Wacos At Waco Essay

In studying millenarian movements many theories have attempted to explain the behavior of past groups who believe the end of the world is soon approaching. Historically, these accounts have been brought to light mostly by second-hand accounts. Yet these movements have continued until the present day, allowing us to collect information about similar millenarian movements through current observations, and comparing them with the societies, events, and people who led these movements in the past. As the year 2000 approaches, the words millennium, antichrist, and Armageddon have become commonplace in our every day lives. While this happening, we are made aware of this shift in our cultural conciseness and compare current movements to past theories of millenarianism in order to better understand the place these beliefs hold in our culture. The fateful events that revealed David Koresh to the world are exciting because the Waco disaster was similar to historical events and enhanced our understanding of what is known about millennial groups. The harshness of the events that occurred there are worth noting for more than their sensationalism. (A)The Waco events demonstrated how our government reacts to movements it sees as threatening to the social norm, and resulted in such dire consequences as to suggest that all the studies that have been done on millenarianism up until now are not considered deeply enough. (B)The available literature on the Waco events also suggests that the prophet status held by David Koresh in relation to the group was powerful enough to overcome societal pressures to conform to more acceptable beliefs. (C)Finally, the Waco believers ultimately had a marked political effect that draws more conservative believers to hold fast to their millennial beliefs. Waco movement had political impact- gained suspicion from government, had power to arouse fear- Why?***Second point to discuss. Such as: the role of prophets in the ___ movement.***why power- was due to prophet status given by group to Koresh –explain how he gave strength and power to affect government to this movement- lead to society***Third point to discuss. Such as: The relationship of the group’s millennial ideas and dogma to social change.***waco movement was able to cause social change-why leader, power, resistance ,disillusionment of members in current society about there way of life(hopeless)***
Several biblical experts were called onto the seen during the conflict at Waco. One of these experts, James Tabor wrote his account of the happenings at Waco. In his article “Religious Discourse and Failed Negotiations, The Dynamics of Biblical Apocalypticism at Waco” asserts that the government reacted to the actions of David Koresh without taking into account what he was truly trying to accomplish. If this was seriously considered, according to the observations of James Tabor, the conflict at Waco could have been resolved without the harsh actions of the BATF.. Initial live interviews with Koresh were very revealing if studied. Koresh believed himself to be the “Christ” that would be able to interpret the seven scrolls referred to in the bible as one of the events preceding the end of the world. The government approached the situation as a hostage rescue situation, when infect they were acting out the beliefs that Koresh was teaching would occur before the end of the world. The thing that the government had missed was that no one in the compound had in the past or the present perceived themselves to be a hostage of Koresh, instead the did feel themselves hostages of the U.S. government.

The government reacted to Koresh and his followers violently because thy perceived him to be an insane con-artist with no chance of changing his views. The way Koresh spoke contributed to this, but why was he seen to be such a threat as to allow the government to deal with him with such extreme force? The ability of Koresh to be a charismatic leader allowed him to surpass the authority of many traditional forms of authority. Max Weber characterizes this type of authority as “…a certain quality of an individual or personality by virtue of which he is considered extraordinary and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a ‘leader’.” By all accounts and of his followers and the media coverage he received, Koresh was an exceptionally intricate speaker when it came to interpreting his understanding of the bible. Because his interpretations were extreme and based on fundamentalist ideologies, government psychologists and experts interpreted this to be the ramblings of an insane man. It cannot be denied, however, that the people who followed him perceived him to be endowed with a supernatural ability to recite and decipher the meanings of the most complex bible passages. To a fundamentalist this very ability did seem to be exemplary and therefore “true” believers felt compelled to follow his teachings. There have been many prophets refereed to in the bible and it is not a far stretch to believe in a present day prophet, especially if his preaching seemed to be such infallible truths to his followers. This disregard for the traditional authority of the federal government inflamed the situation. This also caused the government figures to act more aggressively because of this disregard. Reacting to the actions of a “crazy” man seems shortsighted. Why didn’t the government allow alternative methods to be carried out? Time was a definite concern at this point.

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The tragedy at Waco was remarkably similar to the events that occurred at Wounded Knee. Just like the battle of Wounded Knee, the events that occurred there have effected our society to this day. The harshness of the government causes people who feel an attachment to these causes to become strongly attached to there cause. Peter Worsely states: The cults thus serve as an expression of reaction against what is felt as oppression by another class or nationality.” Having strong beliefs in this modern American culture that are directly opposed to the popular common beliefs of the culture causes anxiety and feelings of oppression. Although these feelings of oppression may seem unfounded to many outside observers it is necessary to realize that these beliefs stem not from the isolated events in one persons life, but from the concept that the followers of Koresh felt they belonged to a narrative that was as old as the bible. Michael Carrithers states that it is important to realize how a person may fell deprived of a past or present by aligning themselves with a narrative that belongs to past ancestors or groups. “…the temporal and social perspectives are intimately involved with each other.” “Moreover, these gradually attained characteristic of persons occur in a mutually constructed flow of events extending beyond any one person’s life cycle into the past and the future.” This can bee seen through the actions of many Indian groups who are still trying to see recognition from the US government to this day for past injustices that seem unclear in a look at the present American culture. This shows that people are attached to the narrative of the groups they relate to, persecution for one’s political and religious beliefs is a tradition that has existed for numerous centuries and was the biases for the founding of the United States of America.
Summary paragraph reiterates the main idea from each of the preceding paragraphs.

A. Point 1.

B. Point 2.

C. Point 3.

D. Restate main idea (different wording) from paragraph 1.

You’re perspective on the main points.

What your ultimate conclusion is based on the readings and discussion of the group this paper is about. State your opinion, subtly but firmly.Final concluding sentence (I like to relate it mildly to the opening sentence of the essay.)


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