My children love watching Gilligan’s Island. I appreciate that the show is mindless fun and that I don’t have to worry about it pushing some stupid, progressive agenda on my children. Recently, after dinner we were watching our daily episode and in it the characters were having trouble finding fresh water. They needed to dig a well, but nobody was taking the initiative to do what they knew needed to be done!
In their typical, cartoonish way of thinking, they decide that what they need is a president of the island, who can keep order and make sure that the things get done that need getting done. After some election hijinks, Gilligan–of all people–wins and becomes president of their island.
So, do you think that solved their problems? Do you imagine that then they actually did what they needed to do and finally dug the well? Ha! That’s not how politics works!
Since they now had a de facto government led by Gilligan, everyone’s attention turned to getting positions in his government. They wined and dined, wheeled and dealed, and eventually ended up with everything but what they really needed. They had a government consisting of a president and a cabinet made up of the rest of the castaways, yet they had no water.
You see, they started off with a clear problem. They needed water. There was also a practical solution, which was to dig a well. But, rather than do what they knew needed to be done they turned to politics and ended up chasing their tails as they raced to deflect personal responsibility.
Now, this episode was absurd, like every other episode of Gilligan’s Island, but shockingly enough there are way too many people in the world today who in the same way identify real problems but then wait for government to take care of them. That is just as absurd.
If you identify a problem in your life, the answer is never bureaucracy. Politics doesn’t make things better, it makes things worse. The answer is getting off of your rump and taking care of it. If something is broken, fix it. If your grass is too tall, mow it. If your dryer hose gets clogged, clear it. If your carpet is dirty, vaccuum it. If your water is gross, filter it.
Life is all about doing what we need to do. We each have our own value scales which determine our priorities, but my point isn’t to tell you what your priorities should be, it’s to remind you that accomplishing whatever those priorities are is up to you and you alone. Anything else is a cop-out, an attempt to push your own responsibilities off onto others.
Don’t let your life devolve into an episode of Gilligan’s Island. Don’t expect politics to fix your problems. It’s your life to live and your problems to fix. I know you can do it.
I am a huge fan of Philip K. Dick. His short stories have always been my favorite science fiction of all time. In high school, I read through my big volume of his short stories so many times that the binding literally fell apart. Recently, I decided to read through his full-length book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Boy-oh-boy was that weird. After finishing, I decided to revisit the movie Blade Runner, which was loosely based on that classic.
The movie is dramatically different from the book, but it is still immensely enjoyable. It asks important questions about humanity and about life. In the movie, Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a cop whose job is to hunt down androids called “replicants.” These replicants are indistinguishable from humans outside of their increased strength and artificially-short life spans. As Deckard hunts these humanoid robots down, he is faced with questions about what it means to be human.
By the end of the movie, Deckard as well as you the viewer are left with the impression that life isn’t about what material your body is made out of, but instead, it’s about your mind, your life, and the collection of experiences which make you who you are.
The NPC meme is still very popular these days. NPC is an acronym for non-player characters in games. These are those programmed characters who walk around, mindlessly looping through the same pre-programmed lines and actions.
The NPC meme is shockingly apt because we live in a world and country full of real-life NPCs. These are people who seemingly act only on programming, mindlessly walking about repeating the same pre-programmed lines.
As I watched Blade Runner and contemplated the questions it asked, I began contrasting our real-life NPCs with the fictional replicants of Philip K. Dick’s world.
Real-life NPCs mindlessly suck up and repeat what they are told by the establishment, agenda-driven media. They are the ones who demanded an end to the war on terror during the Bush years but then forgot about it when Obama came to power and the media said to look the other way. They are the ones who went on and on about election fraud and Russian meddling in 2016 yet in 2020 cannot imagine there could be any fraud in the US election system. They are the ones who scream, “My body, my choice!” while also demanding that we all be forced to wear medical devices on our faces and be injected with who-knows-what from corrupt pharmaceutical companies.
NPCs are impossible to reason with because all that they can do is what they are programmed to do. They just repeat pre-programmed lines. Given the choice, I would rather live in a world with artificial humans who think rather than one with biological humans who don’t. Replicants are far superior to NPCs because they consider, they reason, they learn and grow.
Unlike with replicants in the world of Blade Runner, I don’t believe that NPCs should be put down, or “retired” as Philip K. Dick put it. The crazy thing is that if the media ever tells the NPCs that they should want me to be put down for not repeating their lines, they will hop right on board with it just like they did with brown people in the middle east, one day shouting against war and then last week voting for a neoconservative with a decades-long record of championing the warfare state.
Let’s be better than that. Let’s use our brains. Let’s be a positive contrast to the NPCs of the world today and maybe, just maybe, we can start to break their programming.
Every few years, we once again hear about the federal government discussing ways to get around encryption. Usually, thankfully, it doesn’t head anywhere. The most spectacular failure was in the nineties when the federal government tried to get tech companies to use special chips which would give the feds access to people’s data. There was an outcry at the time and it led to the federal government abandoning that proposal and it also led to people open-sourcing hard encryption. Folks realized that the best way to protect encryption technology was to release it into the wild so that it could be implemented anywhere and everywhere.
Last July, attorney general William Barr once again revived this debate. He went after tech companies who use encryption in their products. He claimed that by using unbreakable encryption (at least for now), they create “law-free zones.” He said that “…we must ensure that we retain society’s ability to gain lawful access to data and communications.”
This really blows my mind. “Society” doesn’t have a right to my devices, to my data, to my life. Of course, the reason the feds say that they need access to encrypted data is to stop criminals. But, what is a criminal? Who defines what a criminal is? Obviously, it’s the government! Do you see the problem here?
But, moving on, the tech press often talks of two ways that companies can give the feds access to our data. One is through back doors and the other is through front doors.
A back door generally means a way around encryption, like a secret API. Until recently, that was generally the kind of access that the federal government was trying to get. But, back doors that provide a way for the government to get around encryption are inherently flawed because a back door by definition is a security vulnerability. It’s only a matter of time until it is exploited.
These days, I’ll often hear how we should provide the government front door access instead. A front door does not in any way break encryption. It doesn’t provide a way around the encryption. The encryption is just as strong as if there wasn’t a front door. What this generally means is that when a company encrypts your data, they do so using more than one encryption key. The government has or can be given access to one of those keys if a case arises where they want to get through someone’s encryption. Using the special government key, they can decrypt the data and do what they want with it. Proponents of front doors point out how great it is because it doesn’t in any way break the encryption. It doesn’t add any new exploitable vulnerabilities. It is technically as secure as if the front door wasn’t even there.
While that makes sense to statist tech commentators, they seem to miss the major problem with both front and back door approaches. Both introduce trust into what would otherwise be a trustless, algorithmic relationship.
Unlike humans, algorithms are programmed. They are predictable. You put in X and you get out Y. That is how encryption works. With encryption, you don’t have to trust anyone. You have a key and an algorithm, and with those you can encrypt and decrypt your data. That is what makes cryptocurrencies so great. You don’t have to trust anyone. You just hold your encryption keys and get work done.
When anyone introduces an extra party into encryption, whether through front or back doors, they introduce trust into the system. If that is the case, your data security is no longer under your control. It doesn’t matter how well you protect your keys. It doesn’t matter how well you protect your data. There is always going to be someone out there who has access to your data and you have to trust that they will be as diligent with your data security as you are.
On a practical level alone, anyone with a brain in their head should know that the government is the very last group of people who you’d ever want to trust with your data security. It doesn’t even matter if the government uses third parties to handle the back doors or front doors or whatever. You are still left hoping, trusting that these people will protect your data.
Security is only as good as its weakest link, and when you introduce ways around or through encryption, you introduce trust into an otherwise trustless system. Broken security is no security because it takes the power out of your hands and places it into the hands of others. I am not ok with that, and you shouldn’t be either.
I don’t know if you have heard, but we just experienced the most important election of our lifetime. At least, that’s what I have been told by friends and family from all political persuasions. The funny thing is that I have heard the same about every election that has happened in my lifetime.
Either every presidential election truly is the most important election of our lifetime, or this is all just political speak used to get people invested in electoral politics. I lean toward the latter being the truth. Politicians use democracy to give people the illusion of control. If you criticize what these politicians do, then you are told that you should have voted harder or been more involved in the process. This illusion only holds up if people continue to vote and take part in the system.
The thing is, no matter how many of these elections happen, the government keeps growing, and our freedom keeps shrinking. This isn’t because of how much we vote or don’t vote. It’s because of evil people in government doing evil things.
So, what do we do? If voting doesn’t make the difference, then what does?
Agorism is what makes the difference. Focusing on you and your family is what makes the difference. Imagine if people took all that time and energy that they put into pointless political action and instead put it into making their lives better?
This has been a hard year in so many ways, but for me and my family it has actually been pretty incredible. We used the stupid COVID “lockdown” to prepare our house to sell. Then, on the very day that realtors were allowed to go back to work (yup, you heard that right, even realtors weren’t allowed to work in PA for a time), we found someone to sell our house.
We have since sold that house and moved all the way down to Florida. For a little more than we sold our home in PA for, we purchased three acres of wooded land and a big, beautiful manufactured home. In fact, we closed on our land and home today. Woohoo!
