The Brew: Restoration and Remembrance on the 30th Anniversary of the Waco Tragedy

By Al Perrotta Published on April 19, 2023

Happy Wednesday …

Though it comes with a terrible anniversary.

30 Years Ago Today, Waco Siege Comes to Horrific, Fiery End

30 years ago today, the stand-off between the Federal government and the Branch Davidians led by cult leader David Koresh came to horrific end. 76 people, including 26 children, were left dead in the ruins.

All the documentaries, investigations and movie dramatizations — the half-mad cult leader with Messianic aspirations vs anxious and arrogant Feds — all the words spoken these 30 years since that awful day, seem to come down to this: “So awful, so unnecessary.”

I remember watching on CNN as events unfolded. For what seemed like an eternity, none of the commentators noticed the flames poking through the roof and quickly spreading in the fierce Texas winds. “The building’s on fire!” I screamed at the TV.  

I remember that night or the next, when the horrific toll, the catastrophic failure of the response, was clear, Attorney General Janet Reno mentioning believing mothers in the compound would be compelled by maternal instinct to let the children out. Again I shouted at the TV, “When you’re dealing with a cult?!” Didn’t Jonestown teach us normal rules don’t apply? (Later we’d learn the children had been gathered in an underground bunker for safety from the gunfire, only to end up trapped.)

I do remember one more thing. Reno had only been Attorney General a couple days … many weeks after the siege had started. Yet, she stood up and faced the music. She didn’t hide. She didn’t weasel.

Watch this. About at 1:30 in the NBC News montage Reno is asked if she is taking responsibility as a way to shield President Clinton.

“I made the decision. I am accountable. The buck stops with me. And nobody’s ever accused me of running from a decision based on the best information I had.”

Can you imagine anyone in Washington talking like that today? Too many weasels in power today. Think only of those in the administration brushing off the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. We don’t need the policies of Janet Reno. But we could borrow some of the backbone.

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Today, there is little sign of David Koresh’s compound on the sparse landscape 13 miles outside of Waco. Only a small church rebuilt by surviving Branch Davidians, a small Christian sect that had been taken over by the cult leader. The church also serves as a museum not only about the siege but the church’s history before Koresh’s Messianic ambitions turned their church to ashes.

As for Waco, the Texas town has borne the burden of becoming a synonym for the terrible events of April 19, 1993. That stain may be indelible. But credit Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer-Upper fame of helping restore the town’s good name. Thanks to the couple, Waco now evokes as much images of restoration as it does immolation.

New Jersey Town Restores Boardwalk Pier Into a Cross

While we’re on the subject of restoration, check out what the New Jersey shore town of Ocean Grove has done. Ocean Grove has long been proud of its foundations in Christian faith and values. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy obliterated the town’s boardwalk pier. And when it came time to design a new pier, the town ended up honoring its roots by building the new pier in the shape of a giant cross.

It wasn’t intentional, just “organic,” Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association president Michael Badger told Fox News. They simply wanted to build the “best pier” they could. Initially that meant called for “more ends” to the structure. That evolved to the cross shape.

“The more we thought about it, prayed about it, [the more] the inspiration came for the present design.” 

“It’s functional. But it became obvious to us that it is in the shape of a cross — and how fitting it is for our Christian mission.”

Added Badger, “We do see the blessing of God’s hand in this.”

Construction began last September. The $2 million cost was 100% donor funded. And on Friday, the new pier was opened, stretching nearly 500 feet long and 24 feet wide across the extended arms.

Of course, the town is getting grief for having a cross-shaped pier. But Badger is undaunted. “We can’t hide our faith.”

Ocean Grove was founded after the Civil War as a place, Badger says, of “healing and restoration.” Ministry has remained a key feature of the beach town nicknamed “God’s square mile.” “More than just wood, this (cross) will point to the faith that’s helped shape this town for decades and decades.”

Prayers Answered: Buffalo Bill Damar Hamlin Cleared to Play … Will Return This Season

Yesterday we told you about the Texas teen revived two hours after suffering cardiac arrest. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was revived much quicker, but we can still throw the word “miracle” around … especially with yesterday’s news.

Just four months after collapsing on the field during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals, and uniting the nation in prayer, Hamlin announced that he has been cleared by doctors to return to football. He’s already fully taking part in the Bills’ volunteer workout program to prep for the 2023 season.

Said Hamlin:

My heart is still in the game. I love the game. It’s something I want to prove to myself, not nobody else. I just want to show people that fear is a choice, that, you know, you can keep going in something without having the answers. You might feel anxious, you might feel any type of way, but you just keep putting that right foot in front of the left one and you keep going.

Hey, NFL. Just give Damar next year’s Comeback Player of the Year award right now. 

Huh? Toddler Breaches White House Fence

If it’s not embarrassing enough to allow Chinese spy balloons to snoop their way across the USA, imagine a toddler breaching the security of the White House.

Yep. An unnamed toddler managed to slip through the new 13-foot medal fence of the White House Tuesday, and was able to waddle onto the North Lawn before being corralled by Secret Service.

“The Secret Service Uniformed Division today encountered a curious young visitor along the White House north fence line who briefly entered White House grounds,” Secret Service chief of communications told The Hill. “The White House security systems instantly triggered Secret Service officers and the toddler and parents were quickly reunited.”

Joe Biden was at the White House during the incident. Meaning this little tot has gotten closer to the president than any serious reporter other than Peter Doocy.

Here’s a cute shot of the Secret Service with the wayward tot.

And they say this White House never helps the “little people.”

Along The Stream

Not only do we have Stream contributor Chenyuan Snider’s review of Nefarious, but John Zmirak had a fascinating interview with the film’s Executive Producer whose book was the basis for the acclaimed new Christian film, Steve Deace.


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTRGabParler, and now at TRUTH Social.

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