Sunday morning, February 28, 1993, in Waco, Texas, the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) armed forces were in place. Both sides are claiming that the other fired first, and the videos of the incident have not been released to allow us to make that determination. Similar to an incident which occurred between opposing forces over two hundred years ago, a shot was fired which was heard round the world. By the time the first heat of battle was over there were a reported four dead BATF forces and two members of a religious sect, one of which may have been just two years old. Fourteen BATF forces were reported injured. The leader of the religious sect, Branch Davidian, Vernon Howell (also known as David Koresh), is also reported to have been wounded.
Reports indicate that the BATF force of 130 was at the farm of the sect to serve an arrest warrant to arrest Howell along with a search warrant. The purpose of the search has been purported to be for weapons, and the cause for the arrest unknown. The defenders numbered about seventy adults.
BATF forces had been training for weeks in preparation for the raid, however a spokesman later claimed that they were "out gunned". We question why a "law enforcement", or tax collection agency, trains for an "operation". It appears that our "police" forces have become paramilitary. Our nation has not been able to come to grips with our Constitutional Republic, so government is resorting to the tactics of the British.
The religious group has been referred to as a sect by local people, however press and government officials have determined that they are a cult. Perhaps not a significant difference in the minds of some, but in the minds of others, very significant in terms of what is acceptable and what is not.
This attack follows, by just a few days, numerous raids on alleged "tax protester" organizations and individuals around the Southwest. In one of the "tax" raids, the owner of the property was in California, in trial with the IRS, over a tax issue. His wife was home, alone, when IRS agents armed with guns, supported by SWAT teams and television news cameras, chose to enter the house by breaking windows rather than knocking on the door. They seized a number of weapons, but have not reported if they were of a legal or illegal nature. All private records were seized, except those that accompanied the individual into the court in California. From available information it appears that the warrant was general in nature (i.e. not specific in what or where the object of the warrant was) and that the purpose was a "fishing expedition" which result in the destruction of private property and the seizure of weapons lawfully owned.
Article IV, Bill of Rights, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers. and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Perhaps it is time for us to consider the consequences of the actions of the British which resulted in the world being turned upside down just over two hundred years ago. As a result in the modification of the search and arrest methods of government over the past thirty years, we can only wonder what we can expect in the next few years. We can also wonder whether the actions taken in these incidents were justified, or whether they are a process of conditioning the general population to be more tolerant of excessive force by government.
March 3, 1993
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