While in PA, we had one growing season. Here in Florida, we have at least three growing seasons! We are learning what can be planted when so that we can best take advantage of the climate here. As soon as we have our home, we are getting chickens and goats. Rather than using city water and sewage, we will have well water a septic tank. Out back, we have a spring-fed lake. If we ever need extra water, we are set! Our land is in the dead center of the Ocala National Forest. You can’t go there without seeing wildlife. There are deer and bears in the forest and lots of fish in the lake. If we needed to survive, we could do very well on our little homestead.
I could right now be stressing over the presidential election. I could be pouring over the news and arguing with people online about it. But, ultimately, I don’t see the point. That is a waste of my time. My plan is to use my time and energy to make my life better. My plan is to make sure that I have food, water, shelter, and a means of taking care of my family whatever comes.
If they are going to tell me that every presidential election is the most important election of my lifetime, then I think that I’ll just begin calling every day the most important day of my lifetime. Every day is a new chance to focus on what matters most. Every day is a new chance to make life better for myself and my family. Every day is a new chance to follow my conscience and do what I know is right.
Whoever wins, we live. Let’s check our priorities and focus on the things that matter most, rather than get swept up in and stressed out about things that we can’t control.
My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today we are talking about the different yet equally-destructive levels of government
There is a pervading idea among many people that somehow local government is less bad, less corrupt, or easier to control than higher levels of government. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Government on all levels is excellent at making shady deals and screwing over their populace.
I recently left Allentown, the third-largest city in Pennsylvania. The previous mayor of Allentown is currently in prison. He had announced lots of new public investment into the city. They roped off a large portion of the downtown and designated it as the “neighborhood improvement zone.” They drove out the local, small, minority-run businesses and then the city promised to pay up to 50% of the building costs of any new builds approved by the city in that zone. Over time, old buildings were torn down and a number of fancy new buildings went up. Of course, the city was broke, but that didn’t stop them. Afterward, it was found out that ALL of the contracts for building those fancy new buildings went to one single business with political connections to the mayor. All the things he had done to “improve the city” were actually just schemes to move huge amounts of money from the city to his friends.
We were lucky that he actually went to prison for it. Most politicians get away with it.
I can understand why if you don’t think much about it, local politics seems less frightening. It feels like since it is closer to home, it will be easier to control. Maybe that is the case in some extremely limited cases, but Allentown is hardly unique in how corrupt it is. Just ask Marvin Heemeyer. Rest in peace.
The problem is that when you give a person or group of people coercive control over your life, you set them up for failure. It doesn’t matter whether it is a government, a social media site, or even parents. Abuse flows from unchecked power. When you add legal violence into the mix, it just exacerbates the problem.
Avenged Sevenfold released a song a few years back called “Hail to the King.” In it, you see a seemingly-innocent boy find a crown and take it. Over time, you watch as the boy grows into a man of violence. At the end, you see him sitting on his throne. What once was an innocent boy is now a skeleton, a symbol of death, sitting on his throne while smoke from all of his destruction rises around him.
Power corrupts. That’s the story of humanity. Don’t ever excuse people who use violence to control you. Don’t ever make excuses for people who make up laws then point a gun at you if you don’t follow them.
Instead, ignore these people. Don’t take part in their systems. Make your own systems, your own markets. Appeal to people’s humanity in your interactions. Don’t ever use violence to coerce people to your will. The only way we can break free is if we stop justifying violent coercion on all levels, both public and private.
My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today we are talking about free markets and $60 keycaps.
I am kind’ve a keyboard snob. Ever since I began working full time at a computer, I have been extremely particular about what keyboard I use. My favorite brand is called Das Keyboard. They make strong, heavy, beautiful mechanical keyboards with removable keycaps and excellent switch options. A few days ago I received an email from them about new keycaps they are selling. In particular, they have a new escape key. I followed the link to see what it was. This new escape key is transparent with a miniature steampunk-style city inside of it.
I looked at it for a minute because it was cool, then I chuckled when I looked over at the price. The thing costs sixty dollars! I turned to my oldest daughter and said, “Hey, look at this new escape key! It only costs $60!” After her surprise wore off, she laughed as well. Personally, I cannot imagine paying that much for an escape key. But, it might surprise you to know that I am only one person, and chances are that there is some dude out there who would be willing to pay for a fancy steampunk escape key!
We live in a time of central control. It doesn’t matter how many times central planning fails. It doesn’t matter how many times price controls backfire. It doesn’t matter how many times black markets are created because of the state trying to ban certain goods and services. When it comes to the state, the push is always to centralize control within itself. If the government really cared about what is most practical, they would disband and go home because history shows overwhelmingly that when government inserts itself into the market, things get worse.
This year, government has coined a number of new designations such “essential employees” and “essential services” and “essential goods.” But, truth is I find those to be even more laughable than $60 keycaps.
What is an essential employee? According to some bureaucrat or group of bureaucrats, that would be an employee who they think should keep their job, no matter what happens. But, ask a so-called non-essential employee if they think that they should keep their job. Chances are that you’ll get a different answer! To the person who needs that job, it is most certainly essential!
What about essential services? Once again, that would be a service that bureaucrats think is important enough to exist. But, to someone who provides or uses a so-called non-essential service, that service is essential!
Same goes for so-called essential and non-essential goods.
If you asked a bureaucrat if people need sixty dollar keycaps, I can guarantee you that unless they owned stake in a company who makes those keycaps, they would insist that those are non-essential! They would say the folks who design those keycaps are non-essential workers and that the ones selling them provide a non-essential service and the keycaps themselves are non-essential goods.
But, despite the imaginings of bureaucrats and despite my daughter and me both chuckling over that fancy escape key, there is still some dude who wants that keycap and who will pay sixty dollars for it.
The free market is amazing because it plays to everybody. In a free market, it isn’t about who or what is essential. It’s only about individuals who are willing to trade one thing for another. It’s about individuals and groups of individuals who value a good or service over a chunk of change in their bank account.
In the free market, the only non-essential employees are those narcissistic bureaucrats and the only real non-essential services are their central planning. 2020 would have been a great year if it hadn’t been for those bureaucrats messing with the market.
Regardless, 2020 has been a great reminder of why agorism and counter-economics are so important. The more we can separate ourselves from these people, the better.
My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Two days ago was the 27th anniversary of the slaughter of the Branch Davidians in Waco by the federal government. My buddy Cam, host of the Make Liberty Great Again podcast and co-founder of the MLGA Network recently wrote and recorded a three-part mini-series on those fateful events and I it was too good not to share. This is Part three: Judgment Day.
The children were gathered in an old vault in the middle of the complex. Huddled. Frightened. Held tightly by their mothers. Outside, sounds of tanks and the yells of men came through windows and reclaimed wooden doors.
But in here, they were safe. This vault had stopped a fire before. Everything else had been charred and destroyed, but the most precious things had remained unlicked by the flames.
They were safe in here.
They would be ok.
As the tank crashed into the building, the modified nozzle began shooting a searing gas into the vault. Their little lungs filled with poison as their mothers looked on with horror, helpless, unable to do anything except hold wet sheets or towels over the mouths of their children as gas masks aren’t fitted for toddlers.
Welcome to the Red Pill of the Week, I’m Cam Harless from Make Liberty Great Again and today we are finishing the story of David Koresh and the time the federal government used tear gas on toddlers.
When the FBI pulled up to take over the operations in Waco, it was reminiscent of their time in Idaho. The ATF had screwed the pooch and four more ATF agents had died. They had to clean up their mess.
The FBI began their negotiations with David Koresh and the others holed up in Mt. Carmel.
One of Koresh’s requests was that they not burn the church down and to please not shoot the people or the kids.
They gave the Davidians a video camera and asked them to explain who they are, why they were there, and what was going on inside of the house. These videos, at the time, were not given to the press. This would have softened the public’s sentiment on Koresh and the Davidians.
The decisions in the negotiation were not made by the FBI negotiators. Instead, they were decided in DC. This did not please the negotiators in the least, as they had to work in the moment to try and ensure a peaceful end to the standoff.
The FBI brought in their Hostage Rescue Team. This team was headed by Commander Richard Rogers, who had previously been criticized for the part he played in the Ruby Ridge incident.
As with Ruby Ridge, Rogers often overrode the FBI site commander and had mobilized the Blue and Gold tactical teams. FBI snipers were put in places where they could ensure that anyone leaving could be gunned down.
The Blue team was lead by Lon Huriuchi, the sniper that had killed Vicki Weaver on Ruby Ridge.
At first, the Branch Davidians still had the ability to communicate outside of Mt. Carmel. Koresh gave phone interviews with local news media.
The FBI cut off all of the Davidian’s communication to the outside world and made sure that the only people that Koresh could communicate with was the FBI.
After much talking and convincing, Koresh eventually agreed to leave the complex peacefully with everyone inside of Mt. Carmel if a taped sermon of his was broadcasted on national news. When they agreed and the broadcast was through, Koresh nor his congregation left Mt. Carmel.
Koresh said that he felt that God had told him to wait and he told his people and the FBI negotiators that they should wait on God to sort everything out peacefully.
The FBI has since claimed that Koresh had promised to come out five times and reneged every time. There is absolutely no evidence or phone records to corroborate this claim.
A psychological profile was performed on Koresh. The profiler sent out four memos that told the FBI to be cautious and non-confrontational with Koresh. The profiler claims that he was pressured to change the assessment to justify a more confrontational approach.
