RE: Column from Suzanne Fields From the Albany, NY Times-Union, Monday, April 26: FEARLESS
RE: Column from Suzanne Fields
From the Albany, NY Times-Union, Monday, April 26:
FEARLESS FOSDICK RIDES TO THE WACO RESCUE
(by columnist Suzanne Fields)
What do we tell our children?
After the fire and brimstone our children watched live from Waco, how
do we explain what really happened? After the FBI and ATF agents pick
through the ashes and the pathologists interpret the charred remains,
what do we tell them about what their government did? After the
psychiatrists and psychologists complete their clinical critique
of religious fanaticism and psychopathic behavior, how do we account
for the "normal" behavior of the federal officials who ordered their
In the final hours inside the compound before the fires began, 24
children suffered intense nausea, dizziness and a painful stinging
over their bodies if the brutal gas worked as the federal authorities
expected it to work. This was done to save them from child abuse.
"Their eyes would have involuntarily shut," said Benjamin C. Garrett,
executive director of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute
in Alexandria, Va. "Their skin would have been burning. They would
have been gasping for air and coughing wildly.
"Eventually, they would have been overcome with vomiting in a final
That's why the gas has been banned by the international conventions of
warfare. Indeed, the Army did not take the gas to the Persian Gulf
because it was deemed too brutal to use on Iraqi soldiers. We can
still use it on our 6-year olds, however.
This is the Fearless Fosdick approach to fighting crime. When the
comic-strip detective was assigned to find a can of poisoned beans
that a madman had loosed in the city, he toured the supermarkets,
shooting every customer he saw reaching for a can of beans. He
finally discovers the can of beans in a warehouse. "The joke's
on me," he said, accepting responsibility.
Children, who have no trouble observing that the emperor wears no
clothes, are less likely than the large number of gullible adults
identified by pollsters to believe that David Koresh is the ONLY
person who can be blamed for this tragedy.
The children saw the tanks. They saw the fire. They saw the calm
that preceded both.
You've got to keep it simple and precise when teaching children.
Vagueness is verboten. So how do we translate the President when
he says that Janet Reno conducted her duties "in an appropriate
"Appropriate?" Apt? Fit? Proper?
Youngsters, whose curiosity dwells on specifics, will also want to
know what the President meant when he said federal officials "had
reason to believe that the children who were still inside the
compound were being abused significantly."
"Reason to believe" is not the same as having reasons, or facts, as
any adolescent will tell you when a parent uses that phrase. ("I have
reason to believe you're smoking pot," is not the same as "Gotcha!")
FBI officials say, despite White House assertions, they had no recent
evidence of child abuse.
Children, who are taught to gather as much information as possible
before coming to a conclusion, might not understand exactly why the
President spoke to Janet Reno for only 15 minutes before he gave her
the OK to gas the Branch Davidians. "I didn't have a four or five
hour detailed briefing by the FBI," the President said. Well, why
not? Presidents are busy people, of course, but gas is not healthy
We hear that we live in a violent society, that children who watch a
lot of television violence may grow up to be aggressive and violent.
What must our children make of government-sanctioned abuse of children
to save them from abuse?
George Stephanopoulos, the White House spokesman, justified the
assault because "it is very, very clear that those children were
being abused, that they were being held against their will.
Protecting the kids was the ultimate rationale for going in."
Fearless Fosdick couldn't have said it better.
[no evidence of child abuse was found during an eight-month
investigation of the church, PRIOR to the government assalt that
killed the children they claimed they were worried about.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank