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Controversial New Religions$
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James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019515682X.001.0001

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Explaining Militarization at Waco

Explaining Militarization at Waco

The Construction and Convergence of the Warfare Narrative

(p.79) 4 Explaining Militarization at Waco
Controversial New Religions

Stuart A. Wright

Oxford University Press

This essay examines how the Branch Davidians — a small religious group following a peaceful lifestyle in rural Texas — came to be perceived as a dangerous community that required an aggressive and sustained military-like response from authorities to subdue them. The Davidians were brought to the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms through the sustained efforts of apostates and other interest groups. This led to a siege in which most of the members died. The analysis focuses on the “logic” by which the situation was so dramatically militarized.

Keywords:   Branch Davidians, David Koresh, Waco, siege, law enforcement

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