Remembering Waco Massacre: 28 Years of PTSD Later

As someone who had not been born at the time of the Waco Massacre, I watched the mini-series last year when it was featured on Netflix knowing nothing about the event beforehand. After watching the series, I felt as though my heart had been completely shredded, and I was compelled to act.

As an empath, the secondhand pain I experienced while watching the mini-series changed me. Shortly after this transformative experience, I connected with David Thibodeau and had the honor of interviewing him and discussing Waco as well as current racial injustices and mental health . Now, months after my interview, I was honored to be invited to the 28th memorial of the Waco Massacre. My wounded heart was reopened after listening to various survivors including David Thibodeau as he honored the 76 Branch Davidians who died in the final fire- including 22 children as well as the ATF agents whose lives were lost.

I have witnessed myself how the survivors of Waco have transformed their into action, and I am in awe of how something so awful can inspire change and empathy in not only America, but across the world. Enduring PTSD and the after effects of trauma is oftentimes brutal, but the survivors of Waco demonstrate how can be used to ignite action and empathy in a world oftentimes controlled by the media. I am more than honored to know this community of survivors and to be inspired by them and their faith.

There is a plethora of information on Waco out there, but David Thibodeau is adamant that only information from the survivors and those who have studied the tragedy extensively be shared . If you would like to learn more about the Waco Massacre, those who lost their lives, the survivors, and the Branch Davidian’s religion, the following website is the go to place for information created and collected specifically by the survivors. The following documentary was also mentioned at the memorial and is a deep analysis of the Waco Massacre, and what we have learned(or not learned) since then.

Here are resources to learn more about Waco:

The Waco Branch Davidian Tragedy: What Have We Learned or Not Learned?

Originally published at



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Ashley Nestler, MSW

Ashley Nestler, MSW


Mental Health Specialist, Author, Empowerment Coach, Book Reviewer, and Bibliotherapist. Creator of Releasing the Phoenix and The Ignite and Rise Academy