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Why Did the Branch Davidian Group Consider the U.S. Government as Tyrannical?

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Oklahoma City Bombing and Beslan Massacre

Why did the Branch Davidian group consider the U.S. government as tyrannical?

On February 28, 1993, Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) raided the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, under a search warrant to investigate David Koresh for possession of illegal firearms. During the raid, four ATF agents and six Branch Davidians were killed and the Branch Davidians were immediately charged with murder, thus beginning a 51-day siege. On April 19, 1993, the siege ended in a fire which destroyed the compound and took the lives of 79 people, including 25 innocent children and 2 trauma born infants. Children died in a fire of temperatures range in excess of 3000 degrees and during the 51-day siege, unarmed innocent people were shot and killed, for instance, Judy Schneider, a Branch Davidian was shot in her chest while nursing her baby and it was the first time in American history that the government was sending tanks against its own people, according to research done by Mike McNulty which was depicted in a documentary titled “Waco: A New Revelation” (1999) and according to the U.S. Department of Justice (1993).

The Branch Davidians thus considered the U.S. government as tyrannical as how can the federal law enforcement act with such military violence to a point of deploying tanks against their own citizens and children living as a religious group in a compound, who had committed no crime? In a video made by David Koresh in regards to the search warrant on February 28, 1993, he mentioned that the Branch Davidians felt like it wasn’t America anymore. How can the ATF have the power to simply enter any one's home, simply kick down doors and pushing people around with guns like they did on February 28, 1993?

What happened in Waco resulted in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, as the Oklahoma City bombing was an act of retaliation and a demonstration of Timothy McVeigh, the bomber’s unhappiness towards the U.S. government on the handling of the Ruby Ridge incident and the Waco Siege against the branch Davidian religious group.

What led the Chechen rebels to consider an act so violent?

The Beslan massacre of early September 2004 was a three-day hostage-taking of over 1,100 people which ended in the deaths of over 380. It began when a group of armed Chechen rebels took more than 1,100 people, including 777 children hostage on 1 September, at School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia. The background of the attack was that Russia and Chechnya’s relations are aptly described as “the permanent crisis.” The two have had a long history of conflict which started in the 19th century, when the Russian Army invaded the region, and stretching to the present day, where the status of Chechen aspirations for an independent nation-state still remain ambiguous and contested by Russia, according to Ben Fowkes (1998). And increasingly, in the past two decades, the Chechens have resorted to terrorism, to achieve independence of the Republic of Chechnya from the Russian Federation.

Thus, according to Gearo´ id O´ Tuathail (2009), there were 2 demands that led the Chechen rebels to consider the attack on SNO. The first was the release of the jailed Chechnyan fighters captured during an earlier terrorist raid in Nazran, and the second was that for “a sensible peace on mutually beneficial terms according to the principle of independence in return for security” which was expressed in a letter from Shamil Basayev to President Putin. It mentioned that “the whole Russian nation gives silent approval to the genocide against Chechens. Well, you can ask me why I did it. It is to stop the killing of thousands and thousands of Chechen children, Chechen women, and the elderly. Look at the facts. They have been kidnapped, taken away and murdered” and he added that he “will pull no punches to stop this genocide” and “the more brutal I could make it, the quicker they’d get the message”, according to Babitsky (2005) and that is why they decided to carry out their attack

on Beslan.

What similarities and differences can you draw between the Oklahoma City Bombing and the Beslan Massacre?

Therefore, as you can see, both attacks were done in retaliation to what the respective governments did to their own people. The Oklahoma City Bombing was in retaliation to what the U.S. government did to the Americans in Waco and in Ruby Ridge while the Beslan Massacre was in response to what the Russians did to the Chechnyans. And to the attackers, they had enough of negotiating and writing letters to the respective personnel to voice their opinions and unhappiness and to get what they demanded for. Thus, they resulted to these acts of violence, in hope that the government would wake up and work on a change that is beneficial and satisfying to both parties. Both attacks not just took lives and resulted in millions worth of capital damages but it has left great lasting psychological impact in the lives of people who has witness or were part of the attacks. Could the victims ever forget what happened and live life the same as before the attacks occurred? Well, personally, I strongly doubt so.

And what is saddening is that all the Chechen Rebels wanted was for independence and freedom and if their demand was met on 1st September 2004, no one would be hurt but the Russian government chose to reject that offer and not meet their demands, which resulted in the death of over 380 people, unlike in the Oklahoma bombing where there was not any chance for the government to meet any demand to prevent the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.

Why is terror and chaos seen as an effective tool for change in the eyes of terrorists?

According to Joshua S. Goldstei (2006), one of the purposes of the terror and chaos is to demoralize a civilian population in order to use its discontent as leverage on national governments or other parties to a conflict, giving the attackers an advantage in bargaining situations. Related to this is also the aim of creating dramatic incidents of violence in order to gain media attention for a cause, in the hope that the government would then be pressured to concede terms more favourable to the attacker. For instance, before the Oklahoma City bombing, facts and news about the Waco siege have been covered-up by the government and people did not know the full truth behind the Waco siege. But media coverage which included interviews with Timothy McVeigh has lifted the veil of what actually happened at Waco, leading to people being



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