A Parable for People Made Uneasy by Waco (Part One)
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

Once upon a time, certain US government officials got worried about a cult leader in Waco named David Koresh. Koresh had control over a group of fundamentalists, who followed his every word. And even worse, this cult was fascinated by guns, and especially fully automatic guns. Weapons that had no purpose other that the mass destruction of innocent Americans. The government officials had intelligence agents in the field, and these intelligence agents reported back that Koresh, as leader of the cult, had ordered his followers to go to various gun shows for the express purpose of acquiring these fully automatic weapons. Koresh was secretly acquiring dual technology such that seemingly ordinary parts could be used to convert legal weapons into weapons made illegal by various laws of the Congress.

The government officials were not willing to wait for Koresh to make a direct attack on innocent Americans. The intelligence reports on his program to convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic ones was unimpeachable. Besides, waiting for Koresh to actually shoot someone would be too late. Waiting for a "smoking gun" would simply mean that one had waited too long. As government officials later said, "Only fired guns smoke." Action had to be taken to prevent a terrible tragedy.

Still, some folk inside the government urged caution. Koresh had not made any overt moves. The public might not appreciate a lightning raid by the full might of the BATF against Koresh. Fortunately, someone swore that Koresh had engaged in child abuse. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. This was the proof of a heinous crime that called for quick action. Anyone who would abuse the children of his own followers must be stopped. A warrant was sworn out, violations of the laws of Congress were listed, and a well armed group of BATF agents suited up to put an end to the menace.

Sadly, there were women and children in the compound. Still, the women, at least, could not be counted as completely innocent, because they had chosen (or at least tolerated) Koresh as their leader. And the goal was to liberate the children from the child molester. Yes, guns would be used, but collateral damage would be kept to a minimum, and the BATF troops would not forget the primary mission of getting the evil Koresh before he could use his weapons against innocent Americans.

The attack was approved by the US leadership at the highest levels. The raid was executed with well-armed troops. Although Koresh's followers offered token resistance, the outcome of the battle was never in doubt. How could one man and his misguided minions hold out against the might of the law enforcement agencies of the United States?

The raid, after initial setbacks, was a success. Tanks and guns obliterated the compound. Koresh, madman that he was, mounted a suicide defense, which was, of course, unsuccessful in preventing his defeat. Regrettably, many of the women and children perished during the liberation. The compound was reduced to rubble. After the fact, there was some question about the initial evidence used to justify the attack, but the menace to Americans that was David Koresh was eliminated. Such of his followers who were not killed were convicted in courts of law.

The world was made a safer place. Although rumors arose that another terrorist bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City exactly two years later (resulting in the deaths of men, women and children), no one could "prove" that the actions of the BATF "caused" the subsequent act of terror. What was undebatable was that Koresh would never again threaten Americans. Americans would no longer have to fear a man such as him. And that was worth any price.

If this story makes you a little uneasy, click here.

February 21, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Donald Ray Burger. All Rights Reserved.

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