Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "No, seriously, supposedly the ATF wanted to do a memorial for their agents fallen in the line of duty serving a lawful warrant..."

RX: "An awful warrant?"

Me: "...at Waco. Apparently it was going to be a statue of an agent, all jocked up in raid gear because that's how they like to see themselves: as action figures and not cubicle drone tax cops. But anyhow, a statue of this raid gear-wearing agent leading a little boy and girl by the hands. To the afterlife, I guess. If it's true, that is just singularly tone deaf."

RX: "'Singularly Tone-Deaf' is the ATF's middle name."

34 comments:

Will Brown said...

STD might well be their middle initials.

Query; which note on the scale can't they hear?

Southern Belle said...

Waco was a tragedy. I watched a documentary about what took place, I can't remember the exact name of it, but it showed a lot of footage that we didn't see at the time.

The ATF and the FBI covered up their incompetence and, in my opinion, their murderous behavior.

TotC said...

And when Lon Horiuchi finally makes his descent to perdition, do you suppose H&S Precision will erect a memorial to murdering thugs?

Anonymous said...

They just did it wrong...they need two memorials...

One of a group all dressed to kill around a bonfire watching those babies burn, and a second of their cubicle-dwelling brethren around a wastebasket fire full of Constitution.

Hell, I'd contribute to that.

AT

Bram said...

They should make a memorial to the lost career of the Agent (if there was one) who suggested they wear street clothes and tail Karesh until he goes to town for groceries, and arrest him there.

TJIC said...

So, Tam, what's the comment policy here?

If I said that the only statue of an ATF officer I want to see is modeled on the scene in Pulp Fiction where Ving Rhames is wearing a ball gag and is tied face down on a bench, would that be appropriate?

Tam said...

I'd still buy comics from you, if that's what you mean.

CTone said...

"But anyhow, a statue of this raid gear-wearing agent leading a little boy and girl by the hands. To the afterlife, I guess."

Tam, you should seriously consider a disclaimer on some of your posts to not drink coffee while reading. I got lucky this time, but there will be another, I'm sure.

Ed Foster said...

I don't want to tick off ATF, as I deal with them every day, and the office types who "encourage" me to keep the door locked and my paperwork straight are actually nice people doing a good job.

But the level of competence shown by the paramilitary turkeys at Waco was pathetic. Koresh left the compound every morning for a long run, and could have been picked up without a struggle. The commando types WANTED to make an assault.

When it happened, to quote a very attractive young female agent I saw on TV, "We were outgunned, outthought and outfought".

As far as Mr. Horiuchi, remember that the very professional FBI SWAT unit left the Ruby Ridge site before the shooting began. Their commander explained why with the words "We're policemen, not assassins".

I want to believe the problem was the manic collection of special action teams thrown together in the '70's and early '80's, all trying to justify their existence and populated with testosterone oozing Good Ol' Boys wanting to do something brave.

I also want to believe the SWAT, or (politically correct term) ERT people around now have had all the horror stories of the formative years included in their training and are all the more professional because of it. It's an old and mature form of law enforcement now, and the big city cops and (I assume) the Feds aren't the Yahoos that ran around in black BTU's 30 years ago.

I had most of the Hartford Connecticut ERT crew in my shop last Saturday morning (we're making their new 1911 superguns so they can throw away the crap they're using now), and I don't think I could find a smoother, more professional crew at Quantico.

A great bunch of people, and in an armpit like Hartford they get used all too often, and perform with outstanding professionalism. I'm talking men who can take a 12 gauge shotgun blast from a druggie at less than 20 feet and still fight through the shock and return effective fire. I respect these guys tremendously.

That being said, I wonder about your typical part-time small town or county commando units. Everything that was sloppy and unprofessional back in the day is still likely to happen with poorly trained and rarely drilled amateurs see their chance for glory.

And there are so many units of the type, far more than necessary. There are only so many major league players and coaches out there. That's why Oshkosh doesn't play in Yankee Stadium.

But every hostage situation is major league, and Single A or college grade ball isn't enough.

If some whack-job had a knife at my throat in New York or Chicago, I might think I had a chance of rescue and survival.

In East Bumfuck Kansas, I would be more afraid of getting accidentally shot by the local loon squad

aczarnowski said...

If only Minneapolis and St. Paul SWAT teams had the same standing as the guys you are working with Ed. I don't believe many would call the Twin Cities east bumfuck, but our metro cops sure seem to run that way. See also our recently deceased Metro Gang Strike Force.

Rabbit said...

Only if they make it a realistic portrayal and carve the pedestal with the lifeless forms of dead puppies and kitties.

perlhaqr said...

Ed: [T]he office types who "encourage" me to keep the door locked and my paperwork straight are actually nice people doing a good job.

