The New Yorker (March 31, 2014) had a poignant article about the siege of the Branch Davidian Complex near Waco, Texas, in 1993. Most of those kinds of military style attacks on civilians have stopped, but the lessons remain.
The Branch Davidians were a religious sect separated from the Seventh Day Adventists. They were obssessed with the Book of Revelations. Eventually, over 100 armed members lived in a complex under the leadership of a young David Koresh. Koresh took several women as wives and fathered children. He committed statutory rape with some young girls with parents’ permissions.
A long military siege took place ending in a fire killing four agents and 76 Branch Davidian adults and children. Several escaped as well.
The focus of the New Yorker article was different than the many things written in the past 20 years. This article was based on a Davidian’s book about the group.
Apparently, no one was held in the compound against his/her will. The group was bound, not by its leader, Koresh, but by literal obsession with the Book of Revelations. The end was near. They wanted to be ready.
Probably nearly all of the small army of military and police surrounding the compound were also Biblical literalists. But, their literalism was about sin, the cross and virgin birth.
Law enforcement just could not take Koresh’s literalism seriously, thinking he was a con artist. The author survivor says they were not captives, but willing participants in what they thought was an earth moving religious experience.
Religious scholars understood the Revelations obsession and advised not to attack the compound Their caution did not prevail.