The hot new Netflix show right now is a Paramount-produced mini-series which dramatizes the government’s 51 day siege of the Branch Dividian cult’s compound in Waco, Texas.  With President Bill Clinton’s approval, Attorney General Janet Reno approved an outrageous act of government overreach, incompetence, and arrogance which resulted in the deaths of about 80 Branch Dividians, including twenty children.

Because this incident happened twenty five years ago, long before Twitter, many Netflix viewers are just becoming aware of this terrible event in American history. Actor Taylor Kitsch stars as cult leader David Koresh, Rory Culkin stars as cult member David Thibodeau, and Michael Shanan portrays FBI negotiator Gary Noesner.  The series is based on the memoirs of Thibodeau and Noesner.

Esquire magazine gave a good explanation of what happened in real life:

Koresh was a high school dropout and drifter before he joined the Branch Davidians, but once in the group, he declared himself a prophet. The Davidians believed that the apocalypse was imminent, and that Koresh was the Lamb of God foretold in the Book of Revelations whose arrival would lead to the second coming of Christ.

He prophesied that he would have 24 children who would play an integral role in the end times. In order to produce those children, he mandated that his male followers become celibate, even those who were married, and took multiple “wives” from the ranks of his followers. Some were girls as young as 12 years old. Surviving children reported that physical abuse and sexual abuse by Koresh was widespread within the compound.

… the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tried to execute a search warrant at Mount Carmel. Though Koresh went on regular jogs and often left the property, authorities decided to attempt to arrest him while he was in the well-armed compound. However, the group had been tipped off about the coming raid, and were prepared for a gunfight by the time ATF agents arrived. Koresh was wounded and six of his followers were shot to death, while 4 ATF agents were killed.

A 51-day siege followed this initial skirmish. FBI negotiators secured the release of some Davidians, though many more remained inside the compound. Meanwhile, authorities gathered what is thought to be the most powerful military force assembled against American civilians. According to the New Yorker, law enforcement brought in “ten Bradley tanks, two Abrams tanks, four combat-engineering vehicles, six hundred and sixty-eight agents in addition to six U.S. Customs officers, fifteen U.S. Army personnel, thirteen members of the Texas National Guard, thirty-one Texas Rangers, a hundred and thirty-one officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, seventeen from the McLennan County sheriff’s office, and eighteen Waco police, for a total of eight hundred and ninety-nine people.” 

I haven’t had a chance to watch the miniseries yet, but I remember when it happened and I’m glad that young people are seeing what really happened in Waco so long ago. 

If you are a fan of self-governance and an opponent of government overreach, be prepared to be very very angry by the end of the well-acted, poignant miniseries.

Hat tip: Esquire Magazine

Image Credit: Wikipedia

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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