In 1993 A religious group called the Branch Davidians believed that the end of the world was near and stockpiled illegal weapons in a compound near Waco, Texas. When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms learned of the illegal weapons in February of that year, they sought and received a search warrant to raid the compound.
The raid resulted in the deaths of four government officials and six Branch Davidians. The ATF raid was considered a failure. Shortly thereafter, the FBI began a fifty-one day siege of the compound. On April 19th the US government led a final assault against the compound using tanks and tear gas. In the course of the raid, the compound caught fire and in the end 76 people, including the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh died. Many Americans followed the Waco siege nightly on the news. When the FBI finally broke in, it was broadcast live on television, adding to the controversy.
- What should the government do under circumstances where people refuse to obey the orders of law enforcement?
- Does it make a difference that the Branch Davidians were a religious organization?
- If you were defending the Branch Davidians in court, which constitutional rights would you argue were violated by the FBI?
Smith, Gregory/Corbis Historical. Digital Image. ThoughtCo. April, 19, 1993. https://www.thoughtco.com/cult-compound-in-waco-texas-raided-1779446