Deja Vu: Texas Cults
I’ve got that old uneasy feeling that disasterous events of the past may soon revisit us.
It began shortly after Child Protective Services (CPS) entered the YFZ* Ranch near El Dorado, Texas to remove 219 133 women and 401 children from the compound of the secretive, polygamist FLDS** sect. At this time, Texas DPS and Schleicher County sheriff’s department have blockaded the road to the ranch.
One can’t help but recall a similar scenario at the Waco compound of another Texas cult, the Branch Davidians, which concluded in fiery holocaust 15 years ago this month.
Even the officials involved in this unfolding case are loosely talking around that point.
“In preparing for entry to the temple, law enforcement is preparing for the worst, ” said Allison Palmer, first assistant district attorney for the 51st District, adding that authorities want to have “medical personnel on hand in case this were to go in a way that no one wants.”
The FLDS takes their temple pretty seriously, it seems. Entry is prohibited to all but church believers. The group’s initial refusal to permit entry was disconcerting to Palmer because CPS investigators have yet to identify a 16-year-old girl or her roughly 8-month-old baby – which was ostensibly fathered by a 50-year-old man who had been previously convicted of underage marriage – among the over-200 removed from the compound.
“Anytime someone says, ‘Don’t look here,’” Palmer said, “it makes you concerned that’s exactly where you need to look.”
Fair enough, Ms. 1st Asst. District attorney, few can argue with CPS once they’ve played the sexual abuse card. But may we advise restraint. Righteous indignation aside, nothing will be accomplished in a raid that can’t be done with wily diplomacy.
Lawmen at Waco compound on April 19, 1993
*Named after leader Warren Jeffs’ song “Yearning For Zion”
**Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints