I had a dream last night. It was so vivid I sat up in bed and debated if I had lived it or dreamed it.

I dreamed that Vernon Howell surrendered peacefully. His terms: a one-night stand on MTV.

I dreamed that the show, “David Koresh Unplugged,” received unprecedented buildup. A record-breaking audience tuned in for the first song.

I dreamed that by Howell’s second song, viewers had tuned out in record numbers. The show became the biggest debacle since Geraldo Rivera visited Al Capone’s vault. The Nielson ratings for entertainer Koresh were beaten by a half-hour demonstration in making turkey jerky.

I dreamed that the nation’s media did not leave the site of the Mount Carmel standoff. Instead, with their remote units sunk in the mud, with reporters, photographers and crews having married locals, having fallen in love with the land, having sent their children to Axtell Independent Schools, the media people lived happily ever after in their commune outside of Elk.

I dreamed a Taco Cabana opened across from the compound.

I dreamed that Libertarian who called for abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and asserted the unalienable rights to bear grenade launchers and automatic weapons were given their wish on a test basis. Thereupon a group of Libertarians found themselves outgunned by a group calling itself the Symbianese Luciferian Anarchists. The Libertarians demanded that the federal government come to their rescue.

Other developments

I dreamed that the violence at Mount Carmel sobered many people into rethinking violence and confrontation. For instance, after a Florida abortion provider was shot dead, anti-abortion activists marched hand-in-hand with abortion-rights activists to protest the murder.

I dreamed that the violence at Mount Carmel sobered many religious individuals into rethinking the compounds they’ve built to keep each other out. The Christians of Waco voted to have their names placed in a hat. Churches were assigned by lottery. Ministers, too. That Sunday, reshuffled if not reborn, Waco’s believers found Christianity more inspiring than ever.

I dreamed that Christians called a halt on condemning people who are homosexual. “We don’t understand the condition, but the fact may be that homosexuals are born that way. If we were born that way we wouldn’t want to be condemned,” said an ecumenical statement, citing the Golden Rule.

Children speak out

I dreamed that children rose up and mocked adults’ fixation with firearms and secular divisions.

I dreamed that young people branded drug and alcohol abuse an “adult escapist game” and said they’d have no part of it. They children pushed for a dramatic national public service advertisement. It had an egg and a frying pan. It said: “This is your brain. This is your brain on beer.”

I dreamed that rap was understandable for everyone who listened. And everyone who listened was a better man for it.

I dreamed that not only did the lion bed down with the lamb, but also the Aggies with the Horns.

I dreamed that I was on the road and someone asked me where I lived, and I said, “Waco” and he said, “Waco!” and I winced, and he said, “Great city—beautiful river, magnificent park, museums, Baylor, bluebonnets, Dr Pepper. What a town!”

I dreamed that I asked the man, “Didn’t you hear about the shootout? And he asked, “What shootout?” And I pressed him, “You know—the shootout and standoff involving a self-proclaimed messiah and federal authorities. You know—intelligent, God-fearing people placing their lives and their children’s lives on the line rather than accept an arrest warrant.” And he said, “Son, you must be dreaming.”

And that’s how it ended.

John Young’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.