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The Clask Between the FBI and the Branch Davidian Cult - Research Paper Example

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ften considered to be a cult, the Branch Davidians were a small religious group led by David Koresh. In 1993, a clash between the group and the FBI turned violent and resulted in the deaths of several on each side and a prolonged siege. …
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The Clask Between the FBI and the Branch Davidian Cult
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Download file to see previous pages This concluded with an initiative from the FBI which involved gas grenades being thrown into the structure. At least 75 members of the cult died in the resulting fire. This essay considers the role which the FBI played in this confrontation, whether the results needed to occur the way they did, whether there was bias involved and who is to blame for the deaths. It is proposed that the FBI acted in a more violent manner than was needed and did not consider alternative options. As a consequence, the tragedy that occurred may have been avertable. History The Branch Davidians are a religious group that grew from the Seventh-day Adventist church. The cult was founded by Victor Houteff in 1930 following being exiled from the Seventh-day Adventists. Houteffin took the passage in revelation which reveals that 144,000 will be saved. The term Davidian came from Houteffin’s belief that he would establish a new kingdom in the manner to that of King David in the Old Testament, and that he himself was similar to David. This group existed as the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association until 1960. At this point in time Houteffin had been dead for five years and his wife had taken control of the association. She prophesied that the 22nd of April, 1959 was a day that was marked in revelation, which could possibly represent the return of Christ, the beginning of judgments on the world, and the beginning of the Davidic kingdom. The day passed without incident and this resulted in disillusionment by many of the followers, eventually resulting in the total collapse of the cult. Following the dissolution of the cult, Benjamin Roden built a faction claiming that the sign that was meant to occur on the April 22 was his arrival. He named this the Branch Davidians, and led the group until his death in 1978. Following this leadership passed to his wife, and then to their son, George, on her death. George considered himself to be divinely appointed, and eventually considered himself to be the messiah. Like Houteffin, Vernon Howell (also known as David Koresh) was originally from a Seventh-day Adventist Church. He entered the compound of the Branch Davidians in 1981, clashing consistently with Roden. The tension between the two eventually led to Koresh leaving the compound, and subsequently joined by other members of the group. The conflict did not cease, and in 1987 it culminated in a night raid by Koresh and seven followers of the Roden compound. Roden claimed that Koresh was attempting to murder him, yet despite this claim, Koresh and his men were not sentenced, while Roden was incarcerated for six months.This incarceration gave Koresh the chance to assume leadership of the compound. It was at this compound, in 1993 that a violent and bloody clash occurred between the Branch Davidians and the FBI. The Conflict On April 19, 1993 a confrontation took place between members of the Branch Davidian cult and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) at the Waco, Texas Branch Davidian compound. The aim of the raid was to look for evidence of child abuse by David Koresh, and to search for illegal weapons which were suspected to be on the premises. The raid resulted in violence and exchange of gunfire where six cult members and four agents were killed. This prompted a 51 day standoff between the cult members and the BATF, who were quickly replaced with the FBI. This stalemate was ended with a second raid, which resulted in the compound being burnt and at least 75 members of the cult were killed a third of which were children under the age of 15. Koresh was also killed in the fire .The outcome of the raid prompted many different responses, with some people blaming the FBI for the death of the cult members, while others considered that the Branch ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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