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We are somehow able to ignore the contrary evidence -- never mind the fact that the FBI waited for 51 days without firing a shot, never mind the evidence that the Branch Davidians started the fire, never mind that the FBI agents risked their own lives in efforts to rescue the Davidians -- and we buy into the notion that the government would deliberately kill 80 people in a burning building." Meanwhile, obscured by the conspiracy theories was the sinister, inexplicable reality.Teachers, lawyers, college professors, social workers, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters had fallen under Koresh's spell, surrendering their money, wives and daughters, and ultimately their lives in fiery deaths.
The fires at Mount Carmel became visible around noon, six hours after the FBI began to fire tear gas into the compound and break down walls with armored vehicles.
Four federal agents were killed in a bloody gunbattle with the cultists that Sunday, and 20 more were wounded. By that evening, the muddy encampment called Satellite City had sprouted nearby.
Hundreds of reporters from around the world loitered for the next six weeks, eating Salvation Army doughnuts, getting haircuts, practicing their golf swings, and chronicling a darkly comic cat-and-mouse game between Koresh and FBI negotiators. "David Koresh has admitted he's not really Jesus but actually is a disgruntled postal employee." Most assumed that the nuts near Waco would eventually come marching out. While the siege droned on, I was working on a book about Koresh, talking to people around the world with firsthand acquaintance.
The reason became apparent when Pace started talking about Koresh. The Branch Davidians had begun as an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists. He learned of the Branch Davidians in the 1960s through their literature, and he moved to the United States to pursue the faith in 1966.
Pace, a sect member since the 1970s, said he confronted Koresh after hearing him preach in 1984. A lot of information has come out since then." We pulled into the park and sat at a table with a fine view of the Brazos River. Through much of the 1970s, the Branch Davidians lived quietly in the Central Texas countryside, led by an older woman named Lois Roden. The fact that he had memorized so much of the Bible? "She made her own choice based on her Bible studies." "But Clive, she was 18," I said.