The institutional stupidity of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms seems to be without limits.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is unveiling a detailed wooden re-creation of the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993, the start of a standoff in Waco that proved to be one of the agency’s defining moments.

Four agents were shot to death and 79 people died in a massive blaze that capped a 51-day ordeal that captivated the nation, and to this day draws controversy.

Two identical balsa wood models, which are about 4 feet by 5 feet wide and took 18 months to build, were donated by architects , according to the ATF.

They are to be unveiled Wednesday and be displayed at the ATF’s Houston Division headquarters, as well as at the coming National Law Enforcement Museum, in Washington, a project of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

A spokesman for the rogue agency that botched the assault stated:

“The model, intended as a tool to both educate the public and foster new generations of law enforcement, is fitted with LED lights marking 18 key positions on the compound property. Each light is activated by a button located around the model’s edge, in effect allowing it to be a self-narrating educational tool.”

Will the “tool” note that David Koresh was frequently seen in town unarmed in Waco, and could have been arrested at any time, without incident?

Will the model note that the driving desire for the flashy raid was to justify the ATF’s continued existence at a time when their funding was in jeopardy?

Will the model have any lights noting that this incompetently executed and unnecessary raid left 86 people dead, including four ATF agents and more than 20 children?

Somehow I doubt it.

Also, I’d like to know why they chose the “before” version of the compound…


…when “during”…

…and “after” were so much more instructive, and led to a sea change in the relationship between the agency and the American people.