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Texas Matters: The seige at Waco and today's anti-government movement

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It was 30 years ago that the Branch Davidian compound went up in flames after a 51-day armed stand-off by the AFT, the FBI and Texas state law enforcement.

With the world watching, the fire ignited and spread through the building after the FBI launched tear gas canisters into the compound.

The blaze resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh – the leader of the cult. Also, in the doomed firefight that started the siege, four federal agents were killed.

The dramatic and tragic events from start to finish played out on Americans' TV sets. And they continue to inspire anti-government activists who question the need for the raid and assign nefarious motives to the inept bungling decisions of the federal authorities who conducted the siege.

Investigative reporter and bestselling author Jeff Guinn documents the rotten leadership that caused this tragic confrontation. And Guinn charts how the siege in Waco has caused other tragic events like the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City and the Jan 6 “Stop the Steal” storming of the U.S. Capitol.

His new book is “Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and A Legacy of Rage.”

It features never-before-seen documents, photographs, and interviews about the Branch Davidian siege and stand-off.

Revelations in this book include why the FBI chose to end the siege with the use of CS gas; how both ATF and FBI officials tried and failed to cover up their agencies’ mistakes; where David Koresh plagiarized his infamous prophecies; and direct links between the Branch Davidian tragedy and the modern militia movement in America. Notorious liar and conspiracist Alex Jones is a part of the Waco story.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi