I'm a trifle reluctant to parade my background: the evidence presented here either persuades or it does not, and my own beliefs or character cannot alter that. When an argument is made from authority--you should believe this conclusion because I, the expert, tell you it is true--an attacked on the alleged authority is indeed in order. When the person presents the evidence and leaves you to judge, an attack upon the presenter of the evidence is the last refuge of one who cannot answer the proof. [8/31/99 addition: just about the only interpretation of data to be found on these pages is my hypothesis that FBI misled Janet Reno. Today's reports indicate that Ms. Reno agrees with that interpretation.]

But people do occasionally hint that a person interested in Waco must be some manner of anti-government zealot, and I suppose it deserves an answer.

The fact is that I worked for the federal government for nearly a decade, as a headquarters agency attorney in Washington, D.C., representing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I had the lead assignment for representing the agency's law enforcement branch. When I retired, I was a GS-14, the same rank as the leaders of the ATF raid (okay, so they had me beat by a few "steps"). I represented law enforcement with a certain zeal, and we got along well. I even covered up for them on occasion, so long as it involved shafting another agency rather than a member of the public--like the time an agent used an undercover identity as a dentist, got sued for malpractice, and I had to get Justice to represent him on the basis that it was all within the scope of his duties. There was no need to worry Justice about that little memorandum forbidding undercover agents from assuming identities of medical, dental, or legal personnel....

Here are my commendations from Justice's Assistant Attorney General, mentioning my cooperative efforts with Justice, its Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Interior's Solicitor, and its Deputy Solicitor. (The last commendation is specfically for preparing the office manual on civil penalty and forfeiture procedures, to ensure law enforcement was properly represented in those areas.). Rather atypical of an anti-government zealot, I should think.

Personally, I tend to agree with the classical republicans (by which I mean the 17th century political movement): man achieves his highest state as part of a polity, a nation state--a man without a nation is indeed an empty creature. But I also feel that that polity owes duties to its citzens--duties to avoid killing them, lying to them, behaving unjustly or dishonorably toward them. That, and not some generalized objection to government, is at the core of my concern about Waco. One might ask who is genuinely "anti-government" here--the person who believes that the U.S. is capable of acting justly and fairly toward its citizens, or the one who apparently thinks that fabrication and abuse are the inevitable price of government and must thus be excused. One might, I auppose, even ask who is "liberal?"

Some might disagree with my position on gun control: I believe it's foolish social policy and largely unconstitutional to boot, and I'm quite prepared to defend those stances. My writings on the issue (chiefly my Cumberland Law Review piece tracing the history of federal firearms control) have been cited as authoritative by the U.S. Supreme Court (okay, in a dissent), and by all but two of the twelve Federal Circuits. SeeStaples v. United States, 511 U.S. 610, 626 n.4 (1994) (Stevens, J., dissenting);U. S. v. Andrade, 135 F3d. 104, 109 n. 3 (1st Cir. 1998);U.S. v. Hayden, 64 F.3d 126, 129 (3d Cir. 1995);U.S. v. Langley, 62 F.3d 602 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc); U.S. v. Kirk, 70 F.3d 791, 798 n.1 (5th Cir. 1995), opin. on rehearing 105 F.3d 997, 1006-07 (1997);U.S. v. McGill, 74 F.3d 64, 67 (5th Cir. 1996);U. S. v. Cassidy, 899 F.2d 543, 546 n.8 (6th Cir. 1990); U.S. v. Kenney, 91 F.3d 884, 886 (7th Cir. 1996); U.S. v. Farrell, 69 F.3d 891, 893 (8th Cir. 1995); U.S. v. Sherbondy, 865 F.2d 996, 1002 (9th Cir. 1988); U.S. v. Marchant, 55 F.3d 509, 514 (10th Cir. 1995); U.S. v. Otiaba, 862 F. Supp. 251, 253-54 (D.N.D. 1994) (declining to follow 2d Circuit, since "that court did not have available to it Hardy's analysis...."). They've also been cited with approval by... the Socialist Labor Party.

This has been a long digression: the critical thing is the evidence, not the guy who scanned it in. Read it and judge for yourself.