The FBI began their psychological warfare campaign. They brought in speakers and would blast the sounds of rabbits being slaughtered, horses neighing, dolphin cries, breaking glass and “These Boots Are Made For Walking” by Nancy Sinatra at the complex. They used these loud, disturbing noises and shined flood lights into the windows to disturb the inhabitants’ sleep cycles.
The Davidians, tired, attacked, and being intentionally pushed towards insanity, reached out to the outside world the only way that they knew how.
They created a banner that they hung from a window to call for help.
“God help us, we want the press,” the banner read.
The corporate media, being the bloodthirsty sons-of-bitches that they are shot a short, smiling video where they sarcastically replied “God help us, we are the press” and extended no help to the trapped and frightened people.
Some of the agents would mock the Branch Davidians. Some were seen pulling down their pants and mooning the people inside, aiming their asses at open windows.
As negotiations continued, the aggressive outward display did not match the words of the FBI negotiators. The tanks the FBI was driving around their property left a far different impression than the words of the negotiators.
When they finally let the Davidians fetch Peter Gent’s body from the top of the silo, they buried the body out front and had a serene moment while they laid him to rest.
Shortly thereafter, the tanks intentionally drove over the newly disturbed soil above the boy’s body multiple times.
The tanks ran over cars and other parts of the compound. But, the Davidians stayed put. They didn’t shoot at the tanks or the agents.
The FBI believed that they were winning.
They were pushing these people to the point of desperation.
The negotiators asked if the Davidians if they had fire extinguishers. They said that they had a single fire extinguisher in the complex. When the negotiator heard this, he replied “Somebody better buy some fire insurance.”
Locals and people from all over the country came to Waco to witness this standoff. They couldn’t get too close to the actual property, but they brought telescopes and made a party out of it.
A young man whose name you may also know, Timothy McVeigh, having followed the happenings at Ruby Ridge, showed up to sell some stickers and other items outside of Mt. Carmel.
Over time, several members and 21 children were released. The adults were immediately arrested and charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder over the deaths of the ATF agents. Their children were given to CPS. It was noted that all of the children were intelligent, well-spoken, healthy, and well-taken care of.
Another banner was hung from the window.
“FBI broke negotiation! We want press!”
The Davidians wanted to have a third party to negotiate with that they felt like they could trust. The FBI did not allow this and the corporate media did not come to their aid.
Another banner hung from the window.
“Rodney King, we understand.”
On April 14th, there was a major breakthrough.
David Koresh had never written out his teaching on the seven seals. He felt like he had to wait on God’s permission to write them out and release that information.
Koresh had felt led to finally write out and release his interpretation of the seven seals. He was beginning the writing process and once done, he stated that he and the entire congregation would leave Mt. Carmel peacefully and willingly. That’s what he felt God had told him.
The negotiators seemed pleased at this development, but most said they didn’t believe that he would actually write them or have anyone leave the compound.
He began dictating his interpretation of the seven seals on April 18th. He spent four hours that night writing and completing the first seal.
But, the FBI didn’t wait for him to bring it out. They didn’t wait for him to finish. The next morning, April 19th 1993, they decided to make their move.
The FBI devised a plan of inserting tear gas into Mt. Carmel. The White House was advised of this, although the logs of those calls were redacted.
The FBI claimed that the negotiations had reached an impasse, that no one was coming out, that the writing of the seals was a stalling tactic, and that Koresh was not working on the seals.
However, the negotiators knew that the first seal was finished. They had sent in typewriter ribbon to Koresh so he could prove it, but the next morning at 5:50am, they unleashed their tanks.
This was the first time the US government actively used tanks against its own people and their property.
Most of the Davidians hid. The children were sent to what the FBI called “the bunker,” a records vault that had lived through a fire in the past.
The tanks drove up to the compound and began puncturing holes into the buildings. They destroyed different areas of the compound as they did so.
The tanks began spraying CS gas into the complex.
But, CS isn’t a gas. CS is a chemical powder that is considered one of the most severe forms of “tear gas.” The FBI had dissolved the CS into methylene chloride, a volatile chemical used to strip paint. Together, they formed an aerosol mist when sprayed through huge steel injectors fitted on the tanks.
In enclosed spaces, CS alone can cause unconsciousness, death, and can be ignited by a small spark into a fireball. When CS and methylene chloride burn, hydrogen cyanide is produced. This is the same gas that is used in prison gas chambers.
Tear gas is torturous. They planned to gas everyone in the compound for 48 hours until they came out.
But, they used up all of the gas they had planned to use over two days within 2 hours and had to get more brought in from Dallas.
The people within the complex, including children and the elderly, were tortured with this gas for three to four hours. Some adults had gas masks that they used until the filters were spent, but the children never had a chance of filtering it out of their lungs outside of holding wet blankets to their faces, which works as well as you might think.
The FBI had hidden bugs in some of the supplies that they had sent into Mt. Carmel and some government operators had also gotten onto the property to hide bugs.
After much “scrubbing” by the FBI, they were able to find snippets of audio around this time where a Branch Davidian was heard saying “I already poured it. It’s already poured. Don’t pour it out, we might need some later.” And “ we only light ‘em as they come in, right?”
These snippets, which had to be severely scrubbed and edited down by the FBI to be understood at all, was used to claim that the Davidians were planning to set a fire using gasoline. Other reports claim that they were creating molotov cocktails to throw at tanks if they broke through the building.
But, no molotov cocktails were thrown.
The CS, at the concentration that was delivered into the house, would have led to gas masks failing. It would lead to unconsciousness. It is very possible that at that point, most everyone in the building would have been inert.
The agents started firing ferret rounds at the compound with the excuse that the Davidians were shooting at them. There is no evidence that the Davidians were, in fact, shooting at them.
These ferret rounds delivered more CS into the building and, if someone was shot directly in the head or chest with one, they were strong enough to kill. They fired these rounds into every window in Mt. Carmel and at any movement in the house.
While this assault was ongoing, the FBI made sure that any news vans and cameras were only aimed at one side of the house. Leaving the other side a blindspot to any outside observers. Another tank was working in this blindspot.
April 19th was a windy day. As the tanks bashed holes in the building, it opened up the house in such a way that created what would be described as a “pot-belly stove.”
As the siege wore on, a fire erupted in three different places in the building within three minutes.
The CS gas ignited, creating cyanide and fireballs that engulfed the building.
On video, in front of the whole world, Mt. Carmel burnt to the ground. The cyanide in the air made muscles contract to the point of breaking bones. A child’s charred remains were discovered whose body had contorted into a C-shape from the muscle contractions. Only a few made it out alive.
The Branch Davidians burned to death in front of an entire nation in real time.
The fire killed 79 people, including 22 children.
The special agent in charge held back the firefighters that had arrived on scene because he “didn’t want them to drive into gunfire.”
This was a tragedy. This was a horror unfolding in the clear light of day.
This was when coincidences and inconsistencies started piling up and the FBI claimed that the Davidians had commited mass suicide.
Since 1993, former FBI, Special Forces, and CIA operatives have come forward with evidence to suggest that this claim is a blatant falsehood.
There’s a lot to unpack here. So, stay with me as I unroll it.
The FBI said that there was no other way to bring Koresh and the Branch Davidians out.
However, when operators had snuck into the building to plant listening devices, they were close enough to David Koresh to grab him and remove him from the premises without incident. They asked permission, but were denied because ”the Justice Department already had a plan in place.”
Attorney General Janet Reno claimed that there was no wrongdoing and that the reason that she approved the gas attack was because “Koresh was beating babies” and likened the tanks to “rent-a-cars.”
I have a feeling that those children saw things a bit differently when the tanks rolled up to torture them with tear gas to “protect them from future beatings.”
Instead of seeing the final siege through, she left to give a speech in the middle, leaving decisions to the FBI and other Clinton White House officials. The decisions that were made in the situation room have not been revealed.
The FBI claimed that no shots were fired by the FBI at the Davidians.
Edward Allard, the creator of FLIR technology, an infrared technology that was used by the FBI, watched the footage taken above Mt. Carmel before the fire from an FBI plane. He counted 62 individual shots aimed at Mt. Carmel from the outside before he stopped counting.
In the infrared video, you can see what looks like two people dropping out of the tank and taking a flanking position to cover the tank as it entered the building. There were flashes of light coming from these figures that matched automatic weapons fire at 10 flashes per second, or 600 rounds per minute.
The FBI claimed that these must simply be light reflections that the camera caught.
Light flashes made by reflection, Allard says, would not show up like that on a FLIR camera. He said for that to have been the case, the plane would have to have been circling Mt. Carmel at Mach 3. There is no other explanation of these flashes outside of gunfire. There is nothing in nature that can match the rate of the flashes.
The FBI claims to have replicated the incident and that the flashes could, in fact, come from reflections. However, their “replication” was not done in the same conditions as the original incident and Allard has claimed that it does not show what they say it does.
As the tank pulled out, more shots are taken from the courtyard into the dining room area, the Davidian’s escape route from the fire. The figures shot as they were retreating from their position. 15 people were found shot to death at that location.
All of this was verified by a third party, Infraspection, who said “It was obvious to me on several occasions that there was gunfire or automatic weapon discharge, seemingly fired toward the building from the outer perimeter.”
They continued, “…due to the potentially sensitive nature of this material and the resulting negative repercussions to Infraspection, we are choosing to decline any further comment surrounding this taped incident and our subsequent professional opinions regarding its viewing.”
