David Koresh & the Branch Davidians: 5 Odd Facts from the Debacle on Its 20th Anniversary

Categories: Texas

Things you didn't know....
It was 20 years ago today (as the Beatles might say) that a crazed religious kook sparked a debacle of a federal-government raid that left 83 dead, including 28 children.

Arguments have raged endlessly since that Waco raid, with a hard core of people saying the blame for the deaths sits squarely on the shoulders of Attorney General Janet Reno, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

(One IMDb review of the movie Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty: "It fails to mention the point that the only reason that the AFT made the raid in the first place was because they had budget hearings pending and they needed a good publicity coup for those hearings." Yeah, that's what happened.)

Rather than wallow in the back-and-forth over obscure memos and coincidences that make you go "Hmmmm," we instead offer five facts about the event you may not know:

5. David Koresh actually had what might be the most Texan name ever.
Koresh was born -- in Houston!! -- and came into the world with the name Vernon Wayne Howell. Fact: Scientists (in my mind) have done extensive studies on the matter and have concluded it is impossible for humans to say the name "Vernon Wayne Howell" without resorting to a hick accent.

Your typical human might pronounce "Vernon" all right, but about halfway through "Wayne," his mind begins to recognize a pattern and fires off neurons, or whatever the actual term would be, telling the tongue to add an extra syllable or two to "Wayne," depending on where the speaker lives and how familiar he is with a Southern accent.

Then comes "Howell," and all bets on the syllable over/under are off.

It's science. You can't fight it.

4. Movie titles don't lie.
The character "David Koresh" has shown up in 11 nonfiction documentaries, according to IMDb. While the following conclusion is not as rigorously peer-tested as the previous research about Koresh's name, we can only say that if you're in documentaries titled The Decline and Fall of America, Shock-X-Treme, Vol. 1-- Snuff Video, The Many Faces of Death, Part 6, Mugshots and American Justice, your application to be a Walmart greeter might not get all the attention you would hope. Although you might get lucky and be dealing with an HR guy who wants to argue the merits of The Many Faces of Death, Part 6 versus Parts 2 and 5.

3. The Bible: A Macker's Guide to Women.
We don't know what Bible you're reading, but Koresh was apparently reading the Playboy version. (The Last Supper is a "quip 'n' sip" cocktail party, we guess)

From the always-reliable wiki:

At his mom's church Koresh "fell in love with the pastor's daughter and while praying for guidance he opened his eyes and allegedly found the Bible open at Isaiah 34, stating that none should want for a mate; convinced this was a sign from God, he approached the pastor and told him that God wanted him to have his daughter for a wife. The pastor threw him out, and when he continued to persist with his pursuit of the daughter he was expelled from the congregation.

Oh, and various Bible quotes were very helpful when it came to Koresh rationalizing his penchant for statutory rape.

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