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Public Response and Speculation After Waco

The author's view of events during the siege in Waco, Texas, shows a strong and incorrect antigovernment bias as well as a shortsighted lack of respect for public opinion. As one of the majority who agrees that this was a tragedy created by and finished off by the cult members themselves, I am offended.

The author speculates that the Branch Davidians' "real crime ... was their stubborn refusal to bow to conventional orthodoxy and official authority."

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Possession of an illegal arsenal of this scope is also a real and serious crime. There can be no mistake that the Davidians were ready and expecting to use it, and perhaps it would have caused greater loss of life than what occurred. I am reassured when conventional authority is looking out for our interests and is willing to risk their lives.

The behavior of the Davidians brought this tragedy on themselves. If we are to credit their statements, they died believing they were headed into paradise. And they, not the ATF, will have to explain this to their Maker. G. Robert Thompson, Caldwell, W.V.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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