In 1993, on information about a stockpile of weapons, the ATF stormed the compound home of a cult known as the Branch Davidians. David Koresh led this strange group who believed he was divine. It went badly, turned into a standoff and the FBI came in to negotiate. 51 days later, unresolved, the FBI went in. Most of those remaining in the compound, including children, died, many after the tear gas that was sprayed into the building caught fire. It is widely considered to be a huge disaster.
This short series is based on two biographies, one by a survivor from the Branch Davidians and the other and FBI negotiator. I remember watching a documentary on the siege, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, back in the late nineties and it was pretty clear that the whole situation had been pretty badly handled. As with any drama based on real events, it’s hard to know just how true-to-life it is, but it seemed plausible. I’m somewhat fascinated by the way some people are able to get a crowd of people to follow them in such an intense way. The leaders don’t even have to have great ideas, just this strange charisma that draws people in. Amazing… in a very horrific way.