60 Minutes, who was in contact with Infraspection, did not share this information at the time.
Carlos Ghigliotti, a FLIR expert, agreed with Allard’s assessment that this must be automatic weapons fire, but was found dead prior to turning in his report.
Lon Huriuchi, the murderer of Vicki Weaver, claimed that he did not fire his weapon.
At his sniper position, there were 4 spent shell casings.
Around 27 Davidians died of gunshot wounds. The FBI claims that they either shot themselves or they were killed by other Davidians.
One child was found with a wound indicative of stabbing. Some believe that some of these were mercy killings by the Davidians. Some believe that the gunfire caught on infrared video tell a different story.
The FBI claimed that they had not run over any of the Branch Davidians with their tanks and that no bodies were found in the area where they had driven into the complex with their tanks.
Just a bit further into the complex in the location where they entered, five bodies were found.
Steven Henry had a gunshot wound to his chest and his leg was sheared off at the hip.
Later examination showed that James Riddle’s body was torn apart by wounds that matched tank treads.
A tread reportedly came off during the operation due to getting jammed on “something red.”
Infraspection had concluded that “there were occasions on the video that seemed to appear as though people were entering, exiting, or being run over by an armored vehicle.”
There was no damage to the tanks submitted on the official damage reports.
The FBI claims that they did not start the fire.
Of the three fires that started within three minutes in the complex, there was a flash in the gym that was consistent with a detonation, according to Allard. Infraspection concluded “a portion of the video showed a flash or pyrotechnic explosion in one portion of one of the buildings.”
The detonation in another area where the fire started was found to be consistent with the detonation of a hand grenade or a flashbang.
Six flashbangs were found in the evidence six years later. They appear to have gone through the structure and were found in all three points of the fire’s origin. They were mislabeled as silencers or gun parts in the evidence locker.
Once the fire died down and all of the bodies were burned, the Branch Davidian flag flew off of the their flagpole. The ATF spent no time in raising an ATF flag to fly in its place.
If that’s not a mark of conquest, I don’t know what is.
From there, evidence and bodies were collected and the property was bulldozed. Destruction of a crime scene that quickly is not typical.
There, they found the automatic weapons they were looking for, although several claim that these guns were not on the premises prior to February 28th.
The FBI took all of the evidence from local authorities to examine themselves. A local coroner had sent an employee out with a video camera to document the incident. The tape was taken, on site, by an agent. The tape was never returned. Allegedly, it was misplaced.
As mentioned before, the tape of the first shots of the first raid from three different cameras were lost as was the door that would have showed who had taken the first shots. As was the front door.
The bodies that were recovered were held in freezers by the FBI. The power to those freezers happened to go out and the bodies lost much of their forensic value.
The FBI said that they had no help from the military in the siege at Waco.
But, on April 14th, Janet Reno had a meeting with the FBI command team, and Brigadier General Shoomaker and Colonel Boiken from the Delta Force. This meeting was allegedly meant to convince Reno to authorize the final assault.
Previously confidential documents prove that Delta Force was at Waco despite assertions to the contrary. Over ten Delta Force operators at Waco participated and Delta Force members have admitted to being in a fire fight with the Branch Davidians.
The only person who can give authorization to use the Delta Force or the American military against American citizens on American soil is the president. Which means that President Clinton was not only aware, but approved their involvement. He admitted to doing so.
Vince Foster was the point person for the White House in the case of Waco.
After his untimely suicide, a search was done in his office. The FBI conducted a search and found no documents about Waco whatsoever.
Maggie Williams, the chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton had visited Foster’s office the night of his death and removed a box of files. Foster’s assistant took the box to the presidential residence to be reviewed by the First Lady. Foster’s assistant testified to this under oath.
All throughout the siege, David Koresh was likened to Charlie Manson and Jim Jones. He was a cult-leader. He was a rapist. He was a child abuser. They used language that is hard to get away from that pushes this narrative. “Army of God,” “Sinful Messiah,” “compound,” “bunker.” They didn’t show the home videos made by the Branch Davidians before the fire and they never spent time to find out who the people were. It seems clear that they had a plan to boost the ATF’s reputation and things went as wrong as possible and this many coincidences points to a coverup.
Was David Koresh a messiah? No. Was he a cult leader? Yes, but not in the way they attempted to paint it. Did he take advantage of his station? Yes. Was he a polygamist and did he marry teenage girls? That seems to be the case.
But, the real question we need to ask here is “did the government overstep its bounds?” Did they begin a process that killed 85 people needlessly? Did they have the right to gas toddlers even if David Koresh owned automatic weapons? Did they set up one of the most public executions in American history and televise it to the masses?
The Siege at Waco is one of the most disgusting displays of American law enforcement in history. Kids were tortured and burned to death because the ATF, the FBI, and the White House had something to prove. When that didn’t pan out, they had to cover their tracks.
85 people died because they stood up for their peculiar religious beliefs and their right to bear arms. Autopsies revealed that some women and children were found beneath the fallen concrete wall of a storage room and died of skull injuries. One report claimed that the evidence hints at the use of a shape charge in that area.
Autopsy photos of other children locked in what appear to be spasmic death poses are consistent with cyanide poisoning as produced by burning CS gas.
It doesn’t matter if David Koresh was the leader of a Doomsday cult or if he had automatic weapons. Those kids didn’t deserve that. Those women didn’t deserve that. The men, including Koresh, didn’t deserve that.
The state said this was the only way. They said that Koresh was stalling. They said that he wasn’t going to write the seven seals manuscript and that tear gas had to be pumped into Mt. Carmel.
But Ruth Riddle came out of that fire with the manuscript.
They lied and many people died.
The investigations and hearings that were conducted by Congress were heated, morbid, and enlightening. Orin Hatch fought for the FBI. Joe Biden defended the ATF. Chuck Schumer degraded survivors and witnesses in the defense of the state. The Clintons authorized military force on citizens.
These are your rulers. These people are still in power. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton still want to ascend to the presidency.
They would look you in the eye and tell you with a straight face that “You have to trust the people in charge.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to do that.
There’s your Red Pill. Don’t take the whole bottle.
My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Yesterday was the 27th anniversary of the slaughter of the Branch Davidians in Waco by the federal government. My buddy Cam, host of the Make Liberty Great Again podcast and co-founder of the MLGA Network recently wrote and recorded a three-part mini-series on those fateful events and I thought that it was too good not to share myself. This is Part Two: Operation Showtime. Strap in, because this is going to hurt.
It was a normal day at Mt. Carmel. The sun had yet to rise and few were awake. Paul Fatta and his son, Kalani, were awake and milling around, preparing for their trip to Austin that day.
David Koresh and others began their day like they would any other. Breakfast was made, children played and fought, and the dogs barked outside.
Koresh and the others wished Paul and Kalani well and hoped that their sales at the gun show would go well as they closed up the UHaul and began their journey.
As the Davidian morning rituals continued, the front door swung open loudly and someone rushed in.
Koresh’s brother-in-law, David Jones, stood before him, winded and heart-racing.
He told Koresh what the newsman had told him. That the ATF was coming. That they were on their way to Mt. Carmel.
Koresh wasn’t shocked. He knew this day would come. He knew that this apostate power would eventually come against him. He had prepared for this moment.
And now, Babylon was at his front door.
Welcome to the Red Pill of the Week, I’m Cam Harless from Make Liberty Great Again and today we are continuing the story of David Koresh and the time the ATF hastily served a warrant with bullets and helicopters, causing the longest shoot-out in American law enforcement history.
In 1992, the ATF was on its last leg. The ATF was an independent bureau within the Department of the Treasury. Having just gone through the PR nightmare that was the entrapment, stand-off, and the murders that happened on Ruby Ridge just months earlier, their funding was coming into question.
There was talk when Clinton assumed office of taking the ATF, cutting its funding, moving it out of the Treasury Department, and making it a little brother agency to the FBI.
If this happened, there were a lot of higher-ups that would lose their jobs. They needed a win. They needed to counter the bad reputation they earned when they, along with the FBI, butchered Vicki Weaver as she held her infant daughter. They needed an easy takedown and some solid PR to keep the status quo and retain their jobs as the state’s masked thugs.
With the echoes of Ruby Ridge and Jonestown in the atmosphere, they decided on their boogeyman. They knew that it would play well to the cameras and give them the public backing that they needed.
News was, there was a mad man in Waco. There were rumors of statutory rape, stockpiling guns for an “Army of God,” and rampant child abuse.
As you know from the previous episode, these charges were investigated and no evidence was found that proved impropriety. But, that didn’t matter to the ATF. This was an easy one. They had a boogeyman, they had plenty of armed agents, and they had the perfect story to justify a quick and simple raid that would prove the worth of the ATF to the American people. They could be heroes again. Heroes that enforced the morals of American society and retaliated against strange people like they felt they should have in the case of Jim Jones.
This was supposed to be an easy win.
Seeing how poorly things had gone on Ruby Ridge, the ATF wanted to be prepared. They amassed their agents at Fort Hood 63 miles from Waco and began their dress rehearsals for the raid. They were kind enough to let the US Army pay for part of their training for this event.
Of course, they had to have a good excuse as to why they should be able to use the Army’s land and medical resources to prepare for this siege in Waco. So, they let the Army think that this was an anti-drug raid rather than a raid to grab a “stockpile” of “illegal weapons.” The ATF claimed that Koresh was possibly operating a methamphetamine lab, to establish a drug nexus and obtain military assets under the War on Drugs.
