Netflix Documentary Analyzes Waco Tragedy

Promotional poster for "Waco: American Apocalypse" | Image by Netflix

Waco: American Apocalypse is a new Netflix three-part documentary series that delves into the tragic events that occurred at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, 30 years ago. 

The 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and federal authorities, lasting from February 28 to April 19, 1993, resulted in the deaths of four federal agents and 76 Davidians, 25 of whom were children and two of whom were pregnant women, per 8 News Now.

Despite numerous investigations into the events leading up to the siege and the subsequent tragedy at the compound known as Mount Carmel Center, the documentary explores the possibility that human error was the primary cause of the tragedy.

The film highlights the upcoming congressional appropriations hearings and the ATF’s desire to improve its image prior to the incident. There were illegal weapons on the property, and Branch Davidian leader David Koresh could have been detained multiple times leading up to the standoff. However, the agency had lost the element of surprise on the day of the search, per The Wall Street Journal.

The lack of surprise was a major factor in the resulting standoff. The Branch Davidians were prepared for law enforcement to arrive on the scene and ambushed agents as they arrived, resulting in the deaths of four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), as well as injuries to 20 others, per The ATF.

Special Agent Conway LeBleu, Special Agent Todd McKeehan, Special Agent Robert Williams, and Special Agent Steven Willis all lost their lives during the siege, according to the ATF. 

The documentary includes personal stories of three individuals involved, including Heather Jones, the last child to be freed from the compound at the age of nine, and former FBI sniper Chris Whitcomb, who witnessed the siege.

Kathy Schroeder, a supporter of Branch Davidian sect leader David Koresh, speaks out in defense of the group’s teachings and Koresh’s sexual dominance of women.

“People think that a man having sex with a bunch of underaged girls is crime,” Schroeder says in the documentary, per Decider. “And in conventional wisdom, this could probably be very well true. However, these weren’t underaged girls because you come of age at 12. All these girls were adults in our belief system.”

Former FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner is also a part of the documentary and criticizes his own bureau’s hostage rescue team. Additionally, Noesner draws attention to the FBI’s involvement in the standoff because Noesner believes the team undermined negotiation discussions with the Davidians and incited fire from the compound.

Waco: American Apocalypse suggests that errors stemming from human failings may have been the primary cause of the tragedy rather than the so-called “conspiracy theories” that some may choose to believe. Although those who were very close to the incident may not understand the events any better now than they did in 1993, the documentary offers candid perspectives on their experiences during the siege.

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  1. Bill

    The FBI was responsible for screwing this up royally. They haven’t changed a bit since then. Sure there was a reason to break up these folks but the way it was handled was a complete Disaster. Janet Reno wasn’t ready to handle anything like this and she has blood on her hands.

    • ThisGuyisTom

      You are right Janet Reno has blood on her hands. Find out about Terrance Yeakey. See below.

  2. Fred

    Feds, as usual, totally screwed the pooch. They had a perfect military situation- “enemy” is surrounded, cut off from all re-supply…outside communications can be cut…all they had to do was wait them out…but, hell no- just like Ruby Ridge, Wounded Knee, and every other FUBAR government overreach- they have to “charge”.

    I’m 72 and have been in combat. I watched it all in disbelief. “How stupid can these agents be?”

    The result was predictable- and preposterous. Janet Reno should have been locked up, along with a host of those in charge at the FBI, ATF, etc.

    Question is- what’s going to happen next time?

    Our Constitution puts no limitations on what guns can be owned- government did that- and “we the people” let them.

    • Anna W.

      You are still alive, my nephew wasn’t as lucky as you are. He died in Iraq so stupid people can write stupid POOP!

  3. Charlene

    I remember this tragedy very well! It was horrific! The atf murdered those people! Those poor innocent children was the sad part. It was poorly handled for sure. David kite sh was crazy, but didnot deserve to be killed like an animal and set on fire, along with the other innocent people, this movie in NETFLEX only opens up old wounds. I only pray we get it right the next time.

    • Anna W.

      Charlene, I hope there is never a next time. Oh yeah there was a next time a insurrection and Timothy McVey who killed babies when he set off a bomb.

      Jim Jones one of the worst who forced people to drink koolaide with poison in it and forcing young girl to have sex with him because he was God. He also killed a Congressman’.

      He wouldn’t allow people to leave. A lady from my hometown, sold all of her land and she had plenty. The community couldn’t believe she would fall for that crap. It’s amazing how people fall for these wanna be so called Faith Leaders who take your money and Rape your children. David Koresh should have allowed innocent children leave. He like Jones didn’t want to spend the rest of their life in prison. Blame law enforcement, if’s pitiful. The FBI, ATF, Military and the Police do the best they can, for an ungrateful country. That panders to Dictators, then sing “God Bless America”. Shameful!

      • ThisGuyisTom

        When you really research it, the Oklahoma City bombing was a huge lie and cover-up.
        Find out about the policeman Terrence Yeakey.
        Watch original video news reports where the news reports talk about the bombs placed in the building.
        The backstory on Timothy McVey is like Oswald but worse.
        The foreman for the Federal Grand Jury tried and tried to have evidence presented, but government officials thwarted everything. He’s a hero among many.
        One place for sourced documents is the CorbettReport. Just type into the search box what you are looking for.
        As you know, Google censors important history.

        • Anna W.

          Timothy is roasting in hell! Lives lost, babies never grew up. You are sick, my eyes saw all the research I needed to know! Some jerk selling books, you need prayer.

        • Anna W.

          Babies died and you psycho don’t care! You are sick, they are not your children so you don’t care.

  4. Jay

    Complete arogrance by the white men in charge. The FBI and ATF were of the mind that no one challenges their authority. Even today those agents involved are arogrant to the point obstinate. However that 50 Caliber machine gun the Davidians had shocked the FBI and ATF world. Information was withheld from Reno that would have prevented the storming of the compound. Just an awful display of federal overreach.

    • ThisGuyisTom

      Terrance Yeakey was not white. Find out about this guy. See above.

  5. ThisGuyisTom

    During that era, so much was hidden from the American public.
    People should find out about the policeman Terrence Yeakey.
    Cover-ups and agendas abound.

    • R Reason

      Tragic. I’m sure McVeigh would be proud of those who carry the ‘government conspiracy’ torch after all these years.


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