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Koresh a murderer?

Former ATF head speaks out

The former director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says David Koresh was no better than a mass murderer.

"I think it's worth remembering that Waco was not the Alamo, and David Koresh was no Davy Crockett," Steven Higgins said in an opinion piece published Sunday in the Washington Post.

Higgins wrote that the Branch Davidian leader "showed that he placed no more value on human life than did Charles Manson . . . and those cowardly individuals who placed the bomb in Oklahoma City."

Higgins was a focus of criticism for those who say the ATF badly mishandled the Waco, Texas, incident, which led to the deaths of four federal agents and 85 Branch Davidians. He said the ATF had no choice but to investigate reports that Koresh's religious group was gathering an arsenal.

Higgins was also critical of the National Rifle Association, which has said the ATF is out to take weapons from law-abiding people, and radio talk-show host G. Gordon Liddy, who has advised listeners to shoot ATF agents who threaten their gun rights.

Quake shakes Tokyo

No damage, injuries reported

A strong earthquake jolted the Tokyo area this morning, rocking skyscrapers and bringing trains to a halt.

The quake, which struck at 8:53 a.m., had a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 and originated in Sagami Bay, southwest of Tokyo. Service on several bullet train lines was suspended as rail inspectors examined track beds for damage, but service was expected to resume within a few hours.

Police said there were no immediate reports of injuries.