It was just five years ago. I spent most of the morning glued to the CNN broadcast of the live intrusion into Mt. Carmel Church. A friend from Florida who, knowing why I was in Waco, didn't want me to miss the events then occurring had called me..
It was obvious that the government's professed plan to gas the Davidians for forty-eight hours, and then, if all of the Davidians had not left the building, to demolish it, was not to be observed. As the continuing intrusions in the building became more severe, the credibility of the FBI claim was diminishing equally rapidly.
Just about noon, CNN coverage showed smoke coming out of the window to what was once Sheila Martin's bedroom (second floor -- southwest corner). Within seconds, flames could be seen coming from the same window, and in what seemed like fast motion, flames began to spread. Renos Avraam climbed out onto the roof above the front door. You could almost anticipate his fear, not from the fire, rather of the government's riflemen and snipers, as he sat, reluctantly, on the roof before finally deciding to face his fate in the hands of the enemy by jumping down, and following the instructions being bellowed at him with loudspeakers. Walk up the driveway, he was told.
Having given up on any hope of the Davidians defeating the monster which had taken control of their lives, Renos, almost casually, discarded the grenade he had intended to destroy some enemy, along with himself, in a last gesture of faith. Absolute defeat, he realized, had come to the followers of David Koresh. Only spiritual faith was left -- faith in the God who had given us America and its once great form of government. I am sure that Renos' faith was sorely shaken as he heard the dying screams of women and children being consumed by the flames he had just fled.
As I alternated between live television coverage of the events and walking to the balcony of my motel room, at the New Road Inn, I went from belief, marked by weird sense of distance, and the disbelief and sense of urgency as I saw the smoke rising into the sky, less than ten miles away. The next forty minutes were spent in a sort of fantasy, visiting the television to see if any other people were leaving the building -- even after it was engulfed, entirely, in flame, to the other of standing on the balcony asking God to intervene.
Before one o'clock, capitulation to the reality of the destruction that had just taken place was made. In the next few hours my rage had increased to the point that I feared even venturing outside, for fear that I might retaliate, not so peacefully, against those who had succeeded in denying a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
I had tried to find a way to contact Rita Riddle. Rita had been 'detained' as a material witness, at the Salvation Army Shelter. Except for one face to face meeting, our communication had been limited to frequent daily conversations on the phone. Only calls out from the shelter were allowed, but Rita had been calling every morning and afternoon since we had first met, nearly a month before. I could not understand why I hadn't heard from her.
At a little after four o'clock, Rita called. She explained that she had bee re-charged with crimes. She then asked me to arrange to obtain, from the Salvation Army, her belongings and to contact her sister in North Carolina, explain what had happened and arrange to have Rita's property gotten to her sister. We also spoke of other things, but through the conversation, neither the events of the day or any emotion at the occurrences seemed to be evident in Rita's conversation. Finally, I asked, "Rita, have you been able to watch television? She replied that she had.
"Are you upset over what has happened?"
"No, Gary, that was God's will."
We then discussed her daughter. Rita didn't know if Misty had survived the fire, or not. Rita's only concern about what had happened at Mt. Carmel was for her daughter. In time, I was to realize the significance of those six words.
Just two years prior, I had watched, helplessly, as the Branch Davidians had they Church collapsed around them, and then been cremated by the ensuing flames. I was staying with a friend in Orlando, Florida. My Land Surveying business had collapsed while I had spent the previous two years traveling the country and speaking of my experiences in Waco. The commitment to increase my efforts to restore proper government to the United States, as a result of Rita Riddle's comment, had set in. Business, family, friends -- all of these seemed to pale in importance to helping to educate as may people as possible to the evils of the current government. In my travels I had heard so many say that we must do something. Many of the uttered statements were far more drastic than what was soon to occur, but said with a fervor that I took to be sincere.
I was on the phone and the person I was speaking with asked if I had heard that a bomb had gone off in Oklahoma, killing hundreds. I shrugged the comment off -- having spent the past two years realizing that words, not actions, were the mainstay of the Patriot Community.
Later, as I watched the news, I had mixed feelings about what was coming out over the press. The government had told us that the middle-easterners were bad people, terrorists and every other manner of worthless. However, someone that the government and press were suggesting to be middle-eastern had just ignited a bomb at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City. Being a veteran, recognition of the tactical value of the event become the subject of my contemplation of the events. If we are to achieve resurrection of the Constitution, or even the Articles of Confederation, the reality of the expense of the task must be put aside for the goal.
From this perspective, I could not condemn whoever had conducted the act. In fact, it may have been one of those events in history that becomes the spark, which, whether by accident or intent, ignites the move to change. It took me two days to complete my first article, "Beirut, Waco or Oklahoma City?", on the subject of the Oklahoma City Bombing (http://www.illusions.com/opf/OKC0419.htm). Little did I realize what criticism I had subjected myself to when I placed the principle of the objective over the warm fuzziness of presumed security.
Within weeks (and hundreds of hours of investigation), I had come to the conclusion that Timothy McVeigh had fulfilled a promise that he had made, and as, apparently, so many others had made, in the days since Waco. I was ashamed that the Patriot Community would turn it's back on one who had realized that peaceful solution was nothing more than acceptance of the current, and worse, conditions -- absolute submission. Whether McVeigh's actions were known and/or planned by the government, there was little doubt that McVeigh should be applauded rather than reviled. Instead, a controversy has grown and division developed that would bring honor to the government agent who had mastered the division -- if this division was so intended.
It appears that I stood nearly alone in my beliefs over those events, but I have taken heart. Over the past five years, and over the past three years there a has been an acceptance of the conditions as more and more come to the alarming reality of the severity of the situation. Thousands have come around and begun to look at McVeigh more as a hero than otherwise. Perhaps this movement can form itself into a viable entity. Perhaps Rita was right -- Perhaps both events were God's will.
Gary Hunt, Outpost of Freedom mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
April 18, 1998
http://www.illusions.com/opf & http://www.committee.org
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