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In 1993, federal agents besieged the Branch Davidian Compound at Mount Carmel, 12 miles from Waco, Texas. More than 80 people, including women and children, perished during the lengthy standoff. For the far-right militia movement, Waco became a rallying cry, akin to the Alamo.

David Koresh had become leader of the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church that believed in Christ's Second Coming after an apocalypse. Koresh declared himself the “father” of all the Davidian children, insisted on Spartan living conditions, armed the compound, and began daily paramilitary training as a defensive measure to prepare for the apocalypse.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) believed Koresh had stockpiled illegal weapons, and on February 28, 1993, agents raided Mount Carmel. Four ATF agents and six members of the cult died in the ensuing gun battle, and many others, including Koresh, ...

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