T H E W A C O, T E X A S, T R A G E D Y (From the Sacred Name Broadcaster, Jacob O. Meyer)

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T H E W A C O, T E X A S, T R A G E D Y (From the Sacred Name Broadcaster, Jacob O. Meyer) (P.O. Box C, Bethel, PA 19507) We must all be very apprehensive after viewing the terrible tragedy on the television recently, when the compound of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, was quickly burnt up in fiery holocaust. Why did it happen? Why did the children die? Who is to blame? Could the situation have been handled differently? Many questions are being asked at the present time regarding the Branch Davidians and the tragedy that occurred recently in Waco, Texas. Will there be answers forthcoming...truthful answers? We cannot tell. After 51 days of armed standoff, suddenly the compound buildings burst into flame. It was half an hour later before fire engines showed up and endeavored to extinguish the fire; however, by that time it was already too late. As huge clouds of smoke billowed toward the sky, the buildings were engulfed in flames and were already collapsing in on themselves. In the early morning hours we had seen television news reports portray the tanks battering into the buildings and then gas was being injected into the buildings. Who is to blame for this awful tragedy? Most of the people would say that the leader of the Branch Davidians is responsible for what took place. Before we draw conclusions, let us analyze the situation more carefully and rationally, so that our perception of these events may be sharpened. First of all there was a siege of almost two months, with the daily media shows viewed on a nationwide scale. On one of the television commentaries an individual who analyzes television news coverage made the observation that he was questioning why all of these network news teams were on lo- cation for so long. He remarked that they filled their time with mindless babbling to try and hold the interest of the public and just occupy some air time. Why does the media get so deeply involved and then frequently ask the viewer such irrelevant questions as: "What do you think?" The answer is that they have to fill vacant television air time. These "on location" television news interviews become a very questionable occupa- tion at times. Many other incidents were also used to illustrate the idea that television is too much involved where there actually is no news. However, we remember television reports showing tanks drawn into assault position. Helicopters were flying around the buildings. Armored cars encircled the compound buildings. Daily it seems we saw FBI briefings until the entire spectacle became mentally oppressive to behold. As we watched the tragedy unfold and the buildings become engulfed in a roaring inferno, I thought to myself that this was such a paradox, because April 19, 1943, seemed to be happening all over again! Having studied a considerable amount of Holocaust history, I remembered that April 19, but in the year of 1943, a half century ago, another govern- ment besieged a people who were members of an unpopular religion. The Germans attacked the Warsaw ghetto in Poland on April 19, 1943, on the eve of Passover exactly 50 years ago. The histories described the action as the Germans were moving in with house-to-house combat, gassing the bunkers, burning houses to draw the oxygen out of the buildings and underground bunkers to kill the people who were hiding there. This con- tinued until finally the entire Warsaw ghetto was totally destroyed. When we were visiting in Warsaw, Poland, several years ago and standing in the area where the ghetto existed, the guide showed us a picture that recorded how it looked after the Germans had gotten through with it. There was total devastation. As I watched the Waco compound burning rapidly to the ground, I thought about how many similar terms were being employed here in the present time - 1993, and how it was so similar to what happened in 1943 - 50 years, a half century ago. Then I remembered the George Orwell book, 1984, and the incident de- scribing how someone had disagreed with the government and was just totally and quickly obliterated with the use of helicopters and arma- ments. Afterward the world peacefully went back to its own plodding, day-by-day mundane activities. If you have read George Orwell's book, 1984, it might be well to remember that prediction, or perhaps a re- view of this book would prove beneficial. You can undoubtedly find a copy at your local library if you do not have one. What was the origin of this siege in Waco anyway? It was reported that an undercover agent apparently had been investigating the group for as long as five years. If you cannot obtain enough evidence in five years' time, or if it takes five years to put together a case of illegal activities, the case must have been very weak. The government actions are now in question. Consequently, we are asking serious questions con- cerning what happened here because we need to consider that a huge volume of propaganda appears to be circulated by government agents. Did the government have evidence of a probable cause for invading the privacy of the religious commune? It is actually doubtful that it did, according to some reports. Therefore, we must await the forthcoming con- gressional investigation to prove what happened, which incidentally is going to swallow up many more millions of dollars. Millions of dollars have already been spent on the standoff, and the taxpayers will even- tually pay the bill for all that happened in the incident in Waco. A question we must all consider is this: Is it illegal to own guns? Of course not. The United States citizens have a constitutional right to own and bear arms and to defend their property. That is exactly what the founding fathers of our country intended when giving the right to the citizens to do so. It is not wrong to own guns. As a