Matt Giwer (c) 1994 <2/21>
As time passes old defenses of the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms return as though newly discovered rather
than long discounted. The one before us now and apparently
unmentioned even at the trial is that the government attempted
peaceful warrant service and were fired upon.
Now I am not going to say I am an expert upon what the media
finds newsworthy. Much less am I expert upon the amount of local
news in Waco, Texas. However, I can not see the media showing up
to cover a man knocking on a door to serve a search warrant. It
lacks a certain pizzaz, know what I mean?
Wait a minute. It was supposed to be more dramatic than
that? It really was supposed to be covering one hundred,
unidentified, screaming, armed men throwing grenades and shooting
dogs? That would have sort of a Rambo-esque quality about it.
But I do not see Rambo shooting dogs or throwing grenades.
His defense in the first movie was "They drew first blood."
Otherwise he was a peaceful man. Psychotic perhaps but quite
This leaves the peaceful search warrant service idea a touch
hollow. It is in the mind of the people on the receiving end of
such treatment whether they were in reasonable fear of their
lives. In that regard let us look at it from the inside looking
It appears they did know that something was going to happen
that morning. There is no evidence that at any time they knew
what was going to happen or who was going to do it. The first
indication was the above described men streaming out of horse
These men start off shooting your dogs and throwing grenades
at you. They climb up on your roof, break your windows and come
streaming in those windows. They even throw grenades and shoot
into those windows. None of these men attempts to serve a
warrant or even identify themselves to you or what business they
might have on your property. They simply come in shooting and
Some people this to be acceptable behavior on the part of
the government. Others hold it should only be done to people
like Koresh without identifying what a "Koresh-like" person is in
the first place. There are finally those who hold the government
has no right to do such a thing without justification and
certainly the government has introduced no justification.
Siding with this third group in a similar case where a
grenade was used to initiate the service of a search warrant is
the Florida Supreme Court holding such service to be improper and
sufficient grounds for overturning the resulting conviction. The
difference in the cases is only who shot first. As the BATF plan
was to shoot the dogs it is reasonable to presume they were
shooting the dogs in addition to throwing grenades. It is not
reasonable that grenades plus gunshots is presumably worse than
Of course a Florida Supreme Court decision is not binding
upon the Texas Courts. It is given only as an indication of
senior judicial thinking in a similar matter. The Texas case
appears to have been worse than occurred in Florida.
First there was gunfire in addition to grenades. There was
grenade throwing into the house. There was breaking into the
building and forcible entry followed by more grenades into the
building and this time gunfire into the building that was not in
self defense. Were there in fact convictions all around on all
charges the defective warrant service would certainly suggest the
strong possibility of the convictions being overturned.