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|Stairway to Heaven - Page 13|
Unfortunately, however, the tactical team in charge of operations continued to see Koresh as a con man, not a religious leader. Just as the group dynamics within the cult pushed them toward their horrific conclusion, so too did the group dynamics within law enforcement. Both groups tragically disregarded input that did not fit their world view, their template.
Working with the Davidian children—and seeing the unfolding crisis in Waco from the inside—repeatedly reiterated to me how powerful group influences are in human life and how the human brain cannot really be understood outside of its context as the brain of a member of a highly social species.
Early in the morning of April 19, while in Houston, I received a call from an FBI agent I did not know. He said that I needed to come to Waco immediately: the government had begun a raid on the compound intended to end the siege and free the young people who remained inside. As I drove I listened to the radio. When I crested the hill at the boundary of the city, I saw a massive pillar of thick gray smoke and orange fire. I continued immediately to the Methodist Children's Home. The adults looked stricken, but they had managed so far to avoid betraying their distress to the children. They had been preparing to care for the twenty-three children still inside the compound, getting to know them through their siblings and through videotapes made of the children inside the compound by Koresh and released to the FBI. Now they felt their loss, and were all too aware of how their deaths would affect the children they were already treating.
Adding to our pain was the fact that we knew that much of the trust we had developed with these children would probably now evaporate. We had told them that we were not their enemies and that their parents, siblings and friends would not be killed. But events would now further confirm the accuracy of Koresh's prophecies.