Research Paper

Research paper for The ATF and the Branch Davidians. (APA7 format, 5-6 pages including the cover and references)

The ATF and the Branch Davidians

Executive Summary

Abstract: Twenty-seven years ago, a fatal event in US law enforcement’s history started in the suburbs of Waco, Texas. The clash between the Branch Davidians (an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church) and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) at the Davidians Mount Carmel headquarters, resulted in four federal agents being killed during the raid. Following the unsuccessful ATF raid, a tear-gas assault on the compound was approved. On April 19th, 1993, the Branch Davidians were asked to surrender. However, the compound was set on fire by cult members and more than seventy people died. After the event, media houses quickly considered the Branch Davidians a “cult” with their leader, David Koresh, labeled insane. The term “Waco” became synonymous with a stalemate in the imagination of the public. The city official has worked to eliminate this association.

Background: Generally, the Branch Davidians are regarded to be a splinter team of the Seventh Day Adventists. Victor Houteff founded it in 1934. Houteff moved to the borders of Waco, Texas, in 1935, where he began a community. The religious group established itself as celebrating the second coming of Christ. After Houteff passed in 1955, his wife Florence became the group leader and anticipated that the Second Coming would happen on 22nd April 1959. When this did not occur, most of the group was divided under Ben Roden’s leadership and formed a new cluster referred to as the Branch Davidians. With the new group, Roden bought the property, which later became the Mt. Carmel Center. The leadership of the group was passed to Lois, Ben’s wife, after his death. Lois also died in 1986. A battle for management of the Branch Davidians between Lois’ son George and Vernon Howell followed. Vernon became the leader of the Branch Davidians.

Discussion: Due to their belief in the second coming of Christ, they separated themselves from the world of non-Christians and became passionate about the earthly mortalities and the world’s end. Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh between 1987 and 1993 and established complete control over the group. They managed to obtain followers from the United States, Australia, Israel, and Great Britain. Eventually, Koresh proclaimed he was the “Lamb of God” and was chosen to analyze the seven seals. However, Koresh had intimate relations with a smaller group of “canal wives” aged between ten to 14 years. Due to his extensive Bible knowledge, including the attempt to interpret the seven seals and predict the World’s end, his supporters were convinced of his superiority. They believed he could unlock the future, and enforcing the law was the start of the end of times.

The federal government negotiated with Koresh for 51 days and attempted to lead his supporters out of the compound. The attempts were futile and frustrating. The federal authorities even questioned whether such dialogues would be considered negotiations. This formed the basis of the tragedy that happened between February 28th and April 19th, 1993. When the federal agents reached the scene on the afternoon of February 28th, the Branch Davidians thought that the ATF had satisfied Koresh’s prophecies and had gestured to the looming end of the world. The assault happened on April 19th, 1993. The raid was predicated on the suspected crime that the Branch Davidians had illegal arms.

Recommendations: One recommendation was to evaluate the duties and the hostage dialogues in solving similar issues. Secondly, the competence of interaction among various elements in a conflict, especially between the discussing strategic elements. This could be evaluated through the process of meeting and assessment information. Finally, the need to rotate the crisis management groups should be examined if the confrontation becomes extended.

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