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All I smelled was rotten bodies Texas Ranger Roy Coffman said during his testimony at themurder and conspiracy trial of 11 Branch Davidians The dead were found in the rubble of the April 19 firethat destroyed the compound killing more than 75 Branch Davidians including the sects leader DavidKoresh and 17 children Perhaps the worst case of the federal governments overreaching in Americanhistory the 1993 Waco tragedy has caused Americans to ask the question of how much military involvementwill citizens allow in their everyday lives before they lose their rights as individualsIn February 1993 4 federal agents were killed in an assault on the compound of the BranchDavidians a cult group just outside of Waco Texas The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms theATF a unit of the Treasury Department implemented the operation on the grounds that members of theBranch Davidians possessed illegal firearms and explosives and committed physical and sexual abuseespecially against children Their goal was to arrest David Koresh a self-proclaimed apocalyptic prophet andthe leader of the cult and seize the groups weapons After this disaster in which about a half-dozen cult members died and several federal agents werewounded the ATF was replaced by the FBI whose reputation for professionalism promised a quick resolutionof the conflict and an end to the siege It seemed as if America could breathe a sigh of reliefNegotiations began and soon some of the Branch Davidians left the compound Yet the talksultimately ended up breaking down and finally ended All utilities including water electricity and telephonewere cut off Davidians were then bombarded with a psychological attack which included 24 hours of glaringfrom high powered lamps that kept the compound lit all night and 24 hours of blaring music that includedsounds ranging from Buddhist monks chanting to rabbits being killed This barrage was intended to weakenthe will of those inside the compound who were now largely cut off from contact with the outside world On April 19 the FBI
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