right, out of view of the cameras, blocked by the building itself. Then the vehicle backs away and drives back to whereever it came from, I guess.
As it is backing away, the man on top removes a garment from his head, which Rather reports, appears to be a fireproof garment of some kind. He tells the viewer that this is not apparent on ordinary broadcast televisions, but that studio monitors show it plainly.
Shortly after the vehicle backs away, fire erupts.
This detail is significant, because, isn't that some kind of brave individual who will ride right into the teeth of a firefight?! Well, maybe, unless he knows the automatic gunfire is friendly (at least to him), that is, if he know the gunfire is being laid down by government agents, and not the Branch Davidians.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement strongly asserts that this gunfire is coming from govermennt agents.
NOTE: That detail of the film is challenged at the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum (site description at bottom of page); however, this is more a challenge to the wisdom of including that point in the film based on the lack of corroborating information. The challenge does not refute or disprove what appears to be a fact: heavy, continuous automatic gunfire from outside the building was directed toward the Davidians, blocking an escape route.
Both events are planned near the end of the term of one President and carried out at the beginning of the term of the next.
A lot of buck-passing goes on based on that in both cases.
As deeply as I was affected by those events, I was equally, or maybe even slightly more affected by the subsequent Congressional hearings - the aftermath.
I was not satisfied by the outcome of the Congressional hearings.
One of the results of those hearings was that high ranking officials closely involved, after being suspended without pay, were re-instated and compensated with back pay.
If the results of the hearings were unsatisfactory, then perhaps the analysis was faulty.
But if nothing could be found wrong with the analysis, then perhaps one should ask, "What is missing from the analysis?"
In answer to that question, I offer that the hearings made no effort to address the Constitutionality of the initial raid.
Congress (or its various members directly involved in the hearings) could cite separation of powers and say, "Let's leave that to the courts."
But I doubt these issues will ever be addressed by the courts. Certainly not any time soon.
Hence, until the Courts address it, let us, you and I, We the People, ponder over this just a bit. Here is a very basic set of questions based on the Preamble of the United States Constitution.
How could the initial raid:
NOTE: For the sake of these arguments, let us assume that the initial raid went well, and that no shots were fired at all, no one was injured, and in fact, illegal weapons had been seized:
Would the orderly seizure of any such illegal weapons serve to establish, maintain, or further Justice as alluded to in the Preamble? Of course not. Not in any sense of the phrase.
In their letter, the Constitution and Bill of Rights fairly insist on the observance of due process in cases involving murder, kidnap, property violations, peace violations, rights violations, or treason.
One of the possible outcomes of due process is the separation of the accused from his (or her) life, liberty, or property, as provided in previously enacted legislation . . . legislation which, presumably, has prescribed a penalty which is balanced against the offence.
As such, Justice is socially sanctioned revenge.
Revenge is retribution for an act that has already occurred.
In Waco, no act of murder, kidnap, property violations, peace violations, rights violations, or treason had occurred prior to the initial raid.
That being so, how could the Constitutional (or any commonly held) concept of Justice be served by the initial raid, no matter how orderly such a raid might have proceeded?
If an orderly seizure of illegal weapons cannot establish, maintain, or further Justice, then what of an extremely disorderly attempt to do so, such as occurred at Waco?
Would the orderly seizure of any such illegal secure the Blessings of Liberty as alluded to in the Preamble? Of course not. Not in any sense of the phrase.
If that is so, you may be asking, then what does the author imply by use of the term Liberty?
Liberty is a social contract (or compact) expressed in the Constitution somewhat, and further clarified in the Bill of Rights.
If it is true, as stated above, that to establish Justice, the Constitution, in its letter, fairly insists upon penalizing acts fitting rather severe criteria, it is also true that to secure the Blessings of Liberty, the Constitution, in its spirit, asserts that no interference be offered toward activities that do not meet these rather severe criteria.
By their observance of these very permissive standards (in as much as they had not committed any act fitting the severe criteria stated above), the Davidians had every right to expect to be left alone by the government, and everyone else for that matter. That's what Liberty is.
Even orderly efforts at so-called pre-emptive law enforcement measures, no matter how well intended, deny the targets of such "investigations" (and, by example, everyone else) the Blessings of Liberty.
If an orderly seizure of illegal weapons cannot secure the Blessings of Liberty, then what of an extremely disorderly attempt to do so, such as occurred at Waco?
Would the orderly seizure of any such illegal weapons establish, maintain, or further the "more perfect union" alluded to in the Preamble? Of course not. Not in any sense of the phrase.
