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Fiery Deaths at Waco Compound

April 26, 1993

April 19 will live as a day of shame for this nation. On this day the agents of our federal government willfully caused the deaths of over 80 people, including some 20 children. Whether or not one agrees with the beliefs or actions of the members of the Branch Davidians, no one deserves such a fate. Whether the fire was set by the cult members themselves, by accident, or by the federal agents, it was foreseeable and therefore preventable.

The attorney general herself has publicly stated that she was aware of the possibility of mass suicide. I submit that the government was at least guilty of incompetence; at worst, conspiracy to commit murder. If the authorities believed that suicide was possible, how could they proceed with such a provocation? Even without that possibility, how could they subject women and children to the horrors of that kind of attack?

As an American, I feel much more threatened by the Gestapo tactics of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and FBI agents than by anything the Branch Davidians, in all of their lunacy, have done. Who is next? Few will agree with the philosophy or the principles espoused by Koresh. The tragedy is that few will condemn his murderers.

ANDREW M. HANLEN

Long Beach

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