Sorry, but no matter how effectively they might do their assigned task, I can't accept that they can be considered to be doing a good job, when their entire job is unconstitutional. That's like handing out achievement awards to the guards at Arkangel.

Sport Pilot said...

Tam, I’ve mixed feeling about this post due to background knowledge and knowing one of the ATF Agents who was shot and wounded on the rooftop. I respect your opinion and right to express it though.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of the initial shootout was that it was caused by friendly fire: The officers serving the warrant at the front door were surprised by a child playing in the front yard, and one of the officers pulled out his gun, accidentally shooting another officer. The other officers reacted to the officer being shot, and pumped several rounds into and through the door, hitting Koresh and the child. Things went downhill from there.

Tam said...

Sport Pilot,

It's a damn shame that people got killed in what was, by any measure, an ill-conceived grandstanding bureaucratic goat-rope.

The BATFEIEIO had charges that (while, in my opinion, were unConstitutional) they could have made stick in a court of law. But rather than letting cooler heads prevail, they wanted to make a budget-justifying spectacle of it and the whole thing blew up in their faces. And then got dumped in the FBI's lap. And spiralled further south from there. And led to a disgraceful cover-up and an orgy of circular-firing-squad fingerpointing among various agencies.

I don't think that even the hardiest Law'n'Order proponent can argue against that.

Will said...

Sport Pilot,

have you seen the video of the roof assault? It starts off with one of them shooting himself in the leg while drawing from his thigh holster, while partway to the roof. At least that was self-inflicted. The rest of it was blue-on-blue. Agents fired through the wall with their MP5's after entering through the window, then the one on the outside hoses the room through the window. Appears most, if not all, ATF's casualties were their own fault.

Will said...

If that statue is built, wonder how long it lasts in un-molested condition?

Anonymous said...

"...trying to justify their existence..."

"...they wanted to make a budget-justifying spectacle of it..."

Those quotes, from Ed and Tam, go to the heart of it.

Big dept., small dept., fed, state, county, and your local PD, it doesn't matter, it's all gov. And like every other branch of it, top to bottom and across the board, it's about the money (power) and how to keep it flowing.

Always follow the money.

AT

Sport Pilot said...

I didn't say I disagreed with you Tam, just that I had mixed feelings about the incident. Serious mistakes were made, live's were lost and Koresh could have been taken into custody in another manner. At the very least the property could have been locked down and a negotiated settlement brokered or attempted w/o violence. Politics came into play with this incident that should have never entered into the way it was handled. Beyond this I'll again say I respect your opinion.

Sendarius said...

I see a lot of comments about how Koresh could have been arrested elsewhere more easily.

Didn't this whole incident stem from ATF identifying a TAX VIOLATION?

Last time I owed tax to the government, they sent me a bill in the post.

Tam said...

Sendarius,

That was part of it. IIRC, among the other charges were federal firearms law violations for manufacturing guns w/o a license (I believe the Davidians had a side gig going building ARs from stripped lowers and selling them at gun shows, using a friendly FFL to order the lowers and transacting the sales at his tables at gun shows.) It was more than just the NFA violations (which are criminal charges in and of themselves.)

It's a bogus and unconstitutional law, but it's a criminal charge nonetheless.

Dr_Mike said...

I just want to remind folks, the stated purpose of the final Waco raid, as per then Attorney General Janet Reno:

They knew the folks inside had gas masks and children. They knew children and gas masks are a tough mix. The stated purpose, per Ms. Reno, was to torture the children enough that the mothers would break with Koresh and bring them out.

Now I ask you, who among you would disagree, that if our Marines in Iraq did such a thing, they would and should be tried for war crimes, then executed?

But then again, the armed forces object to the term "militarization" of law enforcement on the grounds of "but we don't do stuff like that. We'd get shot."

That whole bit about poking holes in a straw-filled kerosene-lantern-lit building on a windy day then pumping it full of flammable gas, well, whooda thunkit?

loren said...

Waco had more causalities but Ruby Ridge was the defining event of our modern Federal government's response to people who buck the system.
As far as I know, I've never been within a thousand miles of Mr. Weaver and don't much care for his political expression, but come the revolution those agents involved go to the wall.

John said...

In the case of Waco and Ruby Ridge, it is my belief that they were heavily prompted by the Two Creeps from Arkysaw.

Reno was point...err...Mam for that murderous Administration's attempt to create a widespread 'scary gun owner' public mindset. Waco was a botched Federal publicity attempt, prior to cramming thru a Legislative Coup that would set up the mechanism for eventual wholesale registration and confiscation.