The only problem is that there was never any evidence whatsoever that David Koresh or any of the other Branch Davidians did drugs, and there was even less evidence that they were manufacturing or trafficking drugs. In fact, Koresh had explicitly invited the police department into Mt. Carmel to get rid of a meth lab that was left there by previous tenants when they moved back to the complex.
But, that didn’t matter to the ATF. They had their mission and their narrative and they used it to their advantage.
The investigation into Koresh and the Davidians allegedly began when someone heard what they thought was automatic weapon fire on the premises of Mt. Carmel.
It didn’t matter that Koresh and his followers were in the legal business of selling guns. It didn’t matter that they had gone through the proper channels and made sure they were licensed. It definitely didn’t matter that any law or regulation on a civilian’s right to bear arms is a direct violation of the second amendment of the constitution and a violation of intrinsic human rights.
The only thing that mattered to the ATF was that a UPS driver had contacted them and told them that one of the packages he had delivered had opened to reveal firearms, inert grenade casings, and black powder. It only mattered that a former Branch Davidian and detractor had claimed that Koresh had M16 lower receiver parts and that a neighbor claimed that he heard automatic gun fire.
The ATF had their target.
On July 30 of 1992, ATF agents Aguilera and Skinner visited the Branch Davidians’ gun dealer Henry McMahon, who tried to get them to talk with Koresh on the phone. Koresh offered to let the ATF inspect the Branch Davidians’ weapons and paperwork and asked to speak with Aguilera, but Aguilera declined.
Robert Sanders, a retired ATF Deputy Director claimed that if he had been active and in a position to do so, he would have taken up that offer and checked the weapons to ensure that they were operating within the confines of the law.
But they didn’t. Sanders stated explicitly that it appeared that the ATF had planned the raid for publicity purposes rather than for so-called justice.
When the ATF went to a judge for their warrant, they didn’t bring just a charge of “stockpiling weapons” or the claim that the Davidians had illegal, fully-automatic weapons or accessories that could be added to semi-automatic weapons to convert them to automatic.
Although many believed that statutory rape and other sexual offenses occured in Mt. Carmel, the ATF has no jurisdiction over these crimes. Yet, it was used as justification in the warrant. In fact, 2/3rds of the warrant was about alleged sexual crimes.
There were several avenues that the ATF could have explored if they were seeking what they call justice. They could have checked the guns as was previously offered. They could have picked him up while he was jogging. They could have had the sheriff, who Koresh knew personally, go up to the front door and knock. They could have walked through the front door and peacefully administered the unjust laws that they live to enforce.
Eight or nine months before the raid, the group had been told by other neighbors that law-enforcement officials were asking to put recording devices on their property to determine if the group was firing illegal automatic weapons. The Davidians went to the Sheriff’s office and asked why they were trying to plant listening devices rather than coming over and looking at the guns as they had offered.
The ATF never gave them that courtesy. It never even seemed to occur to them. The Sheriff did not understand this and argued that they should have notified the Davidians of the warrant and tried to execute it peacefully. He also asked why he hadn’t been informed of the raid.
Instead of going to the Sheriff, the leader of the ATF’s PR team called the media and told them that something was going to be happening at Mt. Carmel that they might want to be there for.
To the corporate press, this was exciting, just the day before, on February 27, 1993, the Waco Tribune-Herald began publishing “The Sinful Messiah”, a series of articles that demonized Koresh. This was a juicy story that couldn’t be missed.
On February 28th, 1993, news vans and cameras sat just outside of the Mt. Carmel Center. They showed up 30 minutes before the ATF had planned their raid. They were set up and ready to broadcast the fireworks to an audience of millions.
Hours before, Paul Fatta, the member who ran the gun sales for the Davidians, and his son had left the complex to head to a gun show in Austin, Texas. He had taken 90% of the guns that were at Mt. Carmel with him. Leaving a smaller amount for defense. The majority of the “stockpile,” which should have been called “inventory” left that morning with Paul and his son.
Around 45 minutes before the siege, one of the reporters that had been tipped off about the raid asked a postman for directions to Mt. Carmel. This mail carrier happened to be Koresh’s brother-in-law, who promptly let the Davidians know that trouble was on its way.
The ATF had implanted an agent, Robert Rodriguez, next door to Koresh and the Davidians. Their cover was noticeably poor. They presented themselves as “college students,” but were in their 30s, had new, expensive cars, were not registered at the local schools, and did not keep a schedule that would have fit any legitimate employment or classes. The Davidians referred to their house as “the undercover house.” Rodriguez spent some time with Koresh and said that he had even considered joining the Branch Davidians after getting to know David over time.
The morning of the raid, Koresh told Rodriguez that he knew that a raid was imminent. Rodriguez contacted his superiors and told them that the Davidians knew they were coming and that the raid ought to be called off. His recommendation was ignored.
He was asked what the Davidians were doing when he had found out that his cover was blown and made his exit. “They were praying,” he said.
As helicopters began encircling the complex, the Davidians prayed. Koresh, seeing cameras and hearing helicopter blades, watched cattle trailers come up the road. He told the women and children to take cover in their rooms. He called a few choice men to move to the front of the building in defensive positions. He told them he would try to speak to the agents, and what happened next would depend on the agents’ intentions.
As the cattle trailers, filled with a hundred strong horde of armed and armored men, pulled up to the complex and took position, aiming their weapons at the front door, Koresh went to the door and opened it.
“What’s going on?” asked Koresh.
The agents pointed their weapons at him and yelled to lay down, that they had a warrant.
Koresh, seeing guns aimed at his face, closed the door.
If you ask the ATF, Koresh had decided to ambush them in that moment. He had drawn them close to the front door so that men with heavy weaponry could shoot the cops through the door and murder them.
If you ask the survivors, the ones who were in the compound, they say that the first gunshots didn’t come from inside.
There was a subset of the siege team that the ATF had sent to shoot the dogs.
The ATF maintains that they didn’t shoot the dogs before they started shooting their own automatic weapons at the front door. They also claim that there were no accidental discharges or any other notable mistakes.
But, the dogs were shot early on and bullets started flying. It would be understandable in some sense if an on-edge agent had started shooting when he heard an accidental discharge or mistook the shooting of the dogs as fire coming from behind the door.
But, there were cameras on the ground. The ATF was collecting video the entire time. They had three cameras to catch these moments. So, we know what happened, right?
No. Those cameras and the footage were lost. There is absolutely no record remaining despite the ATF having three cameras on site to catch it.
But, the ATF keeps records. There would be pages from the surveillance log that could sort out who shot first, right?
No. Those were lost as well.
But, that’s not even the last piece of evidence that could be used to determine who took the first shots. There was the front door that was shot through. That should be able to tell more about what happened and which bullet holes were created first.
But, again, no. The door itself was taken into evidence and then eventually lost before being analyzed.
I believe this is what we might call a “pattern.”
They shot and killed the dogs first, but behind that door, David Koresh was shot in the hand and through the stomach and his father-in-law, Perry Jones, was shot and killed.
Within a minute of the beginning of the siege, Branch Davidian, Wayne Martin, called emergency services from inside of Mt. Carmel. “Here they come again,” he yelled. “That’s them shooting! That’s not us!”
“There are women and children in here,” a voice yelled from inside Mt. Carmel.
The law is clear in these cases. Even an arrest by lawfully constituted officers can be resisted if the officers use excessive force.
The ATF shot at a house filled with women and children with automatic weapons to execute a warrant to take away automatic weapons.
This was an unreasonable search done in an unreasonable manner with excessive force.
So, when the Davidians shot back to protect themselves and their babies, it was absolutely justifiable per the law.
Thus began the longest shootout between civilians and state agents in US history. For two hours, gunshots were exchanged between the Branch Davidians and the ATF.
All the while, the Branch Davidians called emergency services and begged for the raid to be called off.
The dispatchers tried to get the communications from inside of Mt. Carmel to the ATF.
The ATF said that they couldn’t communicate with 911 or get the calls asking them to call off the shooting. But, the PR team was nearby with many fax machines and computers to make sure that they could collect what they needed for this project.
Helicopters flew around the Mt. Carmel, creating a diversion. They drew fire from the Branch Davidians and were eventually grounded by the ATF.
The agents grabbed ladders and set them against the side of the building, shooting into windows indiscriminately as they climbed the ladders and entered the building through windows on the roof.
They tried to get into Koresh’s room to find this supposed stack of automatic weapons that they were attempting to prove the existence of.
They threw flashbangs into windows and continued shooting at any window and any movement they could see.
After 45 minutes, the agents began running out of ammo and the shooting slowed, although it didn’t stop for two hours.
During this time, 4 ATF agents were killed and 16 were wounded.
The ATF stopped shooting the moment that they ran out of bullets. The Branch Davidians had not run out and it didn’t seem that they would any time soon.
When the ATF ran out of ammo and said that they would leave the property, the Davidians promptly stopped shooting. They didn’t have to. They let the ATF retreat and they let them evacuate their dead and wounded without incident.
Throughout this incident, six Davidians died.
Perry Jones was killed at the front door.
Jaydean Wendel was gunned down in her room.
Winston Blake and Peter Hipsman were also killed in the fray.
