Episode 66: Waco Siege

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On this episode, we explore the Branch Davidians, their leader, David Koresh, and the deadly siege at Waco, Texas. This was one of the biggest conspiracies of the 1990s, and the story is full of bizarre and exciting twists. The Davidians started in the 1930s and grew to be an apocalyptic cult that preached that the world’s government was run by the devil and that the Davidians would all die as soldiers against the devil’s government soldiers in a storm of fire. They got most of that right, as it turns out. When Koresh took over in 1983, the power struggle involved an attempt to exhume a corpse and resurrect it. You read that right…

After a box of hand grenades was discovered by a delivery driver, a 51 day siege of the compound known as Mt. Carmel started. First the ATF attempted to arrest Koresh and serve a search warrant, but it ended in a deadly gunfight. We discuss this and the details of the 51 day siege, looking closely at what the Davidians did wrong and what the FBI did wrong. The siege culminated in a prolonged gunfight, a day-long assault of tear gas, and the compound burning to the ground with an estimated 80 Davidians (over 20 children) still inside. Who started the fire? Was it the cult members or the FBI? What lies did the FBI tell congress and Janet Reno (there were plenty). Where did President Clinton and Hillary Clinton come in? Did Delta Force secretly kill all the people on the compound? This story is a strange one, and the debate gets rather heated this time around. You won’t want to miss it. Thanks to listener Stephen Thunderdome for the topic suggestion of cults and cult leaders!

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