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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 20 DK: I cannot go beyond the commandment of my Father. 617 HG: Can you do the right thing (.) [now. 618 DK: [I am doing the right thing (.) now. 619 Garcia is clear about what he believe Koresh should be doing. “Need” is emphasized in “you need to come out” three times between lines 604 and 614 (line 604, 610, and 614). The third time he says this, he includes that he needs to come out “strong,” which provides the opening for divisive cooperation. Koresh’s “I will. I promise” is a short, direct response that indicates his compliance to coming out strong. “I promise” further emphasizes his commitment. But in contrasting his response with Garcia’s relatively long plea, “I will. I promise” takes on a quality of commitment to something distinct from Garcia’s goal. This is confirmed in line 617 when Koresh says, “I cannot go beyond the commandment of my Father,” because Koresh’s word from his Father, God, was not to come out, but to wait. This demonstration of cooperating but not cooperating by Koresh is concentrated in lines 619. “I am doing the right thing (.) now” affirmatively answers Garcia’s questions “Can you do the right thing (.) now.” Since it has already been established in lines 617 that Koresh does not plan on coming out (yet), this vocal emphasis and mimicry of cadence could be viewed as marks for divisive cooperation. Cornering (frame-trapping) Another way Koresh reframed the situation was by talking in a way that cornered the negotiators into responding on his religious terms. Akin to this is Goffman’s (1974) notion of frame-trapping. Being frame-trapped is finding that the more a person tries to correct a misread frame, the more the frame is misread. In the following excerpt, the negotiator’s “correct” frame is overtaken by Koresh’s “misreading” 8 that overtakes the negotiator’s frame. In it the negotiator has asked Koresh to send out just the women and children instead of everyone coming out. Excerpt 6 – Day 7 –tape 68 – lines 348-360 – (DW: Dick Wren & DK: David Koresh)

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 20
DK:
I cannot go beyond the commandment of my Father.
617
HG:
Can you do the right thing (.) [now.
618
DK:
[I
am doing the right thing (.) now.
619
Garcia is clear about what he believe Koresh should be doing. “Need” is emphasized in
“you need to come out” three times between lines 604 and 614 (line 604, 610, and 614). The
third time he says this, he includes that he needs to come out “strong,” which provides the
opening for divisive cooperation. Koresh’s “I will. I promise” is a short, direct response that
indicates his compliance to coming out strong. “I promise” further emphasizes his commitment.
But in contrasting his response with Garcia’s relatively long plea, “I will. I promise” takes on a
quality of commitment to something distinct from Garcia’s goal. This is confirmed in line 617
when Koresh says, “I cannot go beyond the commandment of my Father,” because Koresh’s
word from his Father, God, was not to come out, but to wait. This demonstration of cooperating
but not cooperating by Koresh is concentrated in lines 619. “I am doing the right thing (.) now”
affirmatively answers Garcia’s questions “Can you do the right thing (.) now.” Since it has
already been established in lines 617 that Koresh does not plan on coming out (yet), this vocal
emphasis and mimicry of cadence could be viewed as marks for divisive cooperation.
Cornering (frame-trapping)
Another way Koresh reframed the situation was by talking in a way that cornered the
negotiators into responding on his religious terms. Akin to this is Goffman’s (1974) notion of
frame-trapping. Being frame-trapped is finding that the more a person tries to correct a misread
frame, the more the frame is misread. In the following excerpt, the negotiator’s “correct” frame
is overtaken by Koresh’s “misreading”
8
that overtakes the negotiator’s frame. In it the negotiator
has asked Koresh to send out just the women and children instead of everyone coming out.
Excerpt 6 – Day 7 –tape 68 – lines 348-360 – (DW: Dick Wren & DK: David Koresh)


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