This poster presentation examines the 1993 Waco Massacre within the context of other new religious movements (NRMs) in twentieth-century America, specifically MOVE and Jonestown, and their interactions with all levels of law enforcement. The objectives are to understand the facets of the Waco Massacre, including its media perceptions and impact on future NRM confrontations with law enforcement, as well as conceive what could have been changed in order to prevent casualties and violence. Utilizing existing literature, data, and both primary and secondary sources on NRMs, we argue that many of these groups have influenced one another, in terms of their philosophy and tactics. Thus, NRM’s can reflect social patterns and the potentially dangerous power of collective ideology. Our conclusion is that law enforcement has continually ignored and misunderstood this facet of interconnectedness, which has resulted in continuous and serious consequences. Many of our recommendations, such as hiring professional negotiators and redesigning law enforcement’s approach to consider the group’s divine laws and unwavering beliefs, are applicable and feasible. Understanding this topic and implementing solutions decreases violence, increases public perception of law enforcement, improves relations between all levels of law enforcement and NRMs and can prevent any further occurrences of similar conflicts.
- Payton Drefcinski, Ben Iacona
This poster presentation examines the 1993 Waco Massacre alongside other new religious movements that also violently conflicted with law enforcement, like Jonestown and MOVE. This poster provides solutions to bring peaceful interactions between law enforcement and inflexible/radical groups, arguing that ignorance of the connectedness of NRM ideologies causes conflict.
- Sociology, Criminology, Psychology, Conflict Studies, Communications