Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict

Front Cover
Stuart A. Wright
University of Chicago Press, Sep 20, 1995 - Social Science - 394 pages
1 Review
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in central Texas. One hundred agents armed with automatic and semi automatic weapons invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; four agents were killed, and by the end of the day the settlement was surrounded by armored tanks and combat helicopters. After a fifty-one day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved a plan to use CS gas against those barricaded inside. Whether by accident or plan, tanks carrying the CS gas caused the compound to explode in fire, killing all seventy-four men, women, and children inside.

Could the tragedy have been prevented? Was it necesary for the BATF agents to do what they did? What could have been done differently? Armageddon in Waco offers the most detailed, wide-ranging analysis of events surrounding Waco. Leading scholars in sociology, history, law, and religion explore all facets of the confrontation in an attempt to understand one of the most confusing government actions in American history.

The book begins with the history of the Branch Davidians and the story of its leader, David Koresh. Chapters show how the Davidians came to trouble authorities, why the group was labeled a "cult," and how authorities used unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse to strengthen their case against the sect.

The media's role is examined next in essays that considering the effect on coverage of lack of time and resources, the orchestration of public relations by government officials, the restricted access to the site or to countervailing evidence, and the ideologies of the journalists themselves. Several contributors then explore the relation of violence to religion, comparing Waco to Jonestown.

Finally, the role played by "experts" and "consultants" in defining such conflicts is explored by two contributors who had active roles as scholarly experts during and after the siege The legal and consitutional implications of the government's actions are also analyzed in balanced, clearly written detail.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict

User Review  - Elizabeth - Goodreads

This volume includes 1 or 2 excellent pieces on the Branch Davidians and their standoff with the FBI/ATF. The others just aren't that interesting or illuminating. Read full review

Contents

PART TWO SOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT OF CONFLICT
73
PART THREE MEDIA COVERAGE AND PUBLIC OPINION
151
PART FOUR APOCALYPTICISM RELIGIOUS MARGINALITY AND VIOLENCE
203
PART FIVE SCHOLARS EXPERTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
261
PART SIX LEGAL AND POLICY ISSUES
297
Appendix Branch Davidians Who Died at Mt Carmel
379
List of Contributors
383
Index
389
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Fan Cultures
Matt Hills
No preview available - 2002
All Book Search results »

About the author (1995)

Stuart A. Wright is the Assistant Dean for the College of Graduate Studies and Research and a Professor of Sociology at Lamar University. Dr Wright received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 1983. He is the author of Leaving Cults: The Dynamics of Defection and editor of Armageddon in Waco. He has published more than thirty articles or book chapters in scholarly venues and has become a widely recognized expert and legal consultant. Dr Wright worked with US Congressional subcommittees in 1995 investigating the government's role in the Waco siege and testified in House hearings. Following the highly publicized hearings, he was retained as a consultant by defense attorneys in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh. Dr Wright has received numerous grants and research awards.

Bibliographic information