17-year-old Peter Gent was in the silo cleaning rust when the shooting began. When he heard the shooting, he went to the top of the silo. Video shows a helicopter flying by. Peter fell shortly thereafter, dying of a gunshot wound that looked to have come from the helicopter.
Despite being allowed to evacuate their own dead, the ATF did not let them retrieve Peter’s body from the top of the silo.
Once the shooting was over and the ATF had pulled back, ATF agents established communications with Koresh and others inside the complex and negotiations began.
While on a recorded line, Jim Cavanaugh, one of the negotiators, said that there were no guns on the helicopters that day. He was speaking to a member of the church when Koresh overheard this.
“You’re a damn liar, Jim,” said Koresh.
Koresh called him out and Cavanaugh held his ground for a short time while Koresh recounted the gunfire coming from the helicopters and the death of Peter Gent.
“You’re a damn liar,” repeated Koresh.
Then, the double speak began and the goalposts moved.
“What I’m saying is that those helicopters didn’t have mounted guns. OK?” Cavanaugh lied. Video shows that the helicopters had mounted guns.
“I’m not disputing the fact that there might have been fire from the helicopters,” Cavanaugh continued. “If you say there was fire from the helicopters and you were there that’s ok with me. What I’m telling you is there was no mounted guns, ya know, outside mounted guns on those helicopters.”
Koresh agreed with this faulty assessment, appeased.
After this tragedy, not a single agent made a report on the day of the raid, which is highly unusual. But, the ATF initiated a shooting review. Their attorney promptly told them to stop the review because they were creating Brady material.
Brady material is another term for exculpatory evidence, evidence that could prove the accused innocent.
During the night, three Branch Davidians fled and tried to get away from the violence that had engulfed Mt. Carmel.
Michael Schroeder, one of the men who tried to escape, was shot dead. 11 agents fired on him after he “raised a pistol.” He had 7 bullet wounds. His body stayed there for 5 days. After the agents walked off with the other escapees i n cuffs, they heard two more shots.
At the end of the day, there were 6dead Branch Davidians, 4 dead ATF agents, and many wounded. All over a warrant that could have been executed peacefully. Over some guns and gun parts that Koresh had offered to let the ATF come into Mt. Carmel to check alongside all of the paperwork.
It was a repeat of what happened on Ruby Ridge, a woman shot while holding her baby and all.
The ATF knew how to do one thing well, and that was to screw everything up just to have the FBI come in to clean up their mess.
And, as before, the FBI did come in. With the death of the agents, charges were filed against every adult Branch Davidian in Waco, both in and outside of Mt. Carmel that morning.
And, just as before, when the FBI came in to clean up the ATF’s mess, they, too, would only make things worse.
Thus, in the hands of the FBI, a 51 day standoff began and a soon to be recurring nightmare was being planted into the minds of the American public.
And that’s where we’ll pick up on Part Three of the Waco massacre in the next Red Pill of the Week.
There’s your red pill. Don’t take the whole bottle.
My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today marks the 27th anniversary of the slaughter of the Branch Davidians in Waco by the federal government. My buddy Cam, host of the Make Liberty Great Again podcast and co-founder of the MLGA Network recently did a three-part mini-series on those fateful events and I thought that it was too good not to share. This is Part One: The Sinful Messiah. This will blow your mind.
Vernon Howell thinks he is the lamb of God when all he is is a cheap thug who interprets the bible through the barrel of a gun.” – David Troy, ATF
There is a lot of speculation about Vernon Howell. There are a lot of stories out there about Howell that may be half-lies, whole truth, or blatant misinformation. Finding a source that isn’t stained by the agenda of the storytellers is quite a feat.
So, what do we know about Vernon Howell?
Was he a messiah or a madman? A cult leader or a misunderstood Bible teacher? A statutory rapist or law-abiding spiritual polygamist? Was he a prophet or a mass killer?
I’m Cam Harless from Make Liberty Great Again and on this Red Pill of the Week, we are talking about Vernon Howell and how he became one of the most hated cult-leaders in American history.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Vernon Howell was born in Houston, Texas in 1959 to a 14 year-old-girl. His father left before he was born and his mom didn’t stick around long after, leaving him with his grandmother until he was 7-years-old.
Vernon was described as a lonely and strange child. He claimed that he had been raped by older boys and struggled with dyslexia. Despite this disability, he worked to memorize the entire New Testament by the time he was 12-years-old, but dropped out of highschool as soon as he had the chance.
He had little luck in the way of romantic relationships as a young man. At 19, he had impregnated a 16-year-old girl who promptly left him, telling him that he didn’t have what it took to be a father.
Vernon began his biblical career in a quite run-of-the-mill way. He was born and raised in a Southern Baptist Church until he moved over to the Seventh Day Adventist Church with his mother. There, he fell more deeply in love with scripture and the pastor’s daughter.
The scripture that had deeply affected him was Isaiah 34.
Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
He was a man who believed thoroughly that God still spoke to people, specifically him. He believed that, when he opened the Bible to Isaiah 34, the Lord was speaking to him. He also claimed to have visions. When he told the pastor and his daughter that God had sent him a vision that he was supposed to marry and sleep with the pastor’s daughter, he was thrown out by the pastor. When he continued pursuing the pastor’s daughter and leading unauthorized Bible studies and preaching from the pulpit without permission, he was banished from the congregation.
From there, he then tried to make it as a guitarist in California and did odd jobs, until he ostensibly experienced religious enlightenment and found a home in the Branch Davidians at the age of 22.
The Branch Davidians were an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The sect began when Victor Houteff, a Bulgarian immigrant, disagreed with the mainline thought of the Seventh Day Adventists and began teaching contrary to their doctrine in one of their Sunday schools (they called them Sabbath Schools).
He claimed that he had a new message to deliver to the church. He wrote a book titled “The Shepherd’s Rod” and the Seventh Day Adventists promptly removed him from their presence.
He and his followers took residence near Waco in a place they called the Mount Carmel Center and started answering to “the Davidians,” named after King David in reference to believing that the Davidic Kingdom of Israel would be restored.
After Houteff’s death in 1955, his wife Florence led the charge. She was convinced of an imminent apocalypse and set a date for that apocalypse that her husband had not claimed in his book. They hunkered down in Mount Carmel in 1959, but when the Lord didn’t return, there was a schism.
Benjamin Roden, in his disappointment, formed another group called the Branch Davidians and took over Mt. Carmel. Benjamin led the congregation until he passed in 1978. At this time, his wife, Lois, took the reins and the congregation put their full support behind Lois and her son George.
Vernon Howell found his home at Mt. Carmel in 1981 and was well-received and well-loved by all there.
In 1983, Howell claimed that he had the gift of prophecy. This caught the eye of the widow turned spiritual leader and a trist started between them. The twenty-four year old had no issue with being sexually active with a sixty-seven year old woman. In fact, it is said that he wanted to impregnate her as he thought that their union would bring about the Chosen One.
Howell was then allowed by Roden to begin teaching his own message called “The Serpent’s Root.” This caused controversy in the group. George Roden, Lois’ son and heir apparent of the Branch Davidians and Mt. Carmel began to see Howell as an interloper. They clashed and brought disunity to Mt. Carmel.
According to several reports, after his seduction of the elder Roden, he claimed to have revived her decrepit womb with his supernatural seed. Allegedly, this miracle gestation ended in miscarriage. Shortly thereafter, Howell lost interest in the relationship.
When Howell announced that God had instructed him to marry 14-year-old Rachel Jones, whose parents consented to the marriage, the rift between George Roden and Howell reached a short period of calm.
But the calm didn’t last. Roden wanted to ensure that leadership would pass to to him upon his mother’s passing. He, claiming the support of the majority of the congregation, grabbed some followers and some firearms and forced Howell and his group off of the property.
Vernon and his group travelled to Palestine, Texas and lived roughly, in buses and tents, barely eking by. During this time, He visited Jerusalem and underwent an ecstatic religious experience and claimed that God had been revealed to him on Mt. Zion.
The revelation was that he was the last prophet and that it was his mission to restore the glory of the biblical Kingdom of David. The Seventh Day Adventists, the Branch Davidians, and Mt. Carmel had a long history of prophets and great prophecies. With each new prophet came new disappointment. Vernon would not let himself be that disappointment.
That day in Jerusalem, Vernon Howell was no more. He emerged from his ecstacy David Koresh. A man whose name we all know.
He took the name David as a means to show that he was a spiritual descendent of the line of King David and would be a new messiah. Koresh is the Hebrew form of Cyrus, after Cyrus the Great that freed the Jewish people from captivity under the Babylonians.
During his exile, Koresh began to recruit new followers in California, the UK, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand.
Koresh wanted to be God’s tool and set up the Davidic kingdom in Jerusalem. Until at least 1990, he believed the place of his martyrdom might be in Israel, but by the following year, he became convinced that he would be martyred in the United States. Instead of Israel, he said the prophecies of Daniel would be fulfilled in Waco and that the Mount Carmel Center was the Davidic kingdom.
Upon Lois’ death in 1986, her son, George Roden, assumed the role of prophet and leader of the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel.
The Branch Davidians that followed Koresh wondered if they would ever be able to return home. Despite being in far-away Palestine, Koresh now enjoyed the loyalty of the majority of the Branch Davidian community. By 1987, Roden’s support from the community was in steep decline.
