If there’s one thing Netflix’s ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ makes evident, it’s that the 1993 stand-off between the federal government and the Branch Davidians religious cult was simply awful. After all, the magnitude of the errors made by both sides at the latter’s Mt. Carmel Center society was to such an extent it led to the loss of 86 lives; 4 agents and 82 sect members, including 28 kids. Though on the flip side, there were, fortunately, a few individuals to make it out of the compound alive, amongst whom was actually none other than now public personality David Thibodeau.
Who is David Thibodeau?
Although born and raised in the wondrous city of Bangor in Maine by a single mother, David ostensibly relocated to California to build a different life shortly after graduating high school in 1987. The truth is he was always close to his mother; it’s just that he wished to pursue a career in music, so he decided to enroll at Los Angeles’ Musicians Institute of Technology to study drumming. However, his entire world turned upside down within four years as he came across Branch Davidians’ leader David Koresh as well as his right-hand man Steven “Steve” Emil Schneider, in 1991.
“I always knew there was some kind of an unseen force that seemed to direct me through life,” David candidly stated in the Netflix original documentary series. “… I was at Guitar Center in Hollywood when these two guys, they were looking at one of the drum sets, and they said, ‘You a drummer?’ I had drumsticks in my hand, so I admitted, ‘Yeah.'” The trio then introduced themselves to one another while making small talk, only for the sect head to immediately state, “You don’t even realize how every day there are forces carving out your path and where you’re going to be.”
David was admittedly really struck by this assertion since this was precisely the way his life was at the time, driving him to learn more about this duo before choosing to migrate to Texas for good. It has actually been reported he initially wasn’t interested in the entire new religious movement spiel, but he eventually joined their Christian band because of amicable, warm people like Steve. Regardless, he never honestly considered himself a Branch Davidian member or thought their leader was the Messiah, which is arguably why the 1993 siege bothered him more than anyone else.
Yet David remained right in the Waco, Texas, compound until the very end — he left only once a massive fire broke out at the entire establishment on April 19, 1993 (day 51 of the bitter stand-off). This was mere hours after federal officials had tactfully set off tear gas to push their surrender, just for it to result in nothing short of heartbreak, terror, as well as loss unlike any other in history. The source of this blaze is truly still a point of incredible contention, but the fact David had crawled/jumped through a hole in order to save his life before immediately being taken into custody is not.
Where is David Thibodeau Now?
David Thibodeau was rather quickly established to be someone with no significant involvement in Branch Davidians’ workings, yet he was still held as a material witness since he’d spent years within. He thus proved crucial in providing evidenced testimonies against those religious group members charged with a myriad of criminal counts in connection to the needlessly long-lasting, deadly siege. But it’s also imperative to note he has never shied away from criticizing the authorities for the way they went around serving their arrest warrant for David Koresh or the media for its portrayal of the same.
David has apparently always been powerfully active in voicing his own personal perspective on this siege, which is why he was even a part of the 1995 Congressional hearing on the matter. Moreover, in 1999, he co-authored a memoir titled ‘A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story,’ only for it to later serve as a tremendous inspiration for the 2018 Paramount crime drama mini-series ‘Waco.’ As for his current standing, from what we can tell through his social media platforms, David has since returned to reside in his hometown of Bangor, Maine, but he does continue to visit Texas often.
In fact, he even actively runs a website called Waco Survivors, wherein he archives media posts related to the stand-off while offering his open opinions to paint a clearer picture of the whole thing. We should also mention that in the last three decades, David has happily been a part of/drummer for many bands, including Why Am I?, Lefty, Pha tt Sally, Dakota, Sideways, and The Blast Addicts. Though the musician’s main priority these days appears to be serving as an actor, educator, as well as humanitarian by frequently featuring on podcasts, shows, and documentaries or giving live talks.
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