From: The Chameleon
To: All Msg #122, Dec-28-93 01:50PM
Subject: waco... parallels to the lindy chamberlain case
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana
From: email@example.com (The Chameleon)
the story with waco and various people's reactions justifying
the death of the davidians, reminds me strongly of a case in australia
in the eighties in which a woman was tried for the murder of her ten
week old daughter. she was a seventh day adventist (her husband was
actually a pastor in that church) and australian prejudice against the
"cult" SDA group played a large role in her conviction and in the press
reporting of the case.
her story: a wild dog took her baby while the family was camping
at ayers rock.
the prosecution case: she "sacrificed" her baby by cutting it's
throat in the family car, then disposed of the body later, while staging
the incident in which the baby disappeared. she was convicted and then
sentenced to life imprisonment. her husband was convicted as an accessory
after the fact.
various stories appeared in the press over the period between the
disappearance and her conviction: that the baby's name meant "sacrifice in
the wilderness", that the parents kept a baby-sized coffin and dressed the
girl always in black, that passages in the family bible referring to death
in the wilderness were underlined in red, that the baby clothes were found
folded in a neat pile in the desert later. the stories and public reaction
took the nature of a witch hunt against a person holding an unconventional
belief. five years later, after additional evidence confirming her story
became available, their convictions were overturned. the woman lost five
years of freedom (her second daughter was born in prison and grew up away
from her), her marriage and most of her finances because her fellow citizens
were prepared to believe unlikely stories about a "cultist". close to 100
davidians were "tried and sentenced" for a similar reason. unfortunately,
they aren't in the position to stage an appeal.
ps. i am not a supporter of the SDA church, nor an opponent any more than
i am an opponent of religion in general.