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have suffered much from the practice.” Two sentences later, though, Reavis contradicts that strange and senseless aside: “His detractors would later say that David Koresh took his revenge on children who lived at Mt. Carmel, and he probably did.” End of child-abuse discussion. Koresh is clearly a fascinating, complex man, but in his effort to vilify the feds, Reavis lets him off too easy. There is little analysis of Koresh’ s unholy grip on his followers, on his insistence, for example, that the males in residence remain celibate or of his off-the-wall justification of sex with children. Still, Reavis assembles a formidable mass of small but telling details of Koresh’ s life. How, as a child in a working-class Dallas suburb, Vernon Howell he changed his name in 1989was afflicted with a learning disability and a cruel nickname: “Mr. Retardo.” And though he was no avid reader, he had managed, by the time he was 12, to memorize large expanses of the Bible. As he aged, Howell’s Biblical interpretations began to depart from the orthodox. His reading of Revelations, for instance, obliged him to engage in nearly nonstop breeding. “Man’s power comes through his mind and his ability to enforce his mind by the numbers of his procreation,” he preached, adding, “If you don’t win in the bedroom, son, you’re not going to win on the battlefield.” Much of Howell/Koresh’s procreativity involved minors, including his first wife, who was 14 when he, then 25, married her. In 1985, his wife bore him a son, the first of his 17 children. When he wasn’t spreading his seed among the Mt. Carmel nubility, Howell/Koresh might be found playing guitar with the house band, guzzling a beer, dragging on a Marlboro Light. When a follower asked him to defend his use of tobacco, he cited Psalm 18’s description of God: “There went up a smoke out of His nostrils.” As a preacher, Howell/Koresh did not betray his working-class upbringing and lack of formal education. “He came to the pulpit,” Reavis writes, “in jeans and jogging shoes, sometimes unshaven, sometimes with motor oil on his hands.” \(Even in his last years, says one follower, he limited his reading to “the Bible and Camaro He shunned pretense in sermon. A portion of one homily: “That nasty old sin, how can you get rid of the stuff? It’s like a booger on your fingers, right? You’re trying, you know, and you’re picking, and it gets on your other finger? Even when you’re going 50 miles an hour down the road and you’re trying to flick it off! I know what I’m talking about, you see.” The FBI, though, had no idea what Koresh was talking about, hadn’t the foggiest notion of what went on inside Mt. Carmel. If negotiators had understood, for example, that surrender in the face of attack was not an option, that at least some of the Davidians were willing to die for their beliefs, that sending in the tanks and tear gas would only fulfill David Koresh’s apocalyptic prophecy, then perhaps the standoff would have ended peaceably. But in some macabre way, the high sheriffs in Washington and Waco were, in the end, as much as Koresh in the grip of a compulsion that defied, and ultimately overwhelmed, reason. ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip CLASSIFIEDS ORGANIZATIONS WORK for single-payer National Health Care. Join GRAY PANTHERS, intergenerational advocates against ageism and for progressive policies promoting social and economic justice. $20 individual, $35 family. 3710 Cedar, Austin, TEXAS AIDS NETWORK dedicated to improving HIV/AIDS policy and funding in Texas. Individual membership $25, P.O. 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