Magazine article The Christian Century

Bob Ricks, the FBI's Main Spokesman during the 51-Day Standoff outside Waco, Texas

Magazine article The Christian Century

Bob Ricks, the FBI's Main Spokesman during the 51-Day Standoff outside Waco, Texas

Article excerpt

* Bob Ricks, the FBI's main spokesman during the 51-day standoff outside Waco, Texas, between federal agents and an apocalyptic religious sect known as the--Branch Davidians, remembers April 19, 1993, as beginning with hope that the conflict could be resolved.

Instead, the Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and more than 75 of his followers, including children, died when their compound burned to the ground after FBI agents in an armored vehicle smashed the buildings and pumped in tear gas. The Justice Department maintains that Branch Davidians set the fire.

Ricks disagrees with those who described Koresh as a madman or psychotic.

"Probably the best description of him is a master manipulator," Ricks said. "Did he believe he was Christ? I think it was to his benefit to believe that."

Part of how he convinced followers was by writing an interpretation of the seven seals in the book of Revelation, said Ricks, a Baptist lay leader.

"Only the Lamb of God, only Christ, can open up the seven seals," Ricks said. Koresh "was able to, in effect, open them up in their eyes to describe what the seven seals each represented."

Ricks, now director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, bristles at theories that the FBI started the deadly fire 25 years ago. …

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