Other residents of Mt. Carmel had regular jobs in the surrounding communities. Many people from all over the world came to Mt. Carmel to reside there temporarily while studying the Bible with David Koresh.
Some years before the raid, there had been a political power struggle between Koresh and a rival for the leadership of the Branch Davidians. When Koresh became victorious, members of the losing faction contacted the authorities with stories that Koresh hoarded illegal arms and engaged in unorthodox marital practices with women. Further allegations of child abuse arose against David Koresh from a custody dispute involving Branch Davidian Sherri Jewel and her ex-husband.
These complaints against David Koresh found their way to the US Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF or ATF). The BATF has the statutory authority to collect taxes on firearms possessed, purchased, or traded. Hence, it was this gun business that provided the pretext for the action, and it was the BATF, or ATF as it is often called, that provided the front for the operation.
According the the Treasury Report, allegations were made that David Koresh was converting regular guns into machine guns, and that he possessed machine guns for which he did not have a license. Non-US visitors should know that it is legal to own a machine gun in the US provided one has paid the tax. The tax levied on machine gun ownership is US $200.
Despite the minor nature of the alleged offense, and despite the known presence of men, women and children who were not involved in the gun business, only two methods of serving a search warrant were considered: raid, and siege (Treasury Report, pg. 43).
It is of interest that at the time of the action against the Branch Davidians, there was no legal limit on the number of guns Texans could own. At the time of the raid, Texans owned an average of four guns each; and 16,600 Texans legally owned machine guns. In order to own a machine gun legally, the owner had only to pay a tax to the ATF. Kevin S. Van Horn, Assault on Waco (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It was on the basis of this relatively minor tax on guns that the assault, siege, and death of approximately 80 Americans, including many children, took place.
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Many people who distrust the mainstream media have turned to alternate news sources, some of which are Internet based. Unfortunately, many of these alternate sources of news simply promote an alternate series of lies. These alternate lies are of course dressed up as "exposés." But you can easily tell the phonies from the real thing. The information in the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum is an acid test.
Does your news source promote Mike McNulty's video, Waco: The Rules of Engagement or wring its hands because the Davidian law suit against the government failed? (See Waco Documentary Is A Hoax! and Waco Suits for Waco Suckers.) Does your alternate news source carry promotional pieces about rebuilding the Davidian church in Waco and mouth nice words about "healing"? (See The Cover-up Church.)
Remember, since ancient times, inquiries into questionable deaths have started with the bodies of the victims. If your news source won't give you an honest and full account of the forensic information on Waco, or if it does not have a link to the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum ... your alternate news has failed a fundamental acid test.
All original material is copyright 1996-2000 by Carol A. Valentine,
on loan to Public Action, Inc.
Postal Address: Carol A. Valentine, PO Box 10933, Burke, VA 22009
This page last updated February 28, 2001.