To what does this phrase refer? More perfect than what?
Commonly, this is considered to imply a more perfect Union than existed among the American Colonies under the Articles of Confederation.
For the purpose of this discussion, I will say that it refers to a better relationship between the people and their government than existed between the people and the King of England.
In the Declaration of Independence, one complaint (of many) lodged against the King is:
"FOR protecting them (British soldiers), by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States."Arguably, since I have already supported the invalidity of the initial raid at Waco, I can further assert that the subsequent hearings resembled such "mock trials" alluded to in the Declaration.
The initial raid was bad enough.
The subsequent failure to identify and punish those in the government who planned and executed this fiasco is worse.
The relation between We the People and "our" government is not much better than that that existed between American inhabitants and the King of England.
These events do not contribute positively to the state of the Union.
They would not have contributed positively to the state of the Union even if the raid had gone well, although, had not several people died, and had not considerable attention been given to the awful aspects of this raid, that would have only been worse.
Even if the initial raid had proceeded in an orderly fashion, would anybody outside the BATF be better off for the raid?
Well, the raid didn't proceed in an orderly fashion, and not even they benefitted.
Is what's good for the BATF good for the country?
Not in this case.
So, is what's bad for the BATF good for the country?
No. Especially not in this case!
So, the initial raid is not supported by the general welfare clause of the preamble.
Would the orderly seizure of any such illegal weapons "insure domestic tranquility"? Of course not. Not in any sense of the phrase.
Interstate trade disputes threatened Domestic Tranquility some four years after the cessation of hostilities at the end of the first American Revolution.
These trade disputes, had they escalated, could have undone the rickety alliance of the American Colonies that had barely defeated the British after a protracted war. This slim victory had been obtained with much support from France, Britain's rival.
This threat to domestic tranquility (and thus to the perceived self-interest of those who lived in America) was addressed in the Constitution by clauses that amount to a trade agreement (various in Article I Sections 8, 9, and 10) and the "full faith and credit" clause of Article IV Section 1.
It was not addressed by any attempts at pre-emptive law enforcement or by any attempt at gun confiscation.
Although statements attributed to David Koresh conceivably contain threats of violence, local authorities did not view them seriously enough to take action, nor did local or State authorities (see Aricle IV Section 4) request Federal intervention.
Hence, in addition to the constitutional ambiguity created by attempts at pre-emptive law enforcement, serious questions of jurisdiction, or constitutional authority, are raised by the "domestic tranquility" clause in the Preamble and the "domestic violence" clause of Article IV Section 4.
On this statement alone, and upon the results of that ill-conceived raid, one could assert very weak Constitutional basis for the raid, if not Constitutional preclusion of the raid.
Suffice it to say that the statements above for "insure domestic tranquility" largely apply here.
To "provide for the common defence" meant to establish mechanisms by which invasion or uprising in one State could be dealt with by resources of the Union.
Again, such marshalling of the resources of the Union, involving Federal intervention, requires a request from State authority.
No such request preceded the initial raid.
Hence, the initial raid is not supported by the common defence provisions of the Constitution.
The failure of any government official or agent to be punished for this fiasco is terrible.
Truth-seeking is not easy work.
No one else can do it for you.
Having found this stuff, I can provide the links, thus saving you that time, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to slog your way through all these materials.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement Official site of the documentary film. The guestbook on this site is worth the click it takes to get there. Most, not all, contributors to the guesbook share my discontent with events at Waco and the subsequent handling. Among the entries in the guestbook is a link to the site immediately following this one. You can also order the film.
Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum Among other things, this site includes a critique of Waco: The Rules of Engagement which asserts that the film is a hoax. The critique is specific and credible. Even though parts of the film may indeed be false (this I cannot say, yay or nay), other parts of the film are true. The film is worth viewing, as is the critique on this site. Site also has 20 megabytes of information which visitors are invited to download and links to 51 other similar sites.
Waco, the Rules of Engagement on amazon.com. Film has 58 reader comments as of 11/13/99. Most, not all, share my discontent with events at Waco and the subsequent handling. You can also order the film. If you order from amazon.com, you help support this site. Please do.
Waco News Site maintained by Carol Moore. Has informative articles from mainstream media and other sources plus links. A book authored by the maintainer is available at a very reasonable price.
Branch Davidians Group Profile Associated with a college course about religion and society.
Waco, the Rules of Engagement order site. After 3 other sources I ordered from could not deliver this tape, this site did. Excellent, courteous, prompt service. Good price. I am not compensated for these remarks in any way. Click mc for more of my comments about the film.
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