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From: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
To: Hallam-Baker <hallam@ai.mit.edu>
Message Hash: a4183a8e5793b5f2dc934de612030a2f0f84adcb07f1bd8711bd8ff2729e7f91
Message ID: <>
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UTC Datetime: 1997-06-07 06:48:56 UTC
Raw Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 14:48:56 +0800

Raw message

From: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 14:48:56 +0800
To: Hallam-Baker <hallam@ai.mit.edu>
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 05:13 PM 6/4/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Give it a rest. The people inside had already murdered several BATF
>agents. They had every opportunity to release the children and allow
>them to get to safety. They had every opportunity to surrender.

Phill, I'm really appalled at this posting of yours.
When a bunch of armed marked people storm your house with assault rifles
and grenades, without warning you to come out first,
and you shoot back at them, that's not murder.  That's self-defense.
It may be stupid - there's a lot to be said for lying on the floor
with your hands over your head, which will make the armed assault force
feel slightly guilty if they shoot you in the back - but it's
not murder, and it's not anything resembling murder.
If the BATF killed any of the Davidians in the incident, _that_ would 
have been murder.  
	[If, as some people contend, some of the four dead assailants were 
	actually killed by friendly fire, that wouldn't have been murder
	either, that would have been an accident.  And since the leader
	of the attack force knew he'd probably lost the element of surprise,
	he was clearly negligent in protecting his men.]

Even if the Davidians knew, and they apparently did,
that an armed gang was about to storm their house without warning,
that's still self-defense, not murder.  Waving a white flag out the window
before the attackers have a chance to sneak up and storm you
would probably embarass or confuse them, but the Davidians had no
reason to trust that the assault force would respect it
and not just shoot them anyway -- and besides, while the Davidians
had fewer guns per person than the average Texan, they were
paranoid wackos, and surrendering before being attacked isn't the
kind of thing you expect paranoid wackos to think of at dawn
after being warned by a phone call.
>The US police may be incompetent and corrupt but that does not excuse
>the Oaklahoma bombing nor does it in any way lessen the responsibility of
>McVeigh and those who encouraged him.

I didn't say the people who disagreed with you on this list
weren't engaging in macho flash rhetoric here :-)

>Only I think that the SAS is probably better experienced.

Not just the SAS - even the FBI said after the first wave of attacks that,
unlike the BATF, they really try not to lead armed assaults
when there are women and children in the way.  By a couple of months
later, the political pressure had become strong enough that they
decided to do it anyway, but at least at first they were embarassed
about the situation their colleagues had gotten them into.
The US military has better-trained people also, but there's a very strong
tradition against using the US military for domestic incidents -
our so-called Civil War has really soured us on that.

But whether you're looking at the SAS, Marines, BATF, Delta Force,
or FBI Hostage Rescue Team, the mission wasn't something a 
military assault force is right for - that sort of thing is fine for 
rescuing hostages from terrorists, or killing terrorists before
they set off bombs or shoot the neighbors.  But the legal objective
of the police should have been to inform the Davidians that the
police want to search their house, or that they were wanted in court, 
or maybe even to arrest them if there was enough evidence to convince a 
judge to sign an arrest warrant.  What can a military do?  
Shoot the adults for refusing to surrender, while trying not to shoot the 
kids too?  Militias can do things like keep the Davidians from running 
away when the police knock on their door, but there probably wasn't enough 
evidence of a crime to justify an arrest, certainly not of anyone but
Koresh, and if everybody _did_ run away, that would make searching their
house to get evidence of contraband possession easier.

>> The Feds could have done in 1993 what they've done since 
>> (Koresh wasn't the  only one who got burned there) and 
>yeah peacefull types whose response to a visit from the police was to
>lie in ambush and shoot at them with automatic weapons.
>So are you suggesting that the police ignore the complaints of illegal
>ownership of firearms and child abuse?

Again, the Davidian's response was stupid, but this wasn't a 
"visit from the police", this was an assault force that shot first
while they were storming the house at dawn.

The local sheriff had visited the house the previous year
to respond to allegations of potential child abuse.
Came up, knocked on the door, they let him in, everybody talked,
he decided there was no evidence of criminal child abuse,
just weird religious and personality-cult.  No problem.
If he'd wanted to do the same again, he could have,
and he could have done something similar for the weapons charge.
If they _had_ checked, they'd have found that one of the
residents was a licensed firearm dealer, and could have checked 
his records, which he's legally required to keep and present.
No need to storm somebody's house just because you're worried that
they might flush a couple of pieces of metal down the toilet
when they see you coming - it's not like it's DOPE or something.

Also, if he'd wanted to arrest Koresh, he could have done it in town,
or when the guy was out jogging, which was daily.

>And in any case the point is that Waco does not absolve McVeigh and
>the militias for the blame for Oaklahoma.

The militias??  Phill, the only militia that McVeigh was part of was
the US Army.  Sure, they're one of the world's leading terrorist 
organizations, and they probably should have noticed that he was a wacko 
and kicked him out, like the Michigan Militia had the sense to do, 
rather than training him to be a gung-ho killer, but sometimes you
don't realize what somebody's like or what Army training will do to them.
And besides, I've had friends who were Army recruiters, and when you've
got a quota to make, you'll take anybody who can write "X" and
knows how to make a fist.

As far as blame for Waco goes, Janet Reno has said it's all hers.
Janet Reno, who started the wave of minority church burnings in the South,
just had the GALL to make a speech talking about all the good things 
she's been doing to stop that sort of thing.  Not about how she's
personally responsible and has been trying to rehabilitate herself,
but about how other people are evil and need to be stopped.
<expletive deleted>!  Hypocrite.  I don't know if 1-888-ATF-FIRE
is still running, but y'all are free to call up and rat on her.

#			Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, +1-415-442-2215 stewarts@ix.netcom.com
# You can get PGP outside the US at ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto/pgp
#   (If this is a mailing list or news, please Cc: me on replies.  Thanks.)