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All I smelled was rotten bodies Texas Ranger Roy Coffman said during his testimony at the murder and conspiracy trial of 11 Branch Davidians The dead were found in the rubble of the April 19 fire that destroyed the compound killing more than 75 Branch Davidians including the sects leader David Koresh and 17 children Perhaps the worst case of the federal governments overreaching in American history the 1993 Waco tragedy has caused Americans to ask the question of how much military involvement will citizens allow in their everyday lives before they lose their rights as individuals In February 1993 4 federal agents were killed in an assault on the compound of the Branch Davidians a cult group just outside of Waco Texas The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms the ATF a unit of the Treasury Department implemented the operation on the grounds that members of the Branch Davidians possessed illegal firearms and explosives and committed physical and sexual abuse especially against children Their goal was to arrest David Koresh a self-proclaimed apocalyptic prophet and the 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 were wounded the ATF was replaced by the FBI whose reputation for professionalism promised a quick resolution of the conflict and an end to the siege It seemed as if America could breathe a sigh of relief Negotiations began and soon some of the Branch Davidians left the compound Yet the talks ultimately ended up breaking down and finally ended All utilities including water electricity and telephone were cut off Davidians were then bombarded with a psychological attack which included 24 hours of glaring from high powered lamps that kept the compound lit all night and 24 hours of blaring music that included sounds ranging from Buddhist monks chanting to rabbits being killed This barrage was intended to weaken the will of those
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