THE BOTTOM LINE

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Despite unprecedented partisanship and infighting during the ten days of Waco hearings, Shannon says, the televised proceedings unearthed new material and put the American public in a far better position to judge the government's role in the tragedy. "Most Americans had never seen these FBI people -- the FBI agents and the hostage rescue teams -- and it helps them make up their own mind about whether they did the best they could. There was an overwhelming sense, even among most of the Republicans, that David Koresh was evil. The hearings established in the minds of many people that the agents did not shoot first, and that the Davidians, not the FBI, started the fire."