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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 14 indicates that his father (God) forgives him, though what wrong Jim committed against God or Koresh in the first place is unclear. Koresh’s report of God’s exoneration of Jim redefines Jim’s wrong as spiritual and ignores any earthly wrong Jim might have committed. As Garcia says that he, similar to Jim, will also have to explain to his bosses, Koresh’s statement, “my father exonerates Jim,” implies that exoneration may transfer to Garcia. Saying “my father exonerates Jim” reframes the situation from one in which Garcia is accountable to his agency to one in which he is accountable (though possibly absolved) to God. Lexical recontextualizing is also accomplished across conversations (i.e., inter-textually) in the negotiations with the word “commander,” originated by the negotiators. From the negotiators’ frame, “commanders” referred to their superiors in the FBI hierarchy. Consider the following exchange that took place on the 18 th day of the standoff. Excerpt 2 – Day 3 – tape 5x – lines 35-45 (BS: Byron Sage & DK: David Koresh) BS: Your own words were was that (.) as soon as this message is broadcast I 35 will imMEDiately and you stressed immediate[ly and you did a good job 36 DK: [Come out (.) immediately 37 BS: come out immediate[ly 38 DK: [Right 39 BS: What happened [you went back on your own word 40 DK: [My my my commander my commander my commander 41 and chief told me to wait 42 BS: Well that's a pretty easy excuse to hide be[hind 43 DK: [And that's what you all get 44 behind to isn't it 45 Prior to this exchange on the third day of negotiations, the word “commander” or “commanders” had been mentioned by either the Davidians or the negotiators nearly 150 times, all in reference to the FBI’s command personnel. For the first time, in lines 41-42, Koresh refers

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 14
indicates that his father (God) forgives him, though what wrong Jim committed against God or
Koresh in the first place is unclear. Koresh’s report of God’s exoneration of Jim redefines Jim’s
wrong as spiritual and ignores any earthly wrong Jim might have committed. As Garcia says
that he, similar to Jim, will also have to explain to his bosses, Koresh’s statement, “my father
exonerates Jim,” implies that exoneration may transfer to Garcia. Saying “my father exonerates
Jim” reframes the situation from one in which Garcia is accountable to his agency to one in
which he is accountable (though possibly absolved) to God.
Lexical recontextualizing is also accomplished across conversations (i.e., inter-textually)
in the negotiations with the word “commander,” originated by the negotiators. From the
negotiators’ frame, “commanders” referred to their superiors in the FBI hierarchy. Consider the
following exchange that took place on the 18
th
day of the standoff.
Excerpt 2 – Day 3 – tape 5x – lines 35-45 (BS: Byron Sage & DK: David Koresh)
BS:
Your own words were was that (.) as soon as this message is broadcast I
35
will imMEDiately and you stressed immediate[ly and you did a good job
36
DK:
[Come out (.) immediately
37
BS:
come out immediate[ly
38
DK:
[Right
39
BS:
What happened [you went back on your own word
40
DK:
[My my my commander my commander my commander
41
and chief told me to wait
42
BS:
Well that's a pretty easy excuse to hide be[hind
43
DK:
[And that's what you all get
44
behind to isn't it
45
Prior to this exchange on the third day of negotiations, the word “commander” or
“commanders” had been mentioned by either the Davidians or the negotiators nearly 150 times,
all in reference to the FBI’s command personnel. For the first time, in lines 41-42, Koresh refers


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