I'm surprised you didn't make your case on the basis that they owned an "arsenal" They were after all "extreme right wing" "religious fanatics"
Would you actually contend that they were not
a apocalyptic death cult armed for armageddon? That Koresh wasn't
a messianic nutcase? That Koresh wasn't
having children with 12 yr old girls? (Be careful, there's DNA evidence.)
I suppose you could
call them "religious," just as you could
call the Heaven's Gate cultists "religious." But I wouldn't. I would call them tragically delusional cultists.
What unfolded there was truly awful. Nobody deserved to die. Koresh deserved prison, but not death. His brainwashed minions deserved psychological help, not death.
Let's see what the official investigations revealed.
1996 congressional report
* "Who fired the first shot on February 28th cannot decisively be resolved given the limited testimony presented to the Subcommittees. It appears more likely, however, that the Davidians fired first as the ATF agents began to enter the residence."
* "No shots were fired from the helicopters at the Branch Davidian residence."
* "Koresh sexually abused minor females at the residence."
* "It also appears certain that Koresh employed severe physical punishments as a means of disciplining the children."
* "On April 19th multiple fires began in different places inside the Branch Davidian residence and that they were deliberately set by the Davidians themselves."
* "Some opportunity existed for the Davidians to safely leave the structure had they wanted to do so."
1999 Federal wrongful death lawsuit
The plaintiffs alleged that the government was responsible for the deaths of Davidians within the compound. The trial concluded in July 2000. After two hours of deliberation the jury sided fully with the government against any claims of excessive force and negligence. Specifically, the jury said that evidence showed the ATF did not fire indiscriminately during the initial raid, that the FBI did not cause the fire and did not violate orders by not having firefighters immediately on hand.
1999 Danforth investigation
After 10 months, which included interviews with about 900 witnesses, the examination of 2.3 million pages of documents and an expense of between $10 million to $11 million dollars Danforth concluded with "100 percent certainty" that the FBI did not start the fire or shoot at cult members during the fire. He further stated, "There are no doubts in my mind," and concluded, "The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of David Koresh." The Danforth Report published in November 2000 unequivocally reaffirmed the conclusions previously submitted July 21, 2000 in his Special Interim Report, which cited the following five points:
1. Government agents did not start the fire at Waco;
2. Government agents did not shoot at the Branch Davidians on April 19, 1993;
3. Government agents did not improperly use the United States military;
4. Government agents did not engage in a massive conspiracy and cover-up. There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Attorney General Reno, the present and former Director of the FBI, other high officials of the United States, or the individual members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team who fired three pyrotechnic tear gas rounds on April 19, 1993.
5. Responsibility for the tragedy at Waco rests with certain of the Branch Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, who shot and killed four ATF agents, wounded twenty others, shot at FBI agents trying to insert tear gas into the complex, burned down the complex, and shot at least twenty of their own people, including five children.
2003 Federal appeal
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an attempt by the survivors to collect damages from the government.
2004 Supreme Court
The nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear their appeal, which questioned the conduct of a judge involved in lawsuits over the Branch Davidian siege outside Waco.