I don't beleive that assessment is from the Kingdom of Nuttery: the Clinton's appeared to have extraordinary ideas about the flexibility of law and the use of extra-legal power to achieve their goals.

Such a proposed memorial should certainly include Janet and Hillary in an appropriate pose with Bill, victoriously standing upon a pile of burned corpses.

Anonymous said...

IIRC, the official codename of the Waco raid was "Showtime". Apparently, the BATF was either in jeopardy of losing some funding, or needed to justify some rather large expenses at the time.

I also recall that they had the time to invite several foreign countries to send representatives of their respective HRT equivalents to observe and to ". . . see how it could/should be done".

BoxStockRacer

Will said...

They knew exactly what would happen when they fired those gas grenades into that building, and pumped more from those tanks into it. There are warnings on the containers that it was to be used ONLY outdoors, that fires and explosions WOULD occur if used indoors. That is why the feds tried to hide the fact that they used it at all.
IIRC, it was the Israelis that discovered the side effect of the carrier agent used in that CS, and informed the manufacturer. They quit using it because of this problem. They couldn't ensure that it would not end up inside a structure, even by accident.

Somewhere there are lists of everyone that attended that barbecue. They need to be made public.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Michael Reagan, Ronald Reagan's son that said:

"Is it my imagination, or were there more tanks in Waco than there were in Somalia?"

. . . where Somalia was in referencere to the "Blackhawk Down" episode.

BoxStockRacer

Justthisguy said...

I concur entirely with Perlhaqr. Of course, nobody with the power to change things knows what I think, or even knows that I exist.

This is un-fixable. I mean, just look at the so-called Daylight Saving Time. Was anything else so irrational ever jammed down the craws of the un-suspecting doodahs who make up most of the populace? Why should we keep the same time as do people 15 degrees of longitude to the east of us when we could keep the time of our own place?

If we can't even do away with a silly stupid thing like daylight saving time, how are we going to solve the real, existential problems?

Tam said...

John,

"In the case of Waco and Ruby Ridge, it is my belief that they were heavily prompted by the Two Creeps from Arkysaw. "

How was the governor of Arkansas responsible for Ruby Ridge? That took place in '91-'92.

I swear, the Clinton Derangement Syndrome on this side of the aisle can be every bit as bad as the BDS on the other.

Tam said...

justthisguy,

"Why should we keep the same time as do people 15 degrees of longitude to the east of us when we could keep the time of our own place?"

They used to do that, but then they invented choo-choo trains and people started dying by boxcar lots, as it were.

jimbob86 said...

"I want to believe the problem was the manic collection of special action teams thrown together in the '70's and early '80's, all trying to justify their existence and populated with testosterone oozing Good Ol' Boys wanting to do something brave."

....ummm ...... er ...... So.... shooting a mother holding a child in the face with a sniper rifle is a "brave" thing?

Lon Horiuchi still draws breath as a free man ...... why is that?

CTone said...

"That being said, I wonder about your typical part-time small town or county commando units. Everything that was sloppy and unprofessional back in the day is still likely to happen with poorly trained and rarely drilled amateurs see their chance for glory."

In my town, which used to be small but is now a quiet suburb of distant DC, just about every warrant for anything is served by dozens of deputies with rifles. There was an absolute fiasco last year next to my parents house over a misunderstanding with a PPK, and it very much could have turned into another Ruby Ridge. Rifles and tactical gear galore, and the guy in the house was terrified to come out and surrender.

I don't feel safe in my home at all, and I don't rock the boat so to speak. Something's not right with that.

Will said...

And, since old Lon was still walking around free come Waco time, he was there, too. After the barbecue festivities, a pile of brass was found at his sniper position. Brave Lon strikes again!

An interesting side note on Waco. I spoke with one of the few survivors, who were grouped together at a Las Vegas gun show as part of the SOF Three Gun Match in '94. He said that Koresh was expecting an ATF agent to stop by to talk about their gun activities, and that he might have to go downtown with them. No clue they were planning an assault. Said they spent 5 or ten minutes running around getting guns and ammo together, and getting children and mothers under cover.
I don't recall the timeline now, but he said when the helicopters strafed the building, they found a woman dead in bed, live baby next to her, with bullet holes in the roof.

John said...

Tam,

My memory regarding the actual historical facts of who-dun-whot-when, is indeed faulty. At this point, the day of the Waco burning is the single searing image that overrides much of any interest on my part about the Clinton's other misdeeds.

Whether those actions be historically real, or whether they are feverishly imagined by people who know that metallic threads in a dollar bill transmit your brainwaves to a bunker in Arkansas, didn't matter to me then, or now.

As time goes on, the other Federally approved and perp'd misdeeds of then, are more or less all clustered around the same node in my brain. When I need an address to find them -- Waco will do.