Love your country, just don’t trust your government

Waco under fire during an FBI seige

If my dad said these words once, he said them 100 times: Love your country, just don’t trust your government.

This sentiment is magnified in the six-episode series “Waco.” This is not a Netflix original series, but it is available now on Netflix.

There are varying opinions about the 1993 Waco, Texas siege. In the end, 76 individuals perished. The mass murder included 25 children and two pregnant women. The United States government spun this story to justify its actions. The spin started with the ATF (Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and ended with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).

The series is based on two books written by a member of the Branch Davidians and the lead FBI negotiator. The Branch Davidians were residents of the Mount Carmel Center, 13 miles from Waco, and they were led by David Koresh. Authorities considered this group a cult, and their compound contained many firearms.

Mixed history

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on Waco history. However, there is enough factual evidence to comment on what happened 27 years ago.

The ATF believed the Davidians were stockpiling firearms and abusing children. They had not killed anyone prior to the siege. They lived an unconventional lifestyle, feeling the need to defend their beliefs.

The ATF arrived at the ranch to serve a search warrant and make arrests. According to the series, an undercover ATF officer warned his superiors that the Davidians knew they were coming. He tried to get the lead officer to abort the mission.

This is when all hell broke loose and gunfire erupted, killing both ATF and Davidian members.

FBI botches things again

I am not a fan of the FBI. I worked with many law enforcement agencies and first responders as a print news reporter. We had great relationships and mutual respect. The FBI has botched many investigations.

The FBI received a tip about the 2016 Orlando, Florida nightclub killer. No one bothered to interview the tipster. The FBI received more than one tip about the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooter. Again, no one bothered to interview these informants.

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The FBI sat out front of the Branch Davidian ranch for 51 days and harassed the residents with mind numbing SYOPS (System Operating Procedures) in hopes of forcing them out. Some folks did leave, but when the FBI got fed up with waiting, they went in with army tanks, crashing through walls to flood the residents with tear gas.

The compound eventually caught on fire, which led to disaster for many innocent people.

 Modern day preppers

It is no wonder people continue to stockpile firearms. The government has proven what it is capable of doing. The United States Constitution gives every citizen the right to protect his or herself from tyrannical government actions. Members of the Branch Davidians owned many firearms. Were they killing people with them? No. Were they running around town scarring people with them? Not that I know. Were they living a different lifestyle? Yes.

Perception is a funny thing. The United States government believed Waco would become another Jonestown massacre, where 909 people died of poisoning. Instead, Waco was an FBI massacre. There is no disputing this fact.

The Branch Davidians had no army tanks and they had no control. They wanted control of their own lives. They lost that battle.

Back in the day

When this all took place, it was super easy to side with the government. There was a compound of people who were not complying with orders from the United States government. But did these people deserve to die in this manner? Were their punishments befitting of their crimes? Why did the FBI get the green light to take this kind of action?

I only know what my dad would say. Love your country, just don’t trust your government.


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Waco the series now available on Netflix