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Framing Problems in Crisis Negotiation: Reframing in the Case of Waco
Unformatted Document Text:  Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 25 The reframing is primary accomplished between lines 338 and 342, and reiterated between lines 352 and 354. It is given that the FBI wanted the children to leave the compound. Koresh shows he is willing to do that (at least send out one child) from line 344 (“then I’ll send out another child”) but only under the condition that Wren take on Koresh’s challenge to show him where the third Seal is. 10 So the FBI’s needs are addressed, but they are addressed in terms of the Davidians’ religious beliefs. The challenge is strengthened a number of ways to reinforce the reframing. Koresh makes it sounds like a life or death warning (“before God blows your rear-end away,” line 339), but it is also described as an “honest opportunity,” an opportunity that could be viewed as too good to pass up. Koresh’s challenge allows Wren to consult with a teacher, a priest, even the Vatican, implying that showing the third Seal is displayed as no easy task, despite Koresh calling it a “little task” (line 357). Also, since Koresh claimed to be the only one to know the Seals, he would presumably accept no one but himself to be the judge to determine accuracy if the challenge was accepted. Further, Koresh initiates the challenge in a way that sounds like taunting. Six consecutive times in six different way he presents the challenge in lines 334-336: 1) “Now contend with me on that”; 2) “What’s the third Seal”; 3) “Where’s it found”; 4) “Tell me”; 5) “Come on”; and 6) “You got the prophecies there in front of you. You got the Bible. Where’s it at.” After presenting the challenge with such force, Koresh says, “O:h wha:t o:h so you don’t want to take up God’s little task here huh” (lines 356-357). The drawn out “o:h wha:t o:h” sounds like more taunting and takes on the flavor of a fighter challenging a reluctant opponent, saying, “what, are ya chicken?”

Authors: Agne, Robert.
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Reframing in the Waco Negotiations 25
The reframing is primary accomplished between lines 338 and 342, and reiterated between lines
352 and 354. It is given that the FBI wanted the children to leave the compound. Koresh shows
he is willing to do that (at least send out one child) from line 344 (“then I’ll send out another
child”) but only under the condition that Wren take on Koresh’s challenge to show him where
the third Seal is.
10
So the FBI’s needs are addressed, but they are addressed in terms of the
Davidians’ religious beliefs.
The challenge is strengthened a number of ways to reinforce the reframing. Koresh
makes it sounds like a life or death warning (“before God blows your rear-end away,” line 339),
but it is also described as an “honest opportunity,” an opportunity that could be viewed as too
good to pass up. Koresh’s challenge allows Wren to consult with a teacher, a priest, even the
Vatican, implying that showing the third Seal is displayed as no easy task, despite Koresh calling
it a “little task” (line 357). Also, since Koresh claimed to be the only one to know the Seals, he
would presumably accept no one but himself to be the judge to determine accuracy if the
challenge was accepted. Further, Koresh initiates the challenge in a way that sounds like
taunting. Six consecutive times in six different way he presents the challenge in lines 334-336:
1) “Now contend with me on that”; 2) “What’s the third Seal”; 3) “Where’s it found”; 4) “Tell
me”; 5) “Come on”; and 6) “You got the prophecies there in front of you. You got the Bible.
Where’s it at.” After presenting the challenge with such force, Koresh says, “O:h wha:t o:h so
you don’t want to take up God’s little task here huh” (lines 356-357). The drawn out “o:h wha:t
o:h” sounds like more taunting and takes on the flavor of a fighter challenging a reluctant
opponent, saying, “what, are ya chicken?”


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