Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Branch Davidians Committed Mass Suicide (1993)

Regarding the tragic demise of the Branch Davidians in their compound, some people believe that the US government was at fault for causing the deaths, that the US authorities were responsible for the death of the Branch Davidians, or that it was some sort of sinister mass murder committed by an evil government out of control. Is this true?

Those people might like to look at the facts regarding the Branch Davidian siege as noted in the following article from noted anti-cult activist Rick Ross, at his blog Cult News, Associated Press perpetuates Waco myths.
Republicans, not particularly friendly with President Clinton or his Attorney General Janet Reno, concluded within their report that such conspiracy theories about Waco were completely false. Here are some excerpts:
  • The Davidians started the fire.
“The evidence presented to the Subcommittees conclusively demonstrated that three distinct fires began in three separate parts of the Branch Davidian residence within a two minute period on April 19. In light of these facts, the Subcommittees conclude that the fires were intentionally set by Branch Davidian members in order to destroy the structure. Supporting this conclusion is that fact that the fire review team found that a number of accelerants were present in the structure, including gasoline, kerosene, Coleman fuel, and other accelerants.
Given that these accelerants were used to contribute to the spread of the fire, the Subcommittees conclude that the Davidians used them as part of a plan to destroy their residence.”
  • The use of “tear gas” (methylene chloride) specifically did not cause the fire.
“One of the theories forwarded to the Subcommittees comcerning the origin of the fire is that methylene chloride, a chemical used as a dispersant to carry the CS riot control agent injected into the Branch Davidian residence, may have ignited and started the fire. During the hearings Dr. Quintiere testified that it was his opinion that the methylene chloride in the CS agent neither caused nor contributed to the spread of the fire.
In light of this testimony, and the other information reviewed by the Subcommittees concerning the flammability of methylene chloride, the Subcommittees conclude that the presence of methylene chloride in the Branch Davidian residence did not cause the fire nor contribute to its spread.”
  • The Davidans could have left the compound freely, but chose to stay and die instead.
“Throughout the morning of April 19, none of the Davidians left their residence. After the fire broke out, however, nine persons left the building. This indicates that at least some opportunity existed for the Davidians to safely leave the structure had they wanted to do so. One of those who escaped the fire left the residence almost 21 minutes after the breakout of the first fire. Clearly, some means of escape from the residence existed for a significant period of time after the fire broke out.
An important question, however, is whether the Davidians might have been overcome by smoke and prevented from leaving the residence. The autopsies of the Davidians indicate that deaths from smoke inhalation or asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning accounted for only half of the Davidians who died in the residence. The other causes of death were gunshot wounds, burns, or other trauma. Thus, even after the fires began to consume the structure, at least half of the Davidians were not so affected by the smoke and fumes from the fire that they were physically unable to leave the structure.
Additionally, the location of the bodies of the Davidians indicates that few of the Davidians actually attempted to escape the building. Many of the bodies were huddled together in locations in the center of the building. Few of the bodies were located at points of exit from the building, and the cause of death of several of the bodies at exit points were self-inflicted gunshot wounds or gunshots from very close range.”
The subsequent independent Danforth Report came to the same conclusions.
  1. Government agents did not start the fire at Waco;
  2. Government agents did not shoot at the Branch Davidians on April 19, 1993;
  3. Government agents did not improperly use the United States military;
  4. Government agents did not engage in a massive conspiracy and cover-up. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Attorney General Reno, the present and former Director of the FBI, other high officials of the United States, or the individual members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team who fired three pyrotechnic tear gas rounds on April 19, 1993.
  5. Responsibility for the tragedy at Waco rests with certain of the Branch Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, who shot and killed four ATF agents, wounded twenty others, shot at FBI agents trying to insert tear gas into the complex, burned down the complex, and shot at least twenty of their own people, including five children.
Likewise, the Davidian survivors legal claims for damages were repeatedly rejected.
Despite these clear facts some people choose to believe that the Branch Davidians were not an extremist authoritarian cult that behaved in a dangerous way, but they are instead romanticized as ordinary Christians who were bullied by some evil government.

These people choose to believe that the Branch Davidians did not commit mass suicide, as the evidence shows, but instead delude themselves into thinking they were martyrs murdered by the US government.

They ignore the fact that by murdering four government employees and refusing to let US law enforcement officers into their compound the Branch Davidians were effectively in a state of aggressive armed rebellion against the US government.

They ignore the fact that David Koresh murdered the Branch Davidians and instead falsely claim the US government killed them and use this thought to produce all kinds of wacky, inaccurate and paranoid anti-government conspiracy theories.

One man believed these incorrect ideas regarding the Waco siege so strongly he launched a terrorist act against the United States that killed 168 people. He was later executed for that monstrous act.

Some within the COGs have also incorrectly taught that the Branch Davidians were murdered by the US government, such as M. John Allen, as was shown in a previous post:
This attitude [claiming there was a government cover up regarding the siege of the Branch Davidian] exists among other COGs, such as M. John Allen, leader of Restoration Ministries, as may be seen in his book The Restoration of Truth, Chapter 7. After speculating that Christians should live in a commune he somewhat abruptly changes the topic to say that Waco was an act of tyranny and compares US law officers with Nazi storm troopers. He even suggests, without any evidence (he has "a feeling") that Jim Jones' mass suicide in 1978 was the same thing.
I feel it is no coincidence that government storm troopers were sent into Christian communities like Waco and Jonestown, with cover stories that these people committed suicide. The facts have come out about Waco, showing it was really a government hatchet job against innocent, law abiding people. We will probably never know about Jonestown, but I have a feeling it was the same type of thing.
How can he say that about Jonestown? He has no evidence, just "a feeling".
I present this post in the hope of allaying unfounded concerns caused by paranoid conspiracy theories centered upon this incident.

(Incidentally the Branch Davidians are an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists and thus related to Armstrongism as a common descendant of the Millerites of the 1830s-1840s.)

1 comment:

  1. Website folk: check Byker Bob's apologies for Nazis on the Painful Truth/ james' website: ludicrous!