From the Columbia Chronicle
April 26, 1993

The scriptwriters at all three major networks and, of course, Fox, have been waiting impatiently I'm sure, to write the final scenes of the David Koresh/Branch Davidian made-for-TV movie. As much as we all love Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher, the magic they created for us, and the void they filled in our otherwise empty lives, it is time to move on and the holocaust at the Koresh compound came just in time to satisfy the craving we all get for the real-life drama driven by an all-out media blitz. Drew Barrymore's phone has probably been ringing off the hook. Michael Gross has probably been rehearsing his David Koresh lines for weeks. The deal is done, production has begun and we were all lucky enough to get a true American-style ending; a bloody confrontation, guns, violence, and apocalyptic nightmare come true, God came to David Koresh in a 20-ton tank.

This is not the end of the story. As far as the networks are concerned it is' beginning-middle-end, drama, climax, dénouement, even a little hanky panky goin' on with Koresh and a couple dozen female followers, but for FBI Director, William Sessions, for Attorney General, Janet Reno, and quite possibly for President Clinton, it ain't over yet.

Why? Because the plan backfired, people died, children died and someone must be blamed. It is April 20, as I write this, one day after the fact, and nobody has decided who is at fault, but everybody involved in the handling of the Koresh Situation is under much scrutiny and heavy criticism, except of course for the press. I never really sympathized with those, more conservative than I, who cursed the god awful "liberal press" until I watched the Sessions new conference on TV this morning. The man was asked in probably six or seven differently worded questions, did he feel responsible for the deaths of 86 people, 25 of them children, and if not, why weren't there more fire trucks on the scene? The answer never varied. The mass suicide was not expected and was certainly not the only means available to the cultists to commit mass suicide, in any case, even if every available firefight in the Southwest had been available, the FBI was not going to let them get anywhere near the compound which was known to be armed with .50 caliber machine guns with a shooting range of 3,000 yards.

It has become clear the somebody must accept responsibility to set the public at ease, but who is responsible for a suicide? By definition, the responsibility lies ultimately on the individual. In a mass suicide, the responsibility would lie with the group as a whole. Why can't we just blame the whole damned thing on the twisted psychology and cult logic of David Koresh and his followers? Why can't the blame rest on David Koresh's shoulders?

Where there are children involved things get a little hairy, that and the responsibility that maybe not everyone in the compound was 110% behind the idea of setting themselves on fire, at least not after the first flames started flickering. In the end, 25 kids died in that fire and that sucks, so for right now both sides, Koresh's lawyers and the Federal Government will accuse and defend back and forth until the shock has worn off and the hype has worn down. Maybe then it will be accepted that there are certain people, like David Koresh, who are going to think that they are the Lamb of God occasionally and who maybe have that rare ability to control people's minds and lives. Like Hitler, Manson, and Jim Jones before him, Koresh had a sick talent for making people come to him, kill for him and even die for him. Placing the blame on the FBI, the Attorney General or even the President will not prevent this from happening again. It was simply a highly volatile situation that literally exploded. It's time now to let the credits roll on this one and wait for the Home Alone: For Real, made-for-TV movie to be aired on one of your favorite networks.

© 1993 Chris Auman