matter of fact, the biblical law sanctions the right of a person to defend his property against theft or the intrusion of one who attempts to murder. No, it is not wrong for you as a citizen to own guns. However...I know what history relates of the outcome of (scriptually untenable) position of an armed confrontation with the government: starting with the Whiskey Rebellion in the summer of 1794. We must conclude that when a citizen comes into an armed confrontation with the government, HE WILL ALWAYS LOSE, regardless of the right or wrong of his legal incictment. Did the government have probable cause to go in with such a massive array of armaments against the people who were inhabiting this commune? I think that is doubtful. If it required five years of undercover in- vestigation to put together a case, I question whether a "sting" opera- tion was not in progress (when government encourages someone to violate the law so they can be prosecuted). Actually, how can we ever know the truth now? Most of the principal figures of that commune apparently perished in the flames, as well as did the armaments that they had ac- cumulated. Presently we are hearing all kinds of propaganda by the United States government and government agencies, which is being set forth to cover up what they have done. Therefore, I am asking myself: Does this sound like Germany of the 1930s and 1940s? At that time government figures spoke on the radio constantly with their propaganda to counteract re- ports relating to the truth. Is the United States a democratic govern- ment or not today? I think we need to ask some serious questions and get some straightforward answers. Perhaps the answers are not what we would like to hear. Now, allow me to express an opinion. I believe this situation was mis- handled from its inception. The initial confrontation was wrong. If the leader, Mr. Koresh, who as a matter of fact I like to address by his actual name of Vernon Howell because that was his real name (Koresh is the Hebrew name of Cyrus in the Bible), was constantly going into Waco, Texas, and patronizing the various merchant establishments. I cannot therefore understand the reason why the agents who wanted to take him into custody could not have done it at a place like in the parking lot of some establishment that he patronized. They could have just walked up to him and stated: "We have a warrant here for your arrest and a search warrant for the property in the commune." If this would have taken place, I believe that everything would have gone on smoothly and they could have then determined if there was indeed probable just cause to bring him to trial. Also, it would have separated him from the others in the group, and would probably have weakened their resolve. Without question we be- lieve that the situation was mishandled by the federal authorities from the very start. In the city of Philadelphia in the 1980s there was an African-American, back-to-nature movement which was called MOVE. The members of this African-American, back-to-nature movement had taken possession of a house (in 1978 there had been an armed confrontation and a policeman was killed). I woke up early one morning in 1985 as my alarm radio turned itself on. As I listened to the news, I heard that 16 houses were burnt! To my astonishment, in a few moments the truth came out when it was announced that 67 houses in a three-block area were burnt down (it later turned out to be 80 homes). Eleven people had died. The fire was started by the Pennsylvania State Police who dropped a bomb from a helicopter down a hole in the roof into this Move house, and blocks of surrounding houses in that community were swallowed up in flames. No public official was ever indicted for irresponsibility in that incident, but the goverment paid millions of dollars to rebuild the neighborhood. I wonder if patience could have been rewarded and eventually the MOVE people might have come out voluntarily. The same thing, I believe, would have been possible with the compound in Waco, Texas. When an animal is trapped in a hole, what do you do? You do not stand in front of the hole. The animal will come out to take a look and then quickly retreat into its burrow. The answer to getting an animal out of its hole is to back off. This is the approach the government agencies should have taken. They should have backed off and had patience and then perhaps the people of the Waco compound would have come out eventually. I believe they would have. Mr. Howell (or Koresh) was a heretic, religiously and theologically speaking...he was misusing religion and we can readily discern this fact ...he was teaching false doctrine...undoubtedly he was looking for fire to fall from heaven and consume the siege as it did when the 185,000-man Assyrian army died in a plague before Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah, or when those 150 soldiers were consumed by fire falling from heaven when they went to take EliYah into custody in 2 Kings chapter 1, simply by using the Sacred Name. Koresh was a heretic and the powers of heaven did not support him, but nevertheless, I am wondering why the government of the United States of America, which once was committed to freedom and liberty, now has taken a turn in the opposite direction and is bringing pressure upon a re- ligion that they did not like to tolerate. Who will be next to be perse- cuted? Could it be the Roman Catholics for their opposition to abortion, or the Jews for ritual slaughter of animals, or... Just remember, friends, you cannot win an armed confrontation against the government; so when persecuted you might as well try your best to win your case in court...we must hold fast to a doctrine of peace, we must practice an attitude of peace toward each other. The Waco Branch Davidians' tragedy leaves many questions in our minds. Many of these questions will be answered, some will never be answered.

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