April 3, 1993, Waco, Texas
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An eyewitness account of the events depicted in the photographs.
5:30am woke up. Went to Jack DeVault's house where we met with Mike Schroeder and Jack to head to Sam's Wholesale as our rally point. Arrived before 7am. Others were gathering, including men, women, children, and at least 1 baby. Some made their signs.
We left around 7:43 am, with at least 25 people, which I counted 1 at a time, caravaning to the hill above the roadblock, after picking up Gary Hunt who said he had power of attorney for Koresh. He said this came about because during an interview on the radio which Koresh was apparently listening to, it was asked if K wanted someone come to Mt. C, and if Koresh wanted Mr. Gary Hunt to act as his attorney, or to have power of attorney, and the satellite antenna moved, indicating a positive.
We stayed on top of the hill for 10-15 minutes.
One vendor guy was selling buttons to support the ATF, and was arguing with some in our company that this (Waco) was his area and he supported what ATF was doing and we were wrong.
On arrival at the roadblock we saw brown suited DPS, ATF, Texas Rangers, Waco Police, lined across the road. One ATF guy had an all black suit and bullet vest. The ATF were in full gear, with bullet vests and either M-16s or AR-15s, MP-5s with both magazines loaded, and shotguns. The ATF each had a sidearm, and most of them had several additional mags for the sidearms. Some of the longarms had mini mag flashlights attached on the business end. We met up with folks from Dallas, Austin, and several other places.
The media, including someone working for KTSA, interviewed a number of our people. It seemed there were more media than us, and more police than us. We had at least 40-50 people, because at least 25 people came from San Atonio.
Some of the ATF were spread out beyond the road, as if to keep us from venturing around the block. They were all holding their rifles, as you would expect in any military operation.
The media gathered on one side of the road, and media and us congregated on the other side. Many cars came and went through the roadblock, some of them seemed to think they were very important and smart, and gave us condescendingly scowling looks or finger wags. Some local residents came by just to see what was going on today, to get the latest scoop.
Some time after arrival, some bigmouthed rather obnoxous guy came and started picking arguments with anyone who would argue. John Zimmerman took the bait, and a rather heated, loud discussion ensued. The media quickly flocked around this altercation. People from our side tried to quiet JZ and any others down, saying the dude was an ATF plant trying to make us look like bozos. Someone said the ATF also has sympathizers or plants at press conferences who rescue ATF whenever a good line of questioning was playing out by asking trivial questions.
When it became apparent our numbers were too small and the police numbers too large, we left to go to the 2nd location, on Frazier road. Everyone was hollaring "plan B", but half the folks didn't seem to know what that ment. Gary Hunt handed out flyers showing a map of where to go with instructions. and I think most everyone finally figured out where that was.
We began caravaning there in a rather unorganized fashion and stopped in front of a huge field where the flag staff and the tower could be seen. There was a plot of trees ahead of us which some were pointing out as good cover should we try anything.
Overhead every once in awhile a Huey copter with 2 men on each side with their legs dangling off the endge, I could make out "FBI" on one jacket, each with an M-16/AR-15 or some other rifle watched us. The helecopter landed at one point in the field, and several times flew quite close and slowly around us.
We waited around for someone to assume leadership and do something. THere was talk about going over the barbed wire fence to the field to try to walk towards the church. Initially we could have done something, because there were few police and ATF, but soon enough they arrived with large numbers and 5 or 6 went out into the field parallel to us to keep us from trying to make a break for the church. Eventually more went into the field, and some DPS, at least 1 with a shotgun went into the field also.
It was at this point I noted at least some of the AFT had bright yellow markings on their chests saying AFT POLICE, and on the other side, a yellow patch/badge saying US Special Agent.
John Jr used a bull horn to speak to those in the field, asking them, in a polite but firm way things like: who's field are you tresspassing on? do you have permission to be there? how many of us are you willing to shoot to collect your paycheck? why aren't the local police handling the situation? where is your spokesman (someone said they overheard an ATF guy say, yeah, that's a good question, we don't have a spokesman here), what are you going to do if we cross the fence? does your oath include allegiance to the Constitution? and many other questions. I overheard 1 press person say he was asking good questions. John was not being antagonistic or belligerant.
Someone told me at least 1 press person said he/she would follow us if we went into the field. I don't know what we would have accomplished, except to get certain legal items dispensed with.
We were contemplating spreading out about 50 feet apart, and perhaps see what happened, but ended up deciding to begin walking spread wide apart down the road and force them to also thin out, and see what happened, and we did. The guys in the field followed parallel to us.
Before we started walking, a few police were standing together chatting, I overheard one of them say, I wonder where that old dip is wandering off to, referring to Jack DeVault. I think these were the same guys I heard say we were thinking about going over the fence. I stepped up to the group and politely asked what would be the charge against anyone who crossed the fence, and the DPS guy walked up to me put his face in mine, pointed his finger at me, and said, you stay out of my conversation, and I'll stay out of yours. Well, so much for being informed about what penalties we would face for our contemplated actions. He had a rude attitude. Wasn't much of a public servant to help people.
Later we found out the DPS (we saw their yellow van when leaving, blocking most of the road, and at least they let us out) had blocked off the road and wouldn't let any other of our folks in, and several of them left or went to McDonalds.
Before too many police arrived, an old couple who was with us told me they were leaving because they were afraid we would all be shot. I tried to convince them otherwise, but they were too afraid, and left.
We walked to the end of the road, that was also blocked off by many police and vehicles. There also we spoke reasonably, well, some of ours didn't, asking them why were they allowing the feds to do the state's and local's job, things about the constitution, and so on. THen we returned. It drizzled on us a little at this time.
Some of the ATF guys started walking to the fence, figuring we were leaving, and one bright-curly-white haired guy engaged me first, and then Gary Hunt. I asked him to pose for a picture, he said it's a free country. Gary said he said he was a vietnam vet, GH said hope to not see you again, cause we might be on different sides again, they then got serious, and GH said the guy said if we get on opposite sides, and the implication was things might get violent, the ATF guy said, " you better keep your head down." I heard GH answer he was good at that.
I talked with one of the Libertarian guys about what would happen if we got in a shooting war, we both agreed we would probably lose, even though we were right.
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