” The Davidians were accused of several transgressions, accusations that helped in their demonization and served to rationalize the raid in the first place. They allegedly had a meth lab, which no one seriously believed, since this was based on the Davidians having reported the remains of a meth lab from years ago when they moved in. But the drug connection allowed for exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act and the use of military hardware in the siege. They were accused of stockpiling weapons, although at least one Davidian was a licensed weapons dealer. And eventually the focus fell on Koresh’s alleged abuse of children.
As bad as February 28, 1993, should have been for ATF’s public relations, in the long run it didn’t hurt at all. In the midst of Sandy Hook, progressives from Rachel Maddow to John Stewart focused on the ATF’s supposed underfunding and insufficient personnel. Maddow even depicted the agency’s behavior at Waco as heroic.
In the last 20 years, the militarization of domestic policing has only ramped up—the drug war, the terror war, gun confiscations and martial law after Katrina, an explosion in prison populations and spending on local policing, military weaponry in the hands of law enforcement, concentration camps for illegal immigrants, internal checkpoints, SWAT raids unleashed on mostly non-violent Americans about one hundred times a day. Police kill about one American every day, and even if you think 90% of them deserve it, the sheer enormity of this situation deserves unrelenting scrutiny if not revolutionary outrage, not the yawns or outright support that we see instead.
When the LAPD dealt with Chris Dorner earlier this month by surrounding him in a wooden cabin, launching CS gas and incendiary devices, and reportedly blocking his escape, it was carrying out a policy of instant summary execution, and the tactics were all too familiar. The officers had even told the media to look away, and all too many journalists were eager to oblige. And the people seemed glad to have one more killer off the street, unconcerned about the innocents hit in the police department’s reckless rampage to hunt down Dorner and kill him, as though they are properly judge, jury, and executioner.”