Monday, June 7, 2010

Your government could kill you if you want to be left alone

In an earlier post, I said "Your government could kill you if you make too much noise."

Well, your government could kill you if you want to be left alone, too.

For instance, in 1993 federal law enforcement agents proved their willingness to massacre citizens of the United States. The Branch Davidians were a cult in Texas, claiming to be Christian, and there were reports that the leader was allegedly buying illegal weapons and molesting children.

The Davidians had broken no laws when the feds went with warrant in hand to the cult compound to conduct a search. The feds thought cult leader David Koresh and his cult MIGHT be breaking the law. Cult members had purchased semi-automatic weapons that the federal agents claimed could easily be converted to automatic. There was no evidence that they had done so. The agents just wanted to get on the private property, fish around and find out.

Koresh knew the agents were coming, so armed cultists were waiting for the agents. Koresh met them outside unarmed. Shots were fired. It is impossible to write that sentence with an active verb because no one knows who fired the first shots. The cultists believe the feds shot at Koresh first and he high-tailed it back inside and there was much deadly gunplay afterwards. On the other hand, the feds claim the cultists fired first. Let's agree that emotions were ramped up on both sides and that there is no way of knowing who fired the first shots.

The 50-day siege apparently pissed off the feds and they chose to go on the offensive. They covered up the fact that they fired canisters of inflammable (meaning it could inflame or burn) gas into the compound. Although Sen. Danforth's investigation exonerated the agents, there are still plenty of questions about the cause of the fire.

Most Americans are upset when someone like me suggests the government will kill innocents. That's why we Americans look to place the blame on the victims. I remember lots of folks in my small town (and I suspect it was true across the country) who blamed the Kent State students for their own deaths. "They attacked the National Guardsmen," they said. "They made a bad choice."

So what were the wrong choices of the Davidians? They bought guns; that's legal. They lived separately; that's legal. They practiced an unorthodox religion; that's legal and is supposed to be embraced in a society that claims it wants diversity.

It's just as reasonable to believe they fired in defense of their home as it is to believe they fired offensively at the feds.

It's just as reasonable to believe the feds, either on purpose or accidentally with the canisters, started the fire that killed the children.

Think about it: The federal solution was to conduct a siege from Feb. 28 until April 19, followed by an attack that caused the burning of the buildings that housed the cult. The children that were allegedly molested burned alive. That's how the government protects U.S. citizens.

We want to think our government is good, moral and just. It's frightening to think it could possibly, at times, act otherwise. It feels better to blame the Davidians (or the anti-war protesters), because they were weirdos. They were, but people have a right to be left alone to be weirdos.

One of these days, Christians who believe Jesus shed his blood on the cross to save them from sin and rose again to eternal life will be thought of as weirdos and will be persecuted.

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