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Government Tanks vs. Citizens

On June 2, 1989, the Communist Chinese government sent the Red Army and a plethora of tanks against students who were peacefully protesting in Tiananmen Square. The students had been there for months, protesting for democracy and for a say in their government. Their government responded with force, killing thousands of them, wounding many more. And then came the political reprisals, and protesters were rounded up and imprisoned.

On April 19, 1993, the US government sent militarily-armed forces of the FBI with tanks against the Branch Davidian church of 85 men, women, and children. The Davidians were preparing to come out--David Koresh "had sent out a letter on Wednesday of that week, giving the terms of his exit," according to Dr. James Tabor, who was there at the time. Instead of allowing a peaceful surrender, the FBI shot deadly tear gas into the church and proceeded to burn it down, killing everyone inside--a horrible death by fire. Any remaining Branch Davidians were given a kangaroo court trial and imprisoned.

Both events were televised. Needless to say. Nothing like striking fear into the hearts of the poor rabbits, citizens.

What is the difference between these two events? Both involved governments setting its forces armed with guns and tanks against citizens. Both involved the death of many of these citizens. So what is the difference?

Perception.

China is governed by a communist totalitarian dictatorship. We expect that sort of violence and brutality from such governments. They are world-reknowned for murdering citizens of their countries.

But is that really a difference? Or is it a similarity? Prior to April 19, 1993 Americans had thought we lived in a republic, a nation governed by laws, with the consent of the governed. We were wrong. Apparently, our government is also a communist totalitarian dictatorship. It certainly acted that way then and since.

If, say, our government was a republic, governed by laws, wouldn't those laws that make killing people illegal have kicked in? Wouldn't the perpertrators (government agents or not) have been arrested, tried, and punished? Wouldn't there have been such an uproar that Congress would have had to hold hearings immediately--rather than two years later? Wouldn't Janet Reno, who claimed full responsibility, and Bill Clinton, who claimed full responsibility, have had to at least resign--or better yet, take a gun to their own heads due to their vast loss of honor?

But no. None of those things that should have happened, that must happen, happened. In fact, the government thugs, at least in the Tanks vs. Citizens occurence in the US, were promoted.

Which do you believe, words or deeds? Reality dictates that survivors pay close attention to deeds, taking words only at their face value.

What did the holocaust at Waco Texas on April 19, 1993 teach us? It remains to be seen what it taught many Americans. But what it taught me, and many others like me, is that our government is a brutal totalitarian fascist/communist beast, slouching toward Armageddon.

I am too furious, too sick in heart and mind, to fully give vent to my feelings about that horrible day five years ago. That wound, that pain of seeing tanks being used against an American religious community burns as bright today as it did that day. May this wound never heal, may my heart always shudder, may my blood always run cold when I think of April 19, 1993.

I am a Christian and will turn my cheek, but there will come a time for righteous vengeance. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." Come, Lord, and lead us.

Patricia Neill, 1998




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22 April, 1998