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Children of Waco

Fri Sep 13, 10.15-11.30pm, PBS

This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the grim conclusion of the Waco siege. But what became of the many children who found themselves in the compound? It’s a very good question, particularly given that cult leader David Koresh fathered quite a few himself during his period as lunatic-in-chief of the Branch Davidians. Surely the psychological implications of this would be difficult to come to terms with?

Sadly, this documentary doesn’t quite get us inside the desperate walls of the Mount Carmel centre. It never seems quite sure of what it wants to be. Despite the involvement of several of youthful siege veterans, it doesn’t go deep enough into the difficult emotional terrain. But it’s not comprehensive enough work as a summation of the events as a whole either. Instead, it feels strangely incurious. No one can blame these young adults for their struggles to explain the traumatic events of their childhoods. But the filmmakers simply haven’t managed to fill in enough of the blanks.