Thursday, April 17, 2003

Waco 10th Anniversary

The kids speak:

The seven survivors tell Gibson life in the compound was horrific. Physical abuse was a common occurrence, and there was no running water or indoor plumbing, they say. No attempt was made to provide the children with an education.

"When I left at age 18, I probably had an eighth-grade education," says Brad Borst.

In fact, Koresh made sure they were completely isolated from the outside world. Koresh brainwashed the children into thinking everyone outside of the cult was evil, and he prepared them for what he described as a final battle that would end the world and bring them eternal glory. Koresh threatened to kill the children after his resurrection if they helped the "bad guys."

Kiri Jewell, now 22, says she was sexually abused by Koresh when she was 10 years old and groomed to be his youngest wife — with her mother's consent.

The memories of life with Koresh are still vivid in her mind. "He never was very specific, but at some point we were gonna have to die for him," Jewell, now a student at Michigan State University, tells Gibson. "I didn't expect to live past 12."

Gibson also talks with 14-year-old Sky Okimoto, Koresh's own son, who was revered as a son of God inside the compound.

Waco was a tragically bungled operation, but I'll never have anything but contempt for those who perceive that child molester as a martyr for gun rights or religious freedom. I never remember hearing much outrage from those people regarding an even more "bungled"operation - the police bombing of the MOVE families in Philadelphia.