Since the topic du jour is guns and shootings, it’s serendipitous that Paramount has recently been airing a mini-series called, “Waco.” I haven’t seen it myself (I guess I’d need to acquire a TV), but hope to do so in the near future. Meanwhile, I thought readers might be interested in Reason Papers’s July 2014 symposium, “Waco: Twenty Years Later.” Technically, I suppose, the symposium came out twenty-one years after the fact, as for a variety of reasons we were unable to publish it on time in 2013.
Symposium: Waco Twenty Years Later
- The Contested Legacies of Waco —Irfan Khawaja
- The Branch Davidian Stand-Off Twenty Years Later —Michael Barkun
- From Razing a Village to Razing the Constitution: A Twenty-Year Retrospective on Waco —Paul H. Blackman and David B. Kopel
- Waco: An Incident Superseded —Dick Reavis
I tried to invite commentators representing a relatively wide spectrum of views, in order to put the Waco controversy in its widest possible context. In retrospect, I wish I had invited (or successfully invited) a larger number and more diverse set of participants.
I regret that, due to a scheduling conflict, I wasn’t able to include a contribution by Jayne Seminaire Docherty of Eastern Mennonite University, author of a particularly insightful book, Learning Lessons from Waco. In the “reach exceeds grasp” category, I’d asked Ronald Noble to write up a contribution as well, but (I guess) failed to convince him to participate. Noble was author of the Treasury Department’s report into Waco, and at the time of my invitation the head of Interpol.
That said, I think the symposium adds something to our understanding of Waco–and, if I may say so, is a hell of a lot more insightful than the stuff I’ve seen recently in mainstream outlets (see e.g., this piece in The New Republic, and this one in The Atlantic, both of which fail to deal with the indisputable evidence of government malfeasance on Waco uncovered by the Danforth Report). But you make that judgment. I don’t want to put a gun to your head.