Roden felt that he had little choice but to challenge Koresh to a spiritual dual. He thought that if he could prove that Howell didn’t have as much spiritual power or supernatural authority, that he wasn’t the prophesied second messiah, that the Branch Davidians would come back to his side in the power struggle.
So, Roden did what any sane person would do. He went to a graveyard and exhumed a corpse.
Roden challenged Koresh to do the impossible. He challenged him to raise the dead.
Upon hearing this challenge, Koresh found just what he was looking for. He called up the police and told them that Roden had exhumed a corpse criminally and that he would like them to press charges against the man.
The only problem was that the police didn’t have any evidence to justify a warrant or an arrest. They let Koresh know that he needed to provide some sort of proof.
Koresh didn’t hesitate. He grabbed seven of his followers and went to Mt. Carmel with firearms and a mission. They were going to get photographic proof of Roden’s misdeeds.
Koresh and his men were seen by Roden and a gunfight broke out on Mt. Carmel.
When the sheriff arrived, Roden had a minor gunshot wound and was pinned down behind a tree. Koresh and his seven followers were charged with attempted murder.
They got lucky. Instead of getting prison sentences, Koresh explained that they were there to get photographic evidence of criminal disturbance of a corpse. The seven followers were acquitted and Koresh’s trial was deemed a mistrial and he was set free.
After the incident, Roden’s mental health did not improve. Nor did the mental health of those around him. When Wayman Adair told Roden that he thought that he himself was the true messiah, Roden grabbed an axe and killed him with one blow to the head.
Roden was judged criminally insane and was confined to a psychiatric hospital. As he was admitted to the loony bin, it became apparent that he owed thousands of dollars of unpaid taxes for Mt. Carmel.
David Koresh and his followers were able to easily raise the money and reclaim the property.
The Branch Davidians, under the leadership of David Koresh, were finally home.
David Koresh was not naive. He knew that he would have plenty of heat coming his way from the police and the state after the earlier dust up. So, he was particular about keeping everything on the up-and-up and following the law as closely as he could to keep the state from shutting him or his church down.
So, when he found a meth lab in Mt. Carmel in an area that Roden had rented out to tenants, he promptly called the police and asked them to remove it from his property.
Koresh, like the Houteffs and Ellen G. White, were consumed by eschatology and the end of the world. David Koresh, in particular, taught extensively on the seven seals found in the book of revelation.
In Revelation, there is a vision of the Lamb of God opening up the seven seals. The seven seals contain secret information known only to God until the Lamb was found worthy to break the seals and open the scroll and to look on the contents.
The Lamb of God, who was also referred to as the Lion of Judah, has always been thought to be Jesus Christ. The opening of the seals marks the second coming of Christ.
David Koresh and his followers believed that he was the Lamb of God and that he would open and reveal the contents of the scroll that would usher in the end times.
He thought he was a second Messiah. To be clear, the terms “Christ” and “messiah” are words and titles that have been used for more than Jesus. Messiah was a word used to refer to kings or the High Priest. Cyrus the Great, for example, was called a messiah.
Jesus, in Christianity, is the true messiah. The ideal. The Christ of Christs. The sinless saviour of the world.
The Davidians believed that a messiah would come in the last days to usher in the reign of Christ.
David Koresh never claimed that he was Jesus. He claimed that he was a messiah. The final messiah that would usher in the return of Jesus. He did not claim that he was God or Jesus, nor did he claim that he was sinless like Jesus was. He claimed that he was a Sinful Messiah.
Koresh read the entire Bible through a messianic lens. Most Christians, when they read the Bible, they read it through a messianic lens that centers their understanding of the messiah on Jesus alone. However, there have been people in the Seventh Day Adventist tradition and in other churches on the fringe of Christianity that have read with the messianic lens centered on themselves. Joseph Smith is a good example of this phenomena.
Koresh was far from dumb. He had a deep knowledge of the Bible and used exegesis (although I would call it eisegesis) to read himself into the Old Testament, New Testament, and especially into Revelation.
But David Koresh was convincing. He was persuasive. He had enough knowledge to attract people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Unlike Jim Jones, he didn’t exploit the marginalized, the stupid, and the elderly. He attracted people from all over the world to hear him speak. The congregation was multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and some were seminary students, professors, and at least one was Harvard educated. He most certainly started a cult, but it was a cult among the lines of Joseph Smith rather than Jim Jones.
There were many people at Mt. Carmel who were looking for truth and wanting to understand the Bible and the seven seals of revelation. Many who knew them claimed that the Davidians were not crazy people, but that Koresh and his followers were deeply committed to a different understanding of the Bible. Some had been there for over 40 years. Some were born at Mt. Carmel.
The Branch Davidians, under Koresh, began to thrive at Mt. Carmel. Although there wasn’t running water or electricity, they made the center their home. They built their new church from reclaimed wood from the existing buildings on the property. The congregation worked together and shared their money to keep the church alive.
The Davidians were well-regarded, but thought to be odd. And that, they were.
The Davidians minded their own business, they were polite, nice, and they were described as “good people, never overbearing, clean, courteous, and likable.”
With any apocalyptic scenario comes survivalism. Koresh and his followers were among those who prepared for the end. There was a prophecy going around Mt. Carmel that told of a fight between the people of God (the Branch Davidians) and an apostate government that they called Babylon (The US government).
Koresh thought he was going to take down Babylon by way of sacrifice, using Nahum as his proof text. He likened tanks to chariots and spoke of fire.
The Davidians wanted to keep themselves and their children safe from the corruption of the world and from the machinations of this apostate power.
So, they had their own property, they had weapons in case they needed to defend themselves and their children, and they didn’t involve themselves in much outside of Mt. Carmel (outside of Koresh making music, selling products to keep themselves alive and fed, and sharing the their version of the gospel when they could). Neighbors would sometimes come to Mt. Carmel to spend time with the Davidians and would go to the gun range with them to shoot.
There was a lot of activity and regulation that was based on Koresh’s understanding of theology and his view of his personal calling.
Inside of the commune that was Mt. Carmel, there were classes going on daily. Members were able to leave when they wished, but there were rules and regulations set up by Koresh for those who stayed.
There were some silly regulations, like consumption of dairy products and milk being baby food and not for adults. Mt. Carmel was completely devoid of sugar and junk food. They were very specific about eating well, working, and living a healthy life.
There were some rules that most certainly would not fly outside of the walls of their church and would be utterly rejected by any other Christian denomination.
Part of Koresh’s theology was that he would be the Lamb of God that would ride in on a white horse as in Revelation. He believed that he and 24 elders would reign over earth. He believed that he was called to have 24 children who would become the 24 elders that would rule with him.
This belief was said to color Koresh’s view on sexuality and sensuality completely. According to several people around him, he viewed sex as a means to an end rather than as an end in and of itself.
To this end, he had spiritual marriages with many women in Mt. Carmel. The men and women were said to be split up and lived separately, the men being asked to remain celibate whether they were married or not. The wives of these men were said to be the wives of Koresh.
This, of course, didn’t sit well with everyone and some left Mt. Carmel at this pronouncement. Some wives stayed while their husbands left. It was certainly an abuse of authority if you didn’t buy into his doctrine hook, line, and sinker.
This meant that girls who were of a legal age to marry, like Koresh’s first wife, could become his wives. This meant that 14 year old girls were spiritually married to Koresh.
Just a note. That’s disgusting. That should never happen.
Ultimately, Koresh fathered 13 children to seven women in the compound.
This does show another area where Koresh knew the law and followed it.
Some of the people that left Mt. Carmel or had children that joined the congregation made claims that he was marrying 10 to 12 year old girls and having relations with them. One being his wife’s younger sister and a girl named Kiri Jewell.
It was also said by those outside of Mt. Carmel that Koresh had aggressively spanked or beaten his 3-year-old son Cyrus and had made him sleep in the garage while withholding food from him.
When these accusations were brought to the police, the sheriff investigated the claims and was unable to ever come up with evidence that this was the case.
There were many who knew of the situation and disregarded these claims outright. They found inconsistencies in the stories that led them to believe that these accusations weren’t based on facts. There were others that held onto these accusations as hard facts of his misdeeds. They claim that he covered them up. It was said that they had assigned a false husband to one girl to trick the sheriff into believing there was no wrongdoing.
Unfortunately, the truth of these claims can never be fully known. I’m not sure I understand how assigning a 24 year old fake husband to a 12 year old girl helps their situation at all, but that’s neither here nor there.
Despite all of this, things were peaceful at Mt. Carmel. Things were seemingly going well and the children and people were thriving.
To bring money into the church, Koresh played music and he taught Bible studies. But, more was needed.
David Koresh and the Davidians, seeing the gun regulations that Clinton was enacting, saw a market that they could make some money in. Selling weapons.
So, the Davidians got their licenses, started acquiring products and began selling guns legally at gun shows. They were making money doing that and were able to continue living their lives as they saw fit.
Koresh was playing music, teaching, and bringing people into his fold.
But on February 28, 1993, the ATF had different plans. And that’s where we’ll pick up on Part Two of the Waco massacre in the next Red Pill of the Week.
I was reading the news a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a bizarre headline. It read, “FL Senate gives right to grow veggies in the front yard a green thumbs up.” As I read it, I really wanted to be happy. I love it when people grow their own food. In general, I love the thought of keeping everything that we need as close to home as possible rather than relying on government-controlled international trade routes for our daily needs. Being able to provide our own food, water, shelter, electricity, waste removal, etc. for ourselves is a huge step in the right direction. But, this article was not about that. This article was about the Florida Senate supposedly “giving” Floridians the “right” to grow vegetables in their front yard.
