Document Type


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Criminology | Law and Psychology | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Social Psychology | Social Psychology and Interaction


This opinion column employs the eight symptoms of groupthink specified by Irving Janis to evaluate whether the tragic end to the 1993 FBI siege of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas — which culminated in deaths of 76 civilians — could have been the product of groupthink.


A version of this article was published as “Waco tragedy product of “groupthink” in the St. Cloud Times, May 9, 1993, p. 8A.

Key reference

Janis, Irving L. (1982). Groupthink (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Related report

“The FBI agent who can’t stop thinking about Waco” by Eric Benson, originally published in the April 2018 issue of Texas Monthly, offers an informative 25th-anniversary retrospective containing details unknown at the time the present article was written less than three weeks after the fiery culmination of the FBI siege at the Branch Davidian compound on April 19, 1993. Available online at