Waco TV Mini-Series — A Review

A week or so ago, I asked my friends to send me interesting Wikipedia articles. One of them was about the Waco siege in 1993, a brutal confrontation between the FBI and members of a religious sect called the Branch Davidians.

The Wikipedia article is incredibly thorough and paints a detailed picture of the events leading up to the siege. Like many FBI interventions, Waco has a lot of mystery and unknowns surrounding all of the events, which makes it a perfect candidate for a TV mini-series.

The series does a good job explaining the conflict from the side of the FBI and the side of the Branch Davidians. The story revolves around the FBI who are coordinating the negotiations with David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians. Koresh, a young 33 year old born in Texas claims himself to be the communicator between God and his people. He starts this cult and brings many to live on a compound in Waco, Texas. As the leader, Koresh has several wives, and many children with these wives. This, along with the existence of guns on their property is what is claimed to be the main reasons for the FBI to take interest in the Branch Davidians.

I thought the most interesting part of the series involved the main phone negotiator from the FBI, Gary Noesner. As the conflict escalates, there are clear tensions between resolving it with violence or with words. It causes a lot of stress for the FBI internally, and it is documented very well in the show. I was very intrigued by the art of phone negotiation, a seemingly simplistic act that has the power to solve incredibly large conflicts.

Although some parts of the series is dramatized, I think it did a very good job capturing the complexities of the conflict. I also thought it brought to light the power of the US government and how that power can be very easily turned against its own people. It has sparked some interest in me to look more deeply into how the US government has used tanks and guns against its own people in the past.

If you are looking for a little bit of dramatized US history to spice up your quarantine, I would highly recommend this series.



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