Everything You Need to Know About the Waco Massacre

Susan Weems/ Associated Press

Joe Exotic serves as the showstopper of ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness‘, Netflix’s meaty true-crime offering. He is unlike anyone you’ve ever encountered before. The kind that dedicates entire music albums to tigers, has a polygamous marriage with two seemingly heterosexual men, couriers snakes to his rival, and well, runs for president. Wild, right?

But Joe Exotic is also the kind who says things, dangerous things, leaving his listeners uneasy and unsure of the gravity of his words. After all, Joe raged on about how much he wanted Carole Baskin to die. Those who knew him never thought he would be capable to actually try to carry out the deed. But he turned out to be. Of course, whether or not he was the only one responsible is a whole different question.

One of the most horrifying statements from Joe Exotic comes early on in the series when his path first collides with Baskin. The words are sensational enough to make it to the news as he says:

“If they walk in here and take my animals away, it is going to be a small Waco”.

Joe at the time gets away with his gravely insensitive and potentially catastrophic statement. But a loyal employee and friend reveals how he kept bullets ready, engraved with Joe’s and his own name, in case, a situation like this ever arose. They were meant to ride or die together, and go with all guns blazing. Given the eventual conviction of Joe Exotic for the murder-for-hire plot, the gravity of his  earlier “small Waco” statement strikes heavily. But was Joe implying? What really happened in Waco? Here’s everything you need to know.

The Horrors of the Waco Massacre, Explained:

The Waco massacre, also known as the Waco siege, was a devastating tragedy that took place in Waco, Texas, in 1993, following a government raid. It was carried out by the FBI and Texas state law enforcement, and also included in the involvement of the United States Military. The raid soon led to a 51 day long standoff between the FBI and members of a religious cult called Branch Davidians, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The siege came to a catastrophic conclusion as a massive fire erupted, leading to over 76 deaths, including 25 children.

Branch Davidians were a millennial Christian sect that lived in a religious compound in Mount Carmel near Waco. At the time of the siege, David Koresh was the notorious leader of the sect who claimed to the Messiah. Koresh has for long been portrayed as a apocalypse-minded “cult” leader in media – a maniacal genius who convinced hundreds of people that he could talk to god, and ultimately led them to their deaths. Interestingly, a miniseries inspired by Koresh and the Waco tragedy, titled, ‘Waco‘ premiered in 2018.

It is believed that David Koresh claimed that he could unlock the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation, and was preparing his people for the apocalypse. He was also considered to be the “Lamb of God” by his followers, who lived with him in Mount Carmel. However, people outside the sect were sceptical of him and his ways. The 1993 raid took place because several reports stating that Koresh was stocking weapons illegally surface. It was also reported that he had been sexually abusing minors in the sect. However, this has been discredited. Though it is also believed he had several “spiritual wives” including girls who were only 11-years-old.

The government authorities raided Mount Carmel primarily due to the reports on illegal weapons, after Koresh revealed he had received a message from God on the Seven Seals. There were reports by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms stating that the religious community had close to 250 weapons, which included the likes of revolvers, pistols, automatic rifles, assault rifles, shotguns, and grenades.

Koresh had repeatedly denied any plans for mass suicide, but given the weapons, the authorities were concerned that Koresh would ultimately lead the people towards it. The raid employed aggressive tactics, including gassing the place in order to force Davidians out of their enclosure.

However, this led to an open fire taking place from both ends, resulting in a gunfight. Till date, there is no proof on who started the firing. But it ultimately caused the disastrous fire taking seventy-six lives, including innocent women and children. Only nine of the Davidians managed to escape. While Koresh was certainly responsible for the disastrous event, it was also the government’s poor handling of the situation that led to the tragedy. (Featured Image Courtesy: Susan Weems / Associated Press)

Read More: Where is Joe Exotic Now?