The reporting that I have heard on this story has been very positive as if we should cheer and thank the Florida state government for being so generous. But, I just don’t see it that way. What was stopping people from planting gardens in their front yards previously? Were they physically unable to plant gardens in their front yard before? When their brains sent signals to their hands to plants seeds in the ground, did their hands refuse? No, of course not! The thing standing between people and their front yard gardens was the government, in this case, local governments.
Even though people already owned their homes and already had the capacity to plant gardens in their front yards, they were threatened with violence for doing so. One couple in Miami Shores faced fines of $50/day until they destroyed their front yard vegetable garden.
The reality is that the Florida Senate didn’t give the people of Florida a new right. They didn’t enable them to do something that they couldn’t do before. By passing this bill, they were basically saying that they would no longer commit violence against people who planted front yard gardens. But, that doesn’t make a very good headline, does it?
Rights, by definition, cannot be given or taken. A right is something inherent to you. I have the right to my body because it is mine. Nobody else can send signals from my brain to control my body. The only way that someone could override my right over my body is with violence. Same goes for the rest of my property. Because I invested my own life to receive my property, it is mine. I own it and what I do with that property is my right. The only way to force me to not do with my property what I want to do with it is to use violence against me.
Governments cannot give rights. They can only use violence to block you from exercising those rights. Any time you see an article about a government giving people rights, it means one of two things. First, it might be talking about a privilege. Governments grant privileges to their citizens, but those aren’t rights, even though they are often called that. Second, it would mean that the government is saying that it will no longer use violence against people for exercising some right that they already had, like in this story about Florida.
I am not going to thank the government for graciously deciding to not hurt me for exercising my right to my own life and property. If someone beats you up and then stops, do you thank them for being so gracious to you? That would be crazy, and it is no different with government.
My life is mine to live, and your life is yours to live. We each have the right to decide what we do and don’t do with our lives and property. Government may or may not use violence against us for exercising those rights, but as agorists hopefully we can find ways around them.
I value my privacy. It is nearly always on my mind as I interact online, but also as I live in the so-called real world. In the evening, I pull the shades down. I just don’t like having people watch me, whether I am reading a book, enjoying a television show, or walking the baby down to sleep. Privacy is essential, in my book.
Unfortunately, there are many out there who make business out of invading my privacy. As I browse the web, sites are dropping cookies which are read across domains, mapping out my every move. Other sites, under the guise of analytics or social media integrations, do the same but in different ways. I didn’t ask for these. I didn’t agree to these. Yet, despite that many companies do their best to know more about my habits online than I even know.
People are rightly upset at this. Worldwide, it seems, people are coming out to say that they are tired of it. If they are going to be tracked, they want to know. If their private posts and details are going to be shared, they want to know. If they’re going to leave a site, they want to be able to delete their account and all of their data. The question then becomes, what should we do about it?
Unfortunately, many people are turning to government violence to solve these problems for them. Last year, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (or CCPA) which purportedly gave the people of California new privacy rights. According to Californians for Consumer Privacy, these include:
The right to know all data collected by a business on you, twice a year, free of charge.
The right to say no to the sale of your information.
The right to sue companies who collected your data, where that data was then stolen or disclosed because of carelessness or negligence on their part.
The right to delete data you have posted.
The right not to be discriminated against if you tell a company not to sell your personal information.
The right to be informed of what categories of data will be collected about you prior to its collection or at the point of collection, and to be informed of any changes to this collection.
The right to opt-in before sale of children’s information (under the age of 16).
The right to know the categories of third parties with whom your data is shared
The right to know the categories of sources of information from whom your data was acquired.
The right to know the business or commercial purpose of collecting your information.
That is quite a list! The European Union has their own list, similar to that. As a software developer who develops applications for both desktops and for the web, this kind of legislation affects me directly. When I see this list, I have to wonder who this legislation really hurts and who it really helps. First, let’s ask now, who does it hurt? I’m sure that it is onerous for Google and Facebook to comply with these rules, but are the rules going to put them out of business? Definitely not. These businesses are HUGE with enormous legal teams and everything else that they need to write up the necessary paperwork and check all their practices and such to make sure that they are compliant with the regulations.
Who these regulations really hurt are folks like me, small, self-funded shops who are trying to get off the ground. I don’t have a legal team. I don’t have the time to study up on regulations. I spend my days working so that I can make enough money to keep my family fed. I don’t have the time or resources to figure out how to comply if I needed to. Some startups can afford to comply with these, but they are the ones who receive gobs of venture capital from east and west coast elites. If I made a site which picked up steam, I could potentially reach the threshold of Californian users necessary that these regulations would kick in, and if I didn’t cross every “t” and dot every “i” I could be sued and it would only take one single lawsuit to destroy my entire business. You see, these regulations will ultimately not hurt Google or Facebook. They will settle the lawsuits, comply, and move on. These regulations will hurt folks like me who are just trying to make quality products and keep our clients happy.
On top of the compliance concerns, these regulations also raise new privacy concerns. How is a business going to know how many California users they have? To do that, companies must verify and store identities and locations for their users. Imagine that I start a privacy-minded site which I intentionally don’t store any personal data on. Imagine that I deliberately do not have them verify their identities and intentionally don’t store where they come from. Just by respecting their privacy in that way, I would potentially be non-compliant with these regulations. While these rules talk about security and privacy, they also force new privacy concerns. I would have to store personal information about my users that I don’t want to store, just so that I would be compliant.
You know, there is another option other than government violence to deal with these problems. Personal responsibility is the better route. There are tools out there to help secure our privacy. There are browsers like Brave which block ads and trackers. There are browser extensions like Privacy Badger which allow ads but block cross-domain tracking. There are VPNs like Private Internet Access which hide your real IP address from the sites that you visit. There is also Tor, which we talked about in an earlier post.
Sure, there will always be some out there like Facebook and Google who try and force you to use your real identity, but there are other like Minds which only ask for an email address to sign up. On Tor, you can find social media sites as well, like Galaxy3. I actually have a group on Galaxy3 specifically for my Techno-Agorist podcast and blog.
Ultimately, regulations like this help the elite, entrenched companies by squashing the small shops and entrepreneurs who would like to compete with them. The only right answer is personal responsibility. You take responsibility for your life, and I will take responsibility for mine. Facebook and Google might continue to be awful, and we will continue to hate them, even if we reluctantly use their services sometimes. Meanwhile, competitors will be free to build their own products without the burden of regulations which leave any small business at the mercy of a single lawsuit from an angry competitor.
Regulations are not the answer. Freedom is the answer. People are fleeing Facebook as we speak, and it isn’t because of regulations. People are speaking loud and clear that they do not like the practices of Google and Facebook and the field is ripe for competitors. Maybe one of my products will compete with theirs someday. Who knows, only time will tell.
At its heart, Agorism is a pragmatic philosophy. It is about doing what is best for you and your family. It doesn’t waste time worrying about the silly people who try and hold us back. But, even though we try and live outside of the system, it is possible for even an agorist to get stuck. One cancer that pops up in agorism is the cancer of absolutism.
Agorists say that we are all about freedom and doing what we want, but then too many turn around and begin making absolute statements about what we can and cannot do. For example, they might say that agorists DON’T vote. Or, agorists ONLY buy locally sourced food. Some go so far as to say that agorists DON’T join religions or take part in anything that involves vertical hierarchies and power structures. You might agree with some or all of these, but the problem comes when we insist that these apply to ALL agorists. That just isn’t how agorism works. You don’t tell me what I can and cannot do, or what I must and must not do. Those are my decisions to make for me, and your decisions to make for you.
Unlike many other agorists, I sometimes vote. Does this make me a bad agorist? Some would say that this is anti-agorist, but to me, it is an expression of the pragmatic nature of agorism. I own my home, but unfortunately, my city insists that I pay a property tax which is essential feudal land rent. If I don’t pay, then the city will seize my home. As much as I hate paying it, I still do it because I don’t want to lose my home. I make a pragmatic value judgment. Is it worth more to me not to pay the tax and lose my home? Or, is it worth more to me to keep my home by paying taxes? As I said earlier, I do the latter. Despite hating taxation, I pay because the consequences are even more undesirable.
Now, if I see that there is a measure on the ballot to raise property taxes, I have a couple of options. First, I could thumb my nose at voting, sit on my moral high horse, and then feel good about myself as I pay higher property taxes. Or, I could make a pragmatic value judgment, hold my nose, and vote not to raise property taxes and then enjoy potentially not having to pay more property taxes… at least for that year.
If I were an absolutist on not voting, then I would be creating an artificial barrier between myself and potential benefits for my life. I don’t want to pay my city any more than I have to, and if I have to pull a lever to lessen the load, it is ultimately a small price to pay.
When we become absolutists, we put artificial limits on our lives. We essentially do the government’s job for them. Agorism has a lot more gray area than other ideologies, and I like that. Life is not black and white, and when we force life into those categories, we ultimately make life worse for ourselves.
So, embrace the gray. Don’t be afraid of pragmatism. Do what is best for you and your family. We can agree that you shouldn’t hurt people or take their stuff. Outside of that, anything goes. It’s your choice to make.
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