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No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It (1891;wellesley Studies in Critical) Hardcover – March 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-1573921251 ISBN-10: 1573921254 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although meticulously reasoned, closely written, and heavily freighted with detail, this book, Kopel says, is not the last word on the Branch Davidian^-federal cop encounter at Waco. Such won't be possible, he maintains, until a mountain of evidence is released from wherever the government stashed it and until important witnesses can recant their lies without being charged with perjury. Meanwhile, Kopel argues from pillar to post that the government, through either incompetence or malice, brought on the Waco tragedy and well might precipitate similar micro-Armageddons in the future. So arguing, Kopel produces a book about "federal law enforcement lawlessness" on a grand scale that is either scary because it is true, or scary because it isn't, yet someone who believes it is true takes the time and trouble to research and write a book like this. And either way, it is something that should be put before the public. Mike Tribby

Review

...meticulously documents and analyzes what went wrong and suggests specific reforms to rein in federal law enforcement. The book, which won last year's Szasz Award from the Center for Independent Thought, relies exclusively on material already in the public record. But Kopel, research director at the Colorado-based Independence Institute, and Blackman, research coordinator for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, put it all together in one coherent narrative, with appendices detailing the legal changes they recommend, laying out the chronology, identifying the important figures, and summarizing the negotiation tapes. Their thoroughness makes the book a very useful reference. -- Reason, Jacob Sullum

What's wrong with common federal law enforcement policies? They often pinpoint innocent people as crime suspects, killing those who are not criminals. Ordinary citizens face danger from agents employed by the government to serve and protect, the authors maintain: this documents numerous Waco-type incidents and analyzes common confrontations between enforcement personnel and civilians, offering solutions to problems and addressing such issues as flawed search warrants and differences between religious and criminal suspects. A "must" for any legal library or college offering law enforcement courses. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Series: 1891;wellesley Studies in Critical
  • Hardcover: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573921254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573921251
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David B. Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute, a public policy research organization in Denver, Colorado, and is an Associate Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute, in Washington.
He is also an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at Denver University, Sturm College of Law.
Kopel is one of several contributors to The Volokh Conspiracy, a group weblog of several legal academics, hosted by the Washington Post. From time to time he writes for the Wall Street Journal and other periodicals.
He is the author of 17 books, and over 97 scholarly articles published in journals such as the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Johns Hopkins SAIS Review. His topics include constitutional law, international law, criminal justice, technology, antitrust, media issues, and environmental policy. He has contributed entries to nine academic encyclopedias, and served on the Board of Editors for one.
His research has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, many lower federal courts, and state supreme courts.
On March 18, 2008, he appeared before the United States Supreme Court as part of the team presenting the oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court's first major case on the Second Amendment since 1939.
Before joining the Independence Institute, he served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado, dealing with enforcement of hazardous waste, Superfund, and other environmental laws. In 1998-99, he served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Law School, and earned a B.A. in History with Highest Honors from Brown University, where his thesis on Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., was awarded the National Geographic Society Prize.
Websites:
Kopel: davekopel.org, kopel.tw (Chinese)
Independence Institute, independenceinstitute.org
Cato Institute: www.cato.org
Twitter: @davekopel

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Ruane on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A very impressive accomplishment. There is a tremendous amount of detail here -- right down to how the ATF's name evolved from BATF -- but presented in a compelling and readable way.
This book is unusual in that it does not slant everything in one direction; it refuses to classify those involved as unambiguous good guys or bad guys.
The scope of the book goes beyond what's implied by the title. There is plenty of fascinating history here, many references to other law enforcement debacles. A compelling case is made that law enforcement has become too militarized and too federalized. The discussion of how "groupthink" on both sides (the government and the Davidians) leads to this kind of tragedy is especially excellent.
I've long wondered why liberals and conservatives seem inverted on Waco. Liberals are thought to be strong on civil rights, including religious freedom, and anti-military. Conservatives are thought to favor strong law-and-order. The authors explain this puzzle: the Congressional hearings quickly degenerated into an attempt to embarrass political opponents rather than a dispassionate search for the truth. The American public and the media took their orientation from Congress to a large extent. If a Republican had been president at the time of Waco, it's very possible the sides would have been reversed.
The authors show very clearly that the real problems with law enforcement have been building regardless of which party controls the White House or the Congress. I hope some legislators read this book and take the excellent reform suggestions to heart.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By John J. Baeza on July 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once again David Kopel (and Paul Blackman) gets to the bottom of things and shows what the Waco disaster was all about. If you only read one section of this book, read the part detailing the search warrant. It appears that all the death and destruction (on the part of both the Branch Davidians and the BATF agents who were killed) was brought on because of a failure to pay a several hundred dollar tax on a firearm.
This book focuses on Waco but also delves into the expansion of federal law enforcement and the effect it has on civil liberties in this country.
As per the United States Constitution, the federal government should have law enforcement jurisdiction over the following acts: piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, offences against the law of nations, and counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
Read this book. Then read anything else that David Kopel has written. It will be well worth your time, and you will be well educated about the erosion of our rights as citizens.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is not simply a study of the Waco tragedy, but a indictment of current lawless Federal "law enforcement," along with constructive suggestions for its reform. It is well-written, thorough, thoughtful, and very well documented. And its credibility has been given a boost by the recently acknowledged lies and coverup of the FBI about Waco. Let the FBI shill rant all she/he/it wants, every American should buy and read this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Firriolo on October 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work is not only an outstanding explanation of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents, but a critical review of modern federal law enforcement. The book goes beyond sorting out -- in meticulous detail -- what really happened in these debacles. Even more valuable is the objective analysis of the abuses and excesses of federal law enforcement, along with suggested remedies.
This book is a "must read" for anyone concerned with civil liberties or law enforcement.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Not since my college days have I read a book so well documented. It's obvious the author is an attorney since the book reads like a legal review, including massive amounts of footnotes, perhaps more footnotes than in any other book I've ever read.
The only book I can recall that is similar is "Evidence That Demands A verdict", also written by an attorney. Both books look deeply into the subject matter and cite actual evidence for each point. So if one cares to go further and research the evidence, it is footnoted and readily available.
The motive behind this book is not only to expose what went wrong at Waco, and identify who's fault it was, but further than that, the authors clearly state what changes need to be made in the criminal justice system so there won't be any more Wacos. Hence the title, "No More Wacos".
I suspect this book will someday be a college text book, and required reading, for criminal justice college students. It is written like a college text book, and presents a scholarly case for needed change in federal police operations, which the authors obviously feel have gone beyond legitimate law enforcement purposes, with the result that the agencies themselves have become a serious threat to American freedom.
Having read this book a while ago, it is only now, months later, that the massive evidence suggesting that ALL the Waco deaths were unnecessary has has hit home. Why the delayed reaction? I'm not sure, but it's clear that Koresh could have been easily arrested away from his compound if the ATF had wanted to do so. That in itself would have probably prevented all the deaths.
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