1993 - Vernon Howell Home
A.K.A. David Koresh
In early 1993 I became aware of this religious fanatic in Waco, Texas going under the name of David Koresh, who was involved in a shootout with the BATF and was holed up on his property with a bunch of his followers. This was peaking my interest because of the hitchhiker I had picked up in 76 who had visited the Koreshan Park and whose real name was Verne, but joked about his name being David.
One of the reasons I never forgot his name was because my college roommate Vic's brother and father were named Verne as you read about in my earlier history.
When I saw pictures of him on TV I was pretty sure that he was the same guy although he had long hair and the guy I picked up had short hair. He never told me his last name so I didn't know that. After I found out his name was Verne I was sure.
I had angered him with my atheist arguments in 76 and he had told me to pull over and that he couldn't ride any further with a heathen. I pulled over and he and his girlfriend took off and I felt anger and got the strange feeling that someone I already knew was going to hurt him someday, which later happened in the person of Bill Clinton.
Of course as you know by now I was rooting for Koresh because by that time I was a staunch defender of a man's right to be a little crazy without being attacked by the federal government, not to mention burning to death 74 of his followers including 21 children.
As I've thought the whole 1976 encounter over I realize that I was probably trying to show off in front of his woman. I don't think he was used to anyone standing up to his religious arguments as he was pretty confident of his beliefs. Reading his bio I learned that he could recite the old testament from memory at an early age, which explained his confidence. I probably wounded his pride in front of his woman and could have been more tactful. Back then I enjoyed a good argument and went out of my way to try to pop people's bubbles. I have often wondered if the girl was still with him at Waco and whether she survived or not. Maybe I could have saved her life if I had asked her to stay.
Just thinking about it Cyrus Teed died after a beating by the local Marshall, Joseph Smith the Mormon was killed with the acquiescence of the local sheriff, and Vernon Howell was murdered by the BATF and FBI. Makes you wonder if a Christian society is that much more tolerant of religious variety than a Muslim society.
Click here to see why I don